Top tips for a job interview

Secured an all important interview for your dream job? Here’s what do to in order to ensure you come out on top…

No matter how old you are, or how much experience you’ve had – a job interview is always a daunting experience. Whether it’s your first entry level fashion job or something more senior, selling yourself can often feel uncomfortable, especially when you’re filled with nerves. Yet, each opportunity does get easier, and once you’ve had that first offer your confidence is bound to build.

Whilst every interview is ultimately subjective to the hiring manager, there are some failsafe things you can do to ensure you leave a positive impression.

  • Be on time. You’d be surprised how many people don’t allow themselves breathing room to get to an interview. In the world of google maps we often think we know how quickly we can get to places, but there are always chances that buildings could be hidden, in an awkward position, or of course there could inevitably be travel delays. If you have the time, research coffee shops near the interview venue, and park yourself there for a couple of hours before. It gives you time to do some last minute prep without worrying about being far away. The sweet spot to arrive to the interview itself is around 5 minutes early. Any more and you could seem overly keen, and make the hiring manager feel under pressure to see you when they are already busy. Any less and it’s cutting it fine.
  • Start with a smile. With tons of fashion graduates in Manchester you need to stand out from the crowd, and it seems obvious, but once the adrenaline takes over it can be easy to forget that a simple smile goes a long way. The best thing to do when being greeted by your interviewer is to smile at them as you shake their hands. It instantly shows them you’re a warm, confident person (even if you aren’t feeling it at the time!). Learn your CV. One of the first questions asked in a lot of interviews is what you’ve been doing up to now. This is the chance to show off your range of interests and professional background. If you’re fresh out of uni and haven’t worked in many roles, talk about your extracurricular experience, especially if it’s relevant to the role. Whilst hiring managers will be familiar with your past career, they are keen to hear you talk about it – so be as passionate as you can, and never talk negatively about a past role.
  • Be honest. Similar to when crafting your CV, whilst it’s important to highlight your experience- there’s a fine line between exaggerating and plain lying. You may want to seem like you have all the relevant qualities for the position, but if you haven’t had any managerial experience, don’t say you do, instead talk about the qualities and experience you have which could put you in good stead for the opportunity. For example, if you’re searching for a fashion ecommerce role in Manchester and you’ve never worked in that sort of role, make that clear but look at the character description and show how you fit the position, your interviewer will appreciate the boldness.
  • Know your subject. When you applied for the role it’s more than likely there was a job description available, so learn it like the back of your hand. Research the company itself, and know its history – anyone who’s made an extra effort will stand out from the crowd. Also, in the age of social media you can even research your interviewer, learn about them, their own career history, it could inspire your own. Just avoid being too familiar – there’s a fine line between being informed and a stalker. If you’re dealing with fashion recruitment agencies then speak to your recruiter for as much information as they can provide.
  • Remember it’s a conversation. Whilst an interview may feel like the Spanish inquisition, it’s actually a fact finding experience for both yourself and the recruiter. You deserve to be there, so make the most of the opportunity to learn as much about the company, culture, and the job, you need to ensure it’s just as goodof a fit for you as you could be for them. Yet…
  • Don’t talk over the interviewer. Often, if you feel an interview is going well then the adrenaline may start to pump, and you could start to get overexcited. Whilst confidence is good, remember basic politeness and let the interviewer talk.If you’re constantly interrupting them in an interview environment, regardless of what you’re saying it could give them a bad impression of what you’re like professionally.
  • Ask questions. One of the most basic requirements of a job interview is to always come prepared with questions. You will always be asked if you have any at the end, and this is the biggest chance for you to find out whether it’s the opportunity for you. If you’re stuck on what to ask, discuss team culture, query what an average day in the role is like, and even ask the interviewer about their time at the company. Also, this is your chance to find out when you would hear about the next steps, be it a further interview, or a potential offer.
  • Dress comfortably. Deciding what to wear in an interview can sometimes feel more difficult than the situation itself, but comfort is always key. In a fashion role its inevitable you may feel you need to look the part, but that doesn’t necessarily mean dressing head to toe in the brand- that’s most definitely overkill. Instead, combine your style with a nod to the brand, if it’s a streetwear brand don’t come wearing a full suit, wear something more smart casual. If you’re looking at somewhere more high end then definitely dress more appropriately. As the mantra says – dress for the job you want!
  • Follow up. So the interview is over, you’ve said your goodbyes and hopefully left feeling positively. Make that impression last later that day by contacting your interviewer to thank them for their time and tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them. If you’ve thought of any other relevant questions since the interview use this e-mail to ask, they’ll appreciate the interest.

Finally, do remember that every interview is a completely different experience. You’re going to come across many different personalities over time, but as long as you’re confident in yourself and your ability – that will always shine through. Good luck!