How to boss your job interview

So, you got to interview-stage? Give yourself a slap on the back because you know that’s no easy feat. Now’s the real test… But don’t panic: you got this. Read on for our top tips on how to boss your job interview.

  1. Research the company.

Maybe you saw the job on LinkedIn and sent over your CV without doing much research. Perhaps you were approached by a recruiter and haven’t heard of the company before. But let us be clear: by the time you go to an interview, at the very least you’d better know who they are, what they do, and who their customers are – because they will 100% ask you something to this effect.

Even better: comb through their whole website, check out their activity on socials, and read third-party articles and press releases (let us Google that for you). For your own sake check out their Glassdoor reviews, read their Google reviews, and search their hashtags on social media (including LinkedIn) to see what other people are saying about them – it might just save you from a toxic boss.

  1. Revise the job description.

Hopefully you’ll have already studied the job description and tailored your CV to the role. But if it’s been a while since you last looked at either, swot up on the specification and make a note (literal or mental – whatever works for you) of what the job involves, as well as what skills and attributes they’re looking for. Most importantly: prepare examples of how you’ve demonstrated each of these in your career so far, ideally with tangible outcomes or results that prove your effectiveness. 

  1. Get familiar with your own CV.

You’d be shocked at the number of people who look blank when asked questions about something on their own CV… Review it from an outside perspective or, even better, get someone else to poke holes in it. Why are you applying for this role – is it an obvious promotion, or are you taking a sideways step and, if so, what’s your motivation? (Flattering answers only, please – this isn’t an opportunity to bitch about your current boss.) If you’re trying to move into travel from another industry, why is your past experience not only relevant but beneficial to this role? Got any gaps where you weren’t working? Don’t stress, but be ready to explain how you developed yourself during that time.

  1. Ask questions (and observe).

Remember: an interview is as much a chance for you to find out if a role and company is a good fit for you, as it is for the employer to find out if you’re a good fit for the role. What are you looking for in your next move? What’s really important to you at work, both professionally and personally? Prepare a few questions in advance – you can even write them down and take them with you if it stops you having a brain fart when it comes to asking. (Just be wary of asking questions they’ve covered, or for which answers are readily available online or on the job description, as this screams “not paying attention.”)

If you’re going to the office for the interview, take notice. What do you see and, more importantly, feel? Are you made to feel welcome? Is the office busy – and does that work for you? (If you’re looking for IRL camaraderie but the office is a WFH-induced ghost town, this might not be the job for you.) What’s the atmosphere like – and do the people you interact with seem happy? Are there any clues about the company culture? This might be the only chance you get for a vibe check before your first day.

  1. Plan ahead.

If your interview is IRL, make sure you know exactly where you need to be and how you’re going to get there on time. Being late makes you look and feel like a hot mess, leaving a bad impression, making you feel flustered and jeopardising your performance (it’s called self-sabotage, hun – look it up).

If your interview is virtual, make sure your wifi is playing ball and you have a quiet, presentable space to dial in from (no dodgy books/posters/art or drying underwear in the background, s’il vous plait). We’ve all heard uttered “You’re on mute!” more times than anyone ought to in a lifetime, so in the name of Cher test your camera and microphone on the relevant platform – i.e. Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom – before the day.

  1. If you’re not sure, ask.

Not sure what to wear? Need to find out what video-calling platform you’re using? Want to know who’ll be interviewing you so you can (purely professionally) stalk them a bit first? Curious about previous candidates’ feedback so you know what they do and don’t like? Remember: your recruiter wants you to get the job (yes, we’re nice people… but let’s be real: it’s also how we get paid), so they’ll be more than happy to help.

Here at Lightning, we’ll support you all the way with CV and interview prep and make sure you get constructive feedback, whatever stage you get to. Check out some of our latest roles, or get in touch to see if we have anything with your name on it.

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Thea Bardot

4th January

Career Advice Blog