Sue Stephens, Senior Resourcing Manager at Pizza Hut, shares some of her top interview tips for candidates, from how to prepare to asking the right questions. 

As someone who interviews candidates on a regular basis, I can honestly tell you I look forward to meeting every candidate, and I would expect most recruiters to feel the same. We are by design naturally interested in people and what they have to say. 

So here are my key tips to enable you to get the best from your next interview.

Be prepared

Take some time beforehand to consider your career goals, when asked why you are interested in the role, it will help you define your reasons for wanting the job.

This may feel awkward, but do practise your interview skills with a member of your family or a friend. Get them to ask you questions such as ‘Why are you interested in this role?’ ‘What skills do you believe you have that would help you in this role?’

Do a quick review of your social media accounts, make sure there is nothing displayed which could damage ‘your brand’. Research the company and the industry. Check out the ‘commonly asked interview questions’ on Google. 

Make your first impression count

Make sure you plan your journey – if relying on public transport anticipate potential delays. If driving, check out where you can park. Better to be close to where your meeting is in plenty of time rather than adding pressure on yourself. However, make sure you do not check in too early, 10 minutes before the interview is plenty.

We all know that when we are well presented, we naturally have more confidence in ourselves, so dress appropriately. Many companies now have a smart casual dress code – however, as a rule of thumb, more smart than casual will always be the safer option. 

Be friendly – smile, shake hands confidently but don’t do a vice-like grip! Do take time for pleasantries/banter – the interviewer should set the tone for this, take their lead. 

Sell yourself and your skills

Be yourself. Interviewers like people to be authentic and genuine. 

It’s okay to take some time to consider your answers and respond thoughtfully when you are asked a question which requires you to think. An interviewer would rather this, versus an ill thought-out, garbled response. 

If you are asked a question you do not know the answer to don’t be afraid to admit it – it’s far better than faking it.

What not to do…

Don’t moan about your current/previous job, and do not be critical of people you have worked for or with. Also, don’t brag or oversell yourself. Humility is a very powerful thing.

Remember this is your opportunity to decide whether the job and the company are right for you – it’s a two-way street. So have some questions ready, most interviewers allow time for the table to be turned. 

However, be careful not to ask questions around money, holidays, bonuses etc. This is a conversation suited more to the final interview or at the offer stage.

It may seem as though there is a huge amount of info to take in, however it is important not to overthink things. Prepare ahead of time, be confident and you will not go wrong.