Essential interview skills to secure your next job

Shaking hands in job interviewCongratulations! Your job application has impressed an employer and they have offered you an interview. Your next challenge is to hone your interview skills and demonstrate the potential that you have already shown on paper in front of a live audience.

It’s this face-to-face scenario that many people find nerve-wreaking. But with a bit of preparation you can put those butterflies back in their box. Or at least suppress them.

If you are new to interviews, or if you have failed to secure a job on previous occasions, then this blog post is for you. Here are the essential interview skills that will help to propel you up the career ladder.

Research, research, research

There are three essential types of research to do before any job interview: research the company; research its industry; and research the role.

Make sure you checkout the company website for its history and look at anything written about it online. Other good sources of information are the company’s social media channels for latest news and happenings within the organisation. If it makes products or offers services, familiarise yourself with these and take a look at online reviews.

Also be aware of the company’s competitors and anything going on in industry news that might affect it. Could new government legislation impact the way it operates in the future?

Finally, make sure you know what the job you have applied for entails. Read the Job Description and Person Specification thoroughly. Asking ‘what will I be doing’ at the interview will not go down well.

Prepare for easy questions

At some point in every interview you will be asked to tell the interviewer about yourself. Make sure you have rehearsed your answer and focus on your work life or training to date.

Tell the story of your career journey and how it has brought you to this point. It will paint a picture of strategic progression for the interviewer.

Stay in control of your message

It’s impossible to predict every question you will be asked but you can prepare your answers. Each interview question is an opportunity for you to tell your future employer why you are a good fit for this role. Answer their question and then expand by selling yourself.

Be confident

If you have applied for a job that you are qualified to do and will help you achieve your next career goal then walk into the interview with confidence. Don’t be tempted to psychologically lower yourself. You have every right to be in the room and to talk to the interviewer as an equal.

Think about your body language and be enthusiastic. However, avoid sounding desperate, regardless of how much you want or need the job.

Quantify your career successes

Supercharge examples of your career triumphs by putting them into numbers. How much money did you save your last employer? How much faster did you make an important process? Or how many customer brochures did you redesign.

Numbers help qualify your value in a way that is memorable for interviewers. Prepare a few examples in advance.

Keep it positive

Everyone has had a bad day in the office but interviewers don’t want to hear about it. This is, unless you can give them an example of how you turned things around.

Always focus on the positive in your answers, and never spill the beans about bad bosses and terrible jobs. It won’t show you in a good light.

Got nerves? Don’t mention it!

Everyone is nervous in interview situations. Even interviewers on occasion. But don’t mention that you have butterflies or use them as an excuse for what you think was a poor answer. This will plant a seed of doubt in the interviewer’s mind.

They want you to be honest in your interview. If you mention that you would have answered a question differently it doesn’t give the best impression.

If you would like interview coaching or want to find the right job opportunities for your next career move then we can help.

At Ocean Edge, we are a recruitment consultancy with nearly 20 years’ experience in finding the right candidates for the affordable housing and property sectors.

Find out more about how we can help you find your ideal job and register for job alerts and offers or contact us at Ocean Edge by calling 023 8000 1153 or emailing