Interview Advice

Spinnaker are dedicated to providing the best service for our candidates and we want to offer the best advice we can to help you through your job-seeking journey.

The face of interviews has changed immensely over the past few years. Especially post-covid and the rise in online interviews. With this in mind, we have put together our top tips for the three different types of interviews that you might experience; the phone interview, the online/teams interview and the face-to-face interview.

Although there is interview specific advice depending on which of the three you may encounter, there is standard interview advice that applies for all three:

  1. Research the company: Take some time to research the company and their industry. Learn about their mission, values, and recent projects. This will help you understand their priorities and what they are looking for in a candidate and if they are right for you?

  2. Read the job spec: Look at the tasks and responsibilities listed and make a list of examples where you have achieved this and how you can prove your ability to do those tasks.

  3. Practice your answers: Think about common interview questions and practice your answers. This will help you feel more confident and articulate during the actual interview.

  4. Dress to impress: Dress in a way that is appropriate for the job and the company culture. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of being overdressed. In the words of Oscar Wilde ‘You can never be overdressed or overeducated.’

  5. Be on time: Make sure to arrive on time for your interview. If possible, arrive a few minutes early so you have time to compose yourself before the interview begins.

  6. Have questions: This shows your interest. Be ready to ask questions about the company. This may be about you selling yourself, but remember the employer is also selling the opportunity to you. Have a few questions mapped out in advance to ensure you get all your queries answered.

  7. Always talk positively: It is a common mistake people make to talk negatively about their previous jobs and employers. This is not what you are there for, you are there to sell yourself and discuss what value YOU can add to their company. Focus on that and be forward-thinking.

  8. Control your nerves: Interviews do create nerves. It is natural. But with preparation of your answers and doing your research into the company, you can ease those nerves as you will have done all you can to prepare and be ready for what may be asked. Take a look at our blog on how to manage interview stress.

The Phone Interview

  1. Timings: This type of interview in most instances is the employer’s first impression of you. You need to ensure you are on time and select a time that works for you to ensure you can fully concentrate on your interview.

  2. Put it on loud: This may seem simple, but a very common mistake people make. They forget to put their phone on loud and miss the telephone call. Ensure your phone is on loud before you are expecting your call.

  3. Choose your environment: A lot of noise can be picked up when talking on the phone so ensure that when you are due to have your telephone interview you are in a quiet room with minimal distractions.

  4. Test your equipment: Make sure your phone is fully charged and you are in an area with good reception. The last thing you want is the call to drop our mid-conversation.

  5. Practice active listening: Pay close attention to what the interviewer is asking you and respond confidently. There is nothing wrong with taking a few minutes to gather your thoughts before answering.

  6. Show your enthusiasm: This can be difficult over the phone as all the interview has to go by is your voice as they cannot see you. Make sure you engage with their questions fully and always have some questions to ask back. This is a two-way conversation remember.

  7. Speak clearly and confidently: Enunciate your words clearly and ensure to maintain a consistent and confident tone throughout the call. Avoid mumbling or speaking too quickly. Check your tone is friendly and professional to convey a positive impression. The interviewer can’t see you, so make sure your voice is telling them all they need to know.

  8. Stay focused: It is easy to get distracted through a phone interview, so make a conscious effort to remove distractions. Avoid chewing gum eating or engaging in other conversations. Telephone interviews should be treated the same as any other interview.

The Online/Teams Interview

  1. Although you may not be meeting in person, dressing appropriately is still necessary. You may be at home, but there are situations where people dress for the interview on top but have joggers, shorts, or pyjamas on the bottom.

  2. Time Zones: Always make sure you have checked this to ensure you are on time and have booked your interview for the correct time. If you are ever unsure, ask, better to be safe than sorry!

  3. Be prepared: There is nothing wrong with taking a few notes into an online interview. Be sure to go over your skills and experience and be ready to relate them to the job you are interviewing for.

  4. Test your equipment: Make sure your microphone, camera, and internet connection are all working properly before the interview. You do not want to waste time troubleshooting technical issues during the interview.

  5. Prepare your environment: Find a quiet, well-lit place to conduct the interview. Make sure there is nothing in the background that could be distracting or inappropriate.

  6. Use headphones: Wearing headphones can help reduce background noise and make it easier to hear the interviewer.

  7. Practice good body language: Sit up straight, make eye contact, and use facial expressions and hand gestures as appropriate. This will help you come across as engaged and interested as nonverbal communication cues are much harder to read.

  8. Check your devices: Ensure your phone is on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and all computer notifications are off or on silent to ensure no distractions.

The Face-to-Face Interview

  1. Timing: As for a phone or online interview, timing is key! In this situation, you are turning up at the place of work. Arrive 10/15 minutes early to give yourself a moment to calm those nerves. Always give yourself enough time to get to your interview as traffic and public transport can be unpredictable as well as finding the interview destination itself.

  2. Ask for a glass of water: This can be a great ice breaker and gives you a chance to catch your breath and take a moment during your interview before you answer. It will help you slow down your speech and avoid dry mouth, which nerves can cause.

  3. Have copies of your CV: This shows initiative and gives the interviewer the chance to have your experience right in front of them. It is also a good reference point for you to have as under pressure, you would be amazed at the things you can forget.

  4. Use STAR: This is a classic technique people use when answering questions or showcasing your experience and skills. Stick to what is being asked and don’t go off topic. (Situation, Task, Action, Result)

  5. Be mindful of body language: This is the interview where they can see you in person, therefore the way you present yourself is on full show. Sit up straight, avoid fidgeting and use positive body language such as nodding or leaning forward to show your engagement.

  6. Be authentic: You want to show you! In person, it is much easier to let your personality shine through. Build that rapport with the interviewer and leave a memorable impression behind.

  7. Stay positive: It is easy in an interview to be asked something unexpected or a challenging question. Make sure you maintain poised, and don’t let them see you flustered. Take a moment to gather your thoughts and focus on highlighting your strengths. You got this!

  8. Be prepared to discuss salary expectations: At a face-to-face interview, in many situations, this is a final stage where topics such as this are discussed. Be prepared to back up your expectations with your experience and qualifications but make sure you have researched the industry standards beforehand.

After the Interview

  1. Follow up with your Recruitment Consultant: When you have finished your interview, give your consultant a call. Let them know how it went and provide your feedback. This can then be relayed to the client if necessary. This will also be where you and your recruiter discuss what next steps may be and where the process will go.

  2. Follow up with an email: If necessary, this is a lovely touch and adds to your excellent first impression. Thank your interviewers for their time and follow up with any information they may have requested. This also gives you a chance to perhaps ask anything you may have forgotten in the interview as this can happen.

  3. Ask for feedback: Whether this be good or bad, and whether you are successful or not, feedback is always good, so always ask your Recruitment Consultant for feedback. Even if you are unsuccessful, interviews are great practice and you can walk away knowing how to improve your chances for next time

Some final words!

Interviews are of course a nerve-wracking thing. But with plenty of preparation, you will be a pro in no time! Remember, this is their first impression of you. Be yourself always and blow them away!

If you are looking for advice before your next interview, our recruiters are always on hand to help you with what to expect, what the company may ask, how to get there or what to research and prepare for.

Looking for a new role? Meet the members of our team today.