Job interviews can be tough, here are some great tips from Chris Stappard from Edward Reed Recruitment.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences. You’re competing against other talented individuals for the position, you want to come across as best you can to employers and now the interview is getting more and more difficult. Here, Chris Stappard from Edward Reed Recruitment shares his top five tips for surviving a difficult job interview.

We can all feel nervous from time to time when we’re invited for a job interview, and while a small amount of nerves can make you more determined and boost your performance, being overwhelmed by these could hold you back from showing your true potential. But, we know it can be difficult to hold it together when the interview gets tough.

Whether you’re attending an interview for a job in fashion, technology or marketing, it’ll pay to know how you can make a good impression in your interviews. So, here I’ll be sharing my top five tips for handling a tough interview.

Calm your nerves beforehand

Nerves can be the make or break in interviews, either destroying your confidence or pushing you to work hard to overcome them. But, when you think they’ll have a negative impact on your performance, it’s important that you take measures beforehand to calm your nerves.

Take some time to practice your answers to competence questions, and any others you think may be asked. Of course, you can’t always predict what’ll be asked by the interviewers but being equipped with a memorised list of the things you want to get across to them will help you to answer questions that could otherwise be tricky. Going in feeling prepared and well-versed on what you want to say is likely to reduce nervousness and ensure you can be the best you can be.

As well as taking the time to prepare, you should also take enough time to yourself. This could include anything from going for a run on the morning of your interview to doing a yoga class or reading a few chapters of a good book. All of these can help to clear your mind and make you feel calmer.

Dress to impress

First impressions count and dressing in a smart and sophisticated way can be beneficial to both how your employer perceives you and how you see yourself, too. Sloppy, ill-fitting clothing isn’t likely to make you feel motivated or confident and can actually put employers off from hiring you.

Instead, I’d advise that you adhere to a smart and sophisticated dress code. This could mean picking out a crisp white shirt and your best work suit to ensure you look professional.

Use positive body language

Your interviewers can get a better insight into you as a person by monitoring your body language, especially when they ask you tricky questions. But, even if the question has left you feeling stumped, handling it in the right way can win you some serious brownie points with your interviewers. And, your body language can help you out here.

Sitting with a relaxed posture will show that you’re comfortable with your surroundings and exude a sense of confidence. To achieve this, I’d advise you keep your back straight but not stiff, and let your shoulders relax.

To show interest and understanding, consider leaning in slightly when someone is speaking as doing the opposite can signify that you’re disinterested and put you in the bad books with future employers. When it’s your turn to speak, use your hands to incorporate gestures into your conversation — but, be careful not to go too over the top with these!

Most importantly, ensure you’re holding eye contact with your interviewer. This shows that you’re interested and engaged with what they’re saying. However, you’ll need to avoid staring them down as this will come across as unnatural and may make them feel uncomfortable. If there are two interviewers, be sure to give equal amounts of eye contact to each and look at the person who is speaking to you.

Tackle tricky questions with confidence

Your interviewer won’t be trying to catch you out, but they may ask questions that you’re initially unsure of how to answer. These could include questions about your weaknesses that you don’t want to answer wrongly at risk of making yourself sound incompetent or unreliable.

However, your interviewer may also choose to throw some tricky questions in there to explore your knowledge and experience a bit deeper. Of course, trying to prepare for some of these harder questions will be a good idea, but in instances where they come out of the blue, it’s important to remain calm.

Think logically about the question they’re asking and give the answer a go. Even if the answer is wrong, your interviewer is likely to appreciate that you tried.

Ask questions at the end of the job interview

As well as testing your understanding of the industry, interviewers will be looking for evidence that you’re actually interested in the business and the industry that it’s in. While you may have shown this through some of your answers, I’d recommend taking the opportunity at the end of the interview to ask your interviewers some questions back. This could be anything from whether there is any room for progression, to asking them their personal opinions on the job role or for their views on a recent event in the industry. Doing this can help to establish a good rapport which may help to boost you to the top of their shortlist.

Interviews are notoriously nerve-wracking, but with my top five tips you can be prepared for even the trickiest of interviews.


A big thank you to Chris Stappard from Edward Reed Recruitment for this blog contribution.