I have been helping a student out recently in preparing for an interview. We have met twice to review the role and application form and have completed two mock interviews. It was an interesting process, watching the student’s technique develop and seeing the marked improvement in interview responses and the general awareness of the role and industry they were entering. After the interview, they emailed me to talk through some of the questions they were asked, which is really helpful to us in the Careers and Employability Service for supporting students in future.
Some of the topics that were covered by the interviewer included the organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities and requirements in their industry to participate in them, as well as quality assurance and professional standards within their sector. These questions, I think, caught the student a little off guard, but we had discussed techniques for answering questions that you do not know the answer to. They also questioned some of the figures that the student quoted in their presentation (which were taken from their website).
The student was left with quite mixed emotions and now needs to play that terrible waiting game before they get that call, email or letter telling them the outcome of their hard work. Below are a few pointers on dealing with this nerve racking wait;
- Remember that you don’t always have to answer all of the questions perfectly. Demonstrating the ability to source the answers can be just as good as the answer itself. Take a look at the top ten most common interview questions.
- If they challenge you on something during the interview, it can be a test to see how you cope under pressure, to test your resolve and confidence in what you are saying or are just pushing you to your limits.
- After the interview arrange to see friends – go out and take your mind off of things. Don’t get drunk though, as you may be getting a phone call…
- The next day, start looking at other jobs and if you decide to, make more applications. They will be interviewing more than just you, so don’t pin your hopes on just one job – keep going!
- Re-read the job description and look at the terms and conditions. It is very likely that unless you have significant experience you will be able to negotiate a higher salary level, but have an awareness of what it is that they might offer you.
- If they do offer you the job, you do not have to say yes straight away. Indicate that you are excited by the offer and that you are flattered, but it is ok to ask for a day or so to think about it, particularly if you are expecting multiple offers. Don’t leave it more than a day or so though – they may withdraw the offer.
- If you are unsuccessful, ask for feedback. They may give a very bland statement, but it is ok to push them for specifics. Ask about your answering style, the content of your answers or your presentation.
- Above all, make sure you are available to take the call, that you have signal and your battery is fully charged. Have a look at our previous blog post about telephone etiquette.
- Oh and have a think about whether you are likely to accept an offer!