Sparta's Media Hub

8 top tips for interviewing well

Discover our Talent Team Lead, Alastair Marshall’s, tips and tricks for smashing interviews. Al has plenty of experience having interviewed more than a THOUSAND candidates for both business and technology roles. Read below to find out more...

We’ve split this blog into eight sections, to allow you to see the key challenges candidates face when it comes to interviews. Let’s begin…

  1. Nerves

Nerves are completely normal, but it is how we deal with them which determines our success. Being invited for an interview is a significant step - the employer clearly trusts that you have the potential to be a great addition to their team. So first off - remember the position is something to be celebrated. There are then many techniques you can use to manage your nerves; breathing exercises, listening to your favourite songs, or making a concerted effort to convert your stress-induced adrenaline to excitement. The mind is a powerful tool!

  1. Body language

When you are being asked a series of questions, it can be incredibly difficult to focus on anything other than formulating coherent and developed responses. However, it is important to consider how you are communicating with the interviewer through non-verbal cues too. You want to appear engaging so ensure you maintain good posture throughout the interview, use your hands to express yourself, keep your shoulders relaxed, and most importantly - smile!

  1. Hand movement

By using your hands, you can convey your excitement in a measured way, whilst also emphasising your points. Hand gestures play an important role in extending your gravitas and appearing confident and engaging. However, if this does not come naturally to you - there is no need to force it. It is important that you feel comfortable and focused.

  1. Voice and eye contact

The voice is an incredibly powerful tool as it allows you to assert yourself and deliver the points you want to make. Often, our voice is also a key indicator of nerves. To manage this, many public speakers employ a variety of techniques. The ‘low and slow’ concept involves adopting either a lower key or slowing down the tempo of your speech - elevating the sense of authority, conviction, and articulation. Eye contact is another brilliant way of displaying your confidence and captivating the interviewer - and remember, this is just as important if you are interview online.

  1. Awareness of surroundings

Whether you are doing your interview in person or online, bear in mind that everything in the interviewer’s eye line will be picked up on (consciously or subconsciously). In a face-to-face interview, ensure that you dress to impress without allowing your appearance to be distracting. If your interview takes place online, be sure to have a clear background with minimal noise. Remember, regardless of where your interview takes place, it is important to appear professional.

  1. Research

Always make sure to check the company’s website before your interview. This is a simple way to get a feel for the company whilst also gaining a deeper understanding of what the company does and how they operate. Social media is also a great tool for conducting further research as it provides a platform for companies to push boundaries and show more of their personality. Finally, Glassdoor is a great way to explore honest reviews from employees, some of which even provide interview advice. It is important to assess whether you think the company will be a good fit for you, whilst the interviewer decides whether you are a good fit for the company.

  1. Get to know the person you are interviewing

LinkedIn is a brilliant way to view the background of your interviewer, as well as initiatives which they are particularly proud of (achievements, recommendations, and things they have done). If appropriate, use the interview as an opportunity to build a rapport and network with the interviewer too, as you may one day be working with them. This will not only dazzle them with your professionalism, but also impress them with your sociability and personalness.

  1. Context and tone of answers

Typically, in interviews, you will be asked a list of broad questions which focus on key competencies, traits, or attributes that an organisation wants. These questions allow them to see how effective you could be within their own projects. The STAR method is a great way of planning out your answers to potential interview questions. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result, and allows you to articulate your past experiences into a professional and structured response.

Remember, enjoy the interview! It is an opportunity for you to network and connect with new people whilst celebrating everything you have achieved and exploring your potential.