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Top tips to ace an interview

Posted on: 11 Aug

You’ve found your dream job, you’ve sent off the application, and you’ve received an interview offer. What next? No matter how many interviews you may have done before, you need to take the time to prepare properly for each one if you want to get the role. The interview stage of the job application process is where your prospective employer decides whether they think you’re a good fit for the job, and therefore it’s vital to make a good first impression, demonstrating throughout why you’re the ideal person for the role. 

From the preparation through to the follow-up, here’s how to make yourself stand out during your interview.

Do your research

Nothing demonstrates passion and commitment like taking the time to prepare thoroughly for an interview, and that means researching the company in as much details as you can. Find out what the firm’s values are, which success stories they’ve had in the past- and why- and who your interviewers will be. It’s also a good idea to do some research on the marketplace and about the company’s competitors. 

It’s also important that you take a good look at your job description: you need to know it inside out. Read through it, and make a list of how the skills and qualities you have match up to the requirements of the job: the job description, at its most basic, is a list of what your employer is looking for, so this document provides an important touchstone from which to base most of your answers.

Be prepared

It’s time to put all of your research to the test: in order to be prepared, you need to practice. Many interviewers have a list of standard interview questions that they ask candidates, and examples are always easy to find on the internet - make a list of the most common ones and draft out your response to them. Get family members or friends to stage mock interviews with you; encourage them to deviate from the script too, so you’re not caught off guard with a particularly hard question during the interview itself.

You should also be prepared to back up your answers with examples from your past; you need to know your CV inside out, and refer back to it constantly. 

Know your worth

As part of the interview, you’ll undoubtedly be asked why you think you’d be a good fit for the role, and which values you can bring to the team. Don’t sell yourself short: be clear about your skills and abilities, and be prepared to demonstrate those skills with concrete examples from your past- for inspiration, go back through your CV and pick out key achievements and examples of work to take along to the interview. Confidence is key: if you’re not confident in yourself, then your prospective employer won’t be either.

Be polite

A good first impression can make or break the interview, so be sure you make a good one: turn up early, wear appropriate clothing- even if you’re interviewing for a casual start-up, it’s better to dress more formally than appear looking less than appropriate- and be polite to the interviewers. Be positive, shake hands with your interviewers, and don’t interrupt them. It’s also important to make sure that you make eye contact with the people you talk to. Manners count, as nobody wants to hire a candidate who comes across as arrogant, rude or thoughtless, so make sure you come across as somebody a company would want to hire, and would fit in well to office life. 

Don’t be afraid to have a conversation

Try and turn the interview into a conversation rather than a stilted exchange. Though you’re nervous, keep your answers concise and to the point, rather than rambling. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm: ask questions about the role, and about the company, if you want to find out more about certain areas of office life or the role that might not have been made clear in the job description. The interview is as much about you deciding whether you like the company as it is the other way around, so make the most of it.

Though the interviewing process can be difficult, we believe that passion is important. At QuintilesIMS, we’re always looking for enthusiastic, fresh talent to take the next step with a career in Medical Sales. Find out more about the roles we offer here, and find out more about us here.