From the time I returned home from travelling (back in May), I began job hunting. It was a long process, full of rejections, countless covering letters and many, many unanswered applications. In total I applied for around 25-30 jobs in Bristol but I only heard back from about 10. With a first class degree, a range of work experience and wide portfolio, I didn’t think I would find it so difficult to get a job in a related industry, but after the lack of responses, or finding that I was still unqualified for many jobs, I was losing confidence.
As you may know from reading my last blog post, I ended up searching in London. Within days of applying I had two interviews, for amazing roles and amazing companies, so I really had to ace the interviews. I researched the companies, roles and duties and rehearsed my answers to some of the interview questions I was expecting. This preparation must have worked because I’m living in London now and writing for Harrods.
I’m extremely relieved and happy to be at the end of my job search now, because it was long and somewhat tedious. If you’re still going through it, I wish you luck! And if you’ve got an interview, take a look at my tips below. These were things I made sure to do/read/research before attending, and it seemed to work! (For one job at least!)
Beth’s interview tips
- Be passionate – It is important for employers to be able to tell that you really want the job. They can tell when you’re passionate and they can tell if you’re not that interested. Every interview is good experience, but if you want to land the job, make sure you’re passionate about it and definitely want it. Then don’t be afraid to look eager in the interview!
- Do your research – Know the company inside out and brainstorm answers to typical interview questions beforehand. http://www.glassdoor.co.uk have an ‘interview‘ section where past employees and interviewees have written about the recruitment process, including interview questions and the application stages. This can give you a good idea what sort of questions to expect in the interview for your particular role. You can prepare answers beforehand to ensure you aren’t taken by surprise when you go, and looking prepared is always a good thing!
- Know yourself inside out – As well as researching the company, make sure you know how to answer all questions about yourself too. Know what skills and experience is relevant to that particular job as the employer will almost always ask you to talk about them in the interview – even if your CV and cover letter are in front of them. Brainstorm what might be your strengths and weaknesses, but don’t be too critical. This is a common question and you need to answer it with a weakness that could be spun into a positive attribute. Characteristics like being stubborn, critical or a perfectionist can be positive attributes – they can show that you care about your work and that you’re willing to work hard until it’s perfect.
- Be early and look smart – Aim to get there at least 10 minutes before your interview. Make sure you have enough time to find the location, time to park or walk to it and enough time to let the receptionist know you’re there. Being early also shows that you are prompt and prepared – a skill that is appreciated in every job!
- Assess the situation – This is something you can’t do beforehand, but once you arrive at your interview, make a quick assessment of the workplace and your interviewers. This might influence the way you answer their questions. Read the situation and workplace. Is it serious or casual? Are they chatty or extremely professional? Do they go off topic or keep to a strict agenda? It can be a good thing if you can make your interviewers laugh, but only try to do so if the atmosphere is right! If you’re easy to get on with and act relaxed, that can influence their decision.
- Don’t doubt yourself! If you’ve got an interview coming up, the potential employers must like you and think that your set of experience and skills is a good match for the job. After a set of knock-backs and rejections, you may not believe in yourself as much but find that confidence again and impress those interviewers!