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Tips for applicants

Coming for interview

If your application has been shortlisted, you've cleared a very significant hurdle - you have the recruiting manager's interest. It's now time to give the next stage in the selection process your attention. Typically, the next step for shortlisted candidated will be to attend interview (some variations to this process may include an additional step which uses an exercise to determine who goes forward to interview, but this is rarely used other than for senior appointments).

It is quite normal for people to feel anxious about interviews, but a lot of that anxiety can be alleviated with careful preparation. The first thing to ensure that you absorb all of the information in the invitation. Do you know the date, time and location of the interview? Do you know how to get there? Do you have to ring up to confirm your attendance? Have you been told to prepare a presentation, or for a test?

In most cases, the information should be clear from the invitation, however, if you require any kind of clarification, don't be afraid to ring the recruiting department to obtain the information you need. This phone call is also an opportunity to notify the recruiting department of any reasonable adjustments that you may require in order to enable you to attend interview.

In the days and weeks leading up to interview, you have the opportunity to put yourself at an advantage by learning more about the role for which you have applied and its function within the recruiting department and wider organisation. You can then relate how you would be a good candidate for the role to your new found knowledge, which will prepare you well for some of the questions which will likely be asked of you at interview.

A good starting point is to re-trace some of your steps from the initial stage in the application process: re-read the Job Description, Person Specification and advert to refresh your understanding of the role. From here, you may find it useful to contact the recruiting manager for a conversation about the role. Some managers may even allow you to come for a pre-interview visit. The chance to see others performing the role for which you are applying, and the environment in which they work can give you a real feel for the role, and confirm your understanding. This kind of pre-interview interaction cannot help but provide you with a greater insight into the position.

When the time comes to ready yourself for the actual attendance of the interview, ensure that you have all of the documentation you will be required to present as part of our pre-employment checks. Plan your journey, making provision for car parking and make sure you have the recruiting department's contact details to hand in case of any delays.

When you arrive at interview, report to the venue in good time, and where appropriate, notify staff of your arrival. While some nerves are good, you do not want to be overcome by fear, and so take some deep breaths and try and retain a sense of perspective as far as possible.

All of our interviews include a panel member from our in-house Effective and Legal Recruitment Course, and so you can be assured that the interview will be managed professionally.

In the interview itself, try and make as much eye contact with the interviewers as possible. If you are struggling to control your nerves or feel put off by note-taking by the interview panel, pick a spot in the room that you can focus on when delivering your answers.

With your answers, make sure you give yourself sufficient time to reply to each question to the best of your ability. Do not feel that you have to rush your answers. If you do not fully understand a question, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer for clarification. Also, make sure that you ask any questions of the interview panel before the interview is concluded.

If you follow the above steps, you can reassure yourself that you have done everything possible to show yourself to be the best candidate that you possibly can be.

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