For many, the interview process is a minefield and with the job market looking increasingly bleak, its imperative not to put a foot wrong.
A report released on Tuesday found many students are applying for jobs almost a year before leaving university, meaning competition is tough. But once you get through the application process and secure an interview, then what?
The Huffington Post UK had a chat to recruitment manager of pub group Geronimo Inns. Ria Dannan has worked for the group for 10 years and helps coordinate training and graduate schemes and career open days for students.
She gave us her top 10 interview tips to make sure you have the best chance of getting your well-heeled foot in the door:
1. Always arrive early to get the lie of the land
2. Always find out how the interviewers dressed. It’s always better to smart than too casual
3. Always be very prepared – read up on the company and let them know you know your stuff
4. Tell the interviewers what you taught other people, but also demonstrate your thirst for learning
5. Always have some questions to ask the interviewers, preferably written down
6. First impressions do count, so don’t be late. Ring if you are delayed and make sure you know where you're going before you leave.
7. Bring a spare copy of your CV printed out
8. Always address your interviewers formally until corrected
9. Always make a point of discussing your life outside work, talk about your experiences or influences as the company will want to know the real you
10. Don't mumble but DO smile
10. Always remember that the interviewer is selling their company to you as well as you are selling yourself, this should allay your nerves. Try and give constructive feedback where you can
Dannan adds her pet hate is "limp handshakes". A good, firm handshake can make or break the interview - so is worth practicing.
Research has even been conducted around how a handshake can determine an individual's characteristics. If you really want to get it right, have a look at these five tips to avoid a "bad handshake".
But what about getting to the interview stage? Many employers have to sift through thousands of applications forms, so it's important to make sure yours stand out for the right reasons.
Trivial as it may seem, Dannan says it's important to check your email address.
"This is all about first impressions. I've seen some I couldn't even publish!"
And as for that really cool Facebook photo? Forget it.
"Don't send me a photo of yourself drinking with the lads on holiday. Or with your mum. Or in your underwear. Remember you want to look professional," Dannan advises.
And finally... good luck!
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