I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews with various potential employees over the years. And having just completed a further round of interviews for our latest Oven internship programme here at Whitespace I thought I would share some of my top tips.

 

1. Be (a bit) nervous

 

Yes, nerves are perfectly fine. If you are a little bit (or big bit) nervous then this shows you really care. The interviewer will not notice your nervousness anywhere near as much as you think they will.

 

2. Get to know your interviewer

 

Interviews can be awkward so if you can get to know your interviewer beforehand it will be much easier. Seek out opportunities to meet them at events. Follow them on Twitter or Instagram. Connect on LinkedIn. Or even ask some questions via email.

If you can, find some shared interests. Pets are always good (but remember pets are for life, not just for interviews).

 

3. Show you love doing what you do

 

The best piece of advice I got about presenting work is to show enthusiasm. Nobody can fault you for that. If you show you care about your work and you work hard you will win the heart of the interviewer.

 

4. Practise talking about your work

 

You may think that some people are naturally gifted at talking about their work but the truth is they will have practised over a number of years. They were most likely the type of child who wouldn't shut up about their macaroni pictures.

Chris Hoy was not born with those massive thighs. He trained and trained to get them. Talking about your work is just a muscle that you need to train and nurture.

Anyone can improve at presenting work. It just takes a bit (ok, a lot) of practise. Practise talking about your projects to anyone that will listen. Your flatmate, your other half, your parents, your cat, yourself, the wall — it doesn’t matter. You will get better at it.

 

5. Ask for brutal feedback

 

This is a difficult thing to do but always ask for honest feedback from your interviewer. You can even ask them to be brutally honest. It’s better you know and fix it than not know and keep doing it wrong.

 

6. Presume you are up against 300 others

 

Because you probably will be. 

You need to be memorable. Follow up with a thank you email. Leave a leave behind (mini-portfolio, nicely printed CV, postcards, etc.) If you have physical objects bring them in (the bigger the better). Anything that will help you stand out. 

Just don't turn up an hour early! Although, side note, this actually worked for someone as they were super nice and apologetic about it. 10 min early is fine.

 

7. Instead of thinking ‘I hope they like me’ think ‘ I hope I like them’

 

Remember this is as much about you getting to know them as it is the other way around. Approach the interview with the attitude of testing the company. Ask them questions about company values, the type of work they do, why they like working there, how long they have worked there, what does a typical day look like.

 

8. Prepare for difficult big questions

 

Personally, I don’t ask questions like ‘so why should I hire you’ but it’s always best to presume you will be asked tricky questions. And practise them. (see point 04)

 

9. Enjoy it

 

May as well. What's the worst that can happen...?

Header image by Nirzar Pangarkar on Unsplash