Our advice for having a successful interview
PATRICK TREASURE JONES, RECRUITMENT MANAGER
So, you took our advice on making the most of your job application, and now you've secured that interview - congratulations! But what do you do now?
My experience in recruitment spans a decade, and I've been on both sides of the interview desk countless times. Below I've outlined a few key things to remember in preparation for and during your interview - making your chances of a successful outcome more likely.
Before your intervieW
Prepare some examples
We tend to use competency-based questions here, where we ask you to talk about scenarios in previous work experiences. It might involve telling us about a time you’ve performed well, or where you’ve overcome a particular challenge in the workplace or your personal life. My advice would be to cover all the bases and think about five or six detailed and diverse examples that you can use to demonstrate the skills the interviewers are looking for.
Find out where your interview will be
The hospital in particular can be a confusing site to navigate around – it’s a bit like a small city in itself! You may be invited to a meeting room in a hard-to-find part of the hospital, so allow yourself plenty of time to arrive, and find out exactly where you need to be in advance. Ideally, you could go and find the room a day or two before, so on the day of the interview you can be as relaxed as possible.
Refer to the job description and person specification
We post our job descriptions and person specifications along with all our job adverts, so when the job advert closes, the job description and person specification will be taken down along with it. Make sure that you’ve saved copies, or at least made notes of the most important points before the closing date of the advert so you can refer to these while you’re preparing for the interview.
During your interview
Make a good first impression
A good interviewer is not going to mark you down for being nervous. Introducing yourself in a friendly and comfortable manner is always a good way to get started. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the role – generally, this means smart, office-style clothing – and try to be as professional and confident as possible.
Bring along a notepad and some water
It can be a good idea to bring along a notepad with some bullet points as prompts for the examples you’ve prepared, so your mind doesn’t go blank. I’d also suggest bringing a bottle of water to your interview with you, so if you need a bit of time to think while answering a question, you can take a sip of water, which will also help to relax your nerves.
Don’t be scared of a silence
Building on the previous point, don’t panic if there are silences. If you need a bit of time to think of the best angle to highlight your response to a question, then take it. In those situations, where five seconds can feel like a minute, the panel won’t be embarrassed, and will happily sit there quietly while you think. The panel may also be silent while they write notes – this is nothing to worry about.
Be open and honest
The more honest you can be in an interview, the better your chances. Skilled interviewers will be able to uncover people who are exaggerating their experience or aren’t being forthcoming, so it’s best to be as open as possible. During the interview, the panel is trying to see if you’d be a good fit for the organisation, and if you are less than honest, you could end up in a job that really isn’t right for you.
Ask the right questions
Most interviewers will have time for questions at the end, and what you often hear from someone who’s a bit unprepared is, ‘When will I hear about the outcome?’ While this is an important thing to know, it’s information that the interviewers should offer freely and it can be an indication that you’ve been put on the spot.
I would suggest asking a relevant question about the job role itself, which allows the interview panel to talk about their area so you can learn more about it. This can help you to gain an understanding of what the challenges and perks might be in the environment you’re hoping to work. You could even mention something related to the role that you’ve seen in the news recently and ask a question to do with that (as long as it’s relevant!).
One question I always ask is ‘what do you like about working here?’ because more important than salary is actually what you get out of being there. If I’m going to be there for 35-40 hours a week, I want to feel like I’m going to enjoy it.
After your interview
Ask for feedback
This is especially important if you’ve been unsuccessful. Panels should be able to provide you with constructive feedback on what you could have done better, and you should never accept that there was simply a better candidate. Ask why that person was better and what you could do to have the edge over other candidates at your next interview. Don’t accept face value feedback; you need to get something useful back from the process, so that next time you’ll be the successful candidate.
Wait to chase the outcome
It’s not necessary to chase the interviewers for the outcome of the interview before the date they say you’ll hear back from them. If the panel don’t tell you when you’re likely to receive your outcome, then around 24 hours is a reasonable time to call up and ask for more information.
Although some may find the interview process daunting, this doesn't have to be the case. Prepare yourself using these tips to have a successful interview and start your journey onto the career pathway of your dreams!