Wednesday, 15 April 2015

How to deal with an interview

When it comes to Interviews it can bring the sweat out in people, what do I wear? should I tie my hair up? Ew I tied it back so much I look like a feckin young fella, interviews can be extremely daunting but fear not I'm here to help you through it by giving you my tips and helping you answer some of those ehm, tricker questions.

I had my first ever interview when I was 17 years old, and to be honest it wasn't really an interview. Somehow in my old school they think when you're in fifth year you don't have enough going on so they decide to throw you into a pretend interview of your dream job. I went with media at the time, and I can truthfully say I had never been so nervous in all my life, the sheer pressure of it not to mention I was the very last fifth year left in the school with just my career guidance teacher and the two interviewers who I had no clue who they were, the pressure was most definitely on and well long story short I got the non existent job and had the best laugh ever. Every interview lasted about 15-20 minutes, I was in there for at least 45 minutes having a great time. It was the one time I could really talk about my love for media and radio and it went great. I will admit I was ridiculously prepared but I really had a passion and when you can talk about something you love with good knowledge behind you then you're going to do well no matter what the situation.

Since that day I've had many more interviews but not so much like that, in my line of work I get to interview other people but my only ever interview happened quite recently and it's something that a lot of students will be facing in the upcoming months and that is the college interview.
Many colleges in Ireland require you to do an interview before being accepted to college, many are for PLC's and especially art and fashion colleges but they can be as equally nerve wrecking as a job interview.
I'm quite a confident person so genuinely being interviewed doesn't phase me at all, which I'm lucky about but at the beginning of March I went for an interview for a course in radio and presenting in WIT and it was a little bit different.
I can't say I was nervous because I really wasn't I just got a bit, ehm flustered. I brought my big portfolio with me, just in case and I like to look professional so going up in the lift with one of my interviewers she asked me what was in my hands 'stuff' I replied with 'oh just stuff' - I'm not lying. Stuff. So as I was beginning to deal with the fact that I just said 'stuff' to my potential lecturer in college when I was asked what's a talking point in my town at the moment... 'trucks' yes I replied with a simple 'trucks' - well that was it, I wasn't getting into this course but low and behold two weeks later I got the email and I was in, and I'm still in it 5 week on and loving every minute.

Most of my best friends have had an interview for a college they want/wanted to attend, some got it, some didn't but it's mainly all down to preparation. If you go in there all over the place, no proof, no facts, no knowledge of the industry you hardly expect yourself to go far with the interview anyway and you're just setting yourself up to be left down.Of course it's not all down to preparation, sometimes you just won't get along with the interviewer, or there's simply better people for the job, but you want to put yourself in the best  possible position that you can.
They're obvious, but here are some of my top tips for your interview:

  • Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! - This is the best advice I can give someone. I'm very weird when it comes to this type of thing myself though. I'm the type of person who works better on the spot, but that being said I am very organised when I need to be. I can spend hours upon hours researching something a month before but when I know enough that's it, I stop and I do no more. The night before doesn't work for me, I need to prep in advance. I wouldn't necessarily plan what you're going to say, as that never works out right but know how you can lead a conversation. Basically have an answer for EVERYTHING!! and I mean it, everything!! 
  • Dress to Impress!- White shirt and black pants.. but really??! I don't know about that but what I do know is you need to look the part. I'm not a very neat person as in, yes there are days where I shouldn't go out with my hair like a cave mans but I don't really care but when it comes to an Interview I do believe in making an effort. I'm not talking debs dress effort but smart, casual, make yourself look pretty. If you're going for an office position then yes maybe a nice blouse and a pencil skirt but for a college interview I don't believe that's necessary. When it comes to creative interviews such as media, art colleges then I think go for it! Bring out your own style. Once you look good and you're confident then you're set. (You can pull the hair down the second you leave the room don't worry)
  • Don't be late!- Look I am the queen of being late, I am always late but one thing you should never be is late for an interview. Leave the house fifteen minutes earlier than you should with plenty of time. Expect the unexpected!! You never know when a bloody digger will slow you down so give yourself plenty of time. You also don't want to swoop in the door with 30 seconds to spare dripping in sweat because you just ran the last six miles, just leave early!! IF there's nothing else you can do and you're going to be late, then okay don't stress give them a call. Apologize remorselessly but they will understand, these things happen and they will really respect the call.
This is also very important if you're doing a phone interview, if you're the one doing the calling then you ring on time. If you say you will call at 5pm you call at 5pm, not 4:50 not 5:15, 5pm!!- Trust me there's nothing more irritating than a person who doesn't stick to a set time.
  • Explain everything!- If there's something on your CV that you know will be a topic of discussion then you need to be able to talk about it. There's no point having something down that when brought up you have no answer for, for a very brief (and weird) example if you say you collect antique rings as a hobby on your CV but you know you've just lost your great great grandmothers ring and it'll make you cry discussing it.. take it off your CV!! Equally if it's something you were involved in be prepared to speak about it. If you planned a charity fashion show, prepare to speak about it, have your figures, have your facts and be prepared and do not lie, not even a little white one!!! 
  • Have a question to ask! - At the end of every single interview there will come the opportunity for you to ask a question, this is a golden opportunity and it must not be missed. It can be so hard to think on the spot, and in your mind your forcing yourself to think of a question, think of a question!!!! Then they ask and you just smile and say 'no'. That's not good enough!!! Ask the smallest of questions, even if it's just 'when will we know if we get offered the job/course' just ask something people!!! but under no circumstances ask about pay, trust me that is a no go!!
  • Be prepared to call a reference!: You may have the best written reference but there could be that one interviewer who may want to actually call up the person and see for themselves. Well could you imagine the embarrassment? but some do so be sure that the people you have down as a reference know you have them down and that they're okay with it.
  • Don't Panic! - I don't get too nervous really when it comes to interviews but I know for a fact some people really do and there's absolutely no need to do so. I see interviews like a casual chat with people and when you think of it that way then it's really nothing to worry about. Go in, be yourself (cleaner, politer self) but just keep calm and don't stress out. The interviewer may not always be nice but if they're not, and you don't get the course/job then you never see them again anyway so keep calm.
  • Make a good first impression!: When you first go to a company for an interview you probably won't know who will be interviewing you, so basically plant a big ass fake smile on your face and keep it there until you leave the building. 
One of the main things you should remember though is whether it goes good or not and if you get the job/course or not you can take away the experience of an interview AND of course remember, 
Everything happens for a reason!! 

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