Congratulations! Your CV and cover letter have impressed, and now you’ve been invited for an interview.
If you're not quite sure where to start, we’ve got you covered.
This is your map for navigating the often daunting world of job interviews, helping to make the process less of a mystery and more of what it really is: a conversation between you and your potential employer to gauge whether you’re a good fit for one another.
Before You Get Started
Some people are happy to ‘wing it’ in a job interview, but unless this is a tried and tested method for you, we don’t recommend it. So our first tip is to grab a notebook and pen and make some brief notes for yourself.
As a starting point, jot down:
- A very brief summary of what the company is and what it does.
- Any notes about the role itself that might be useful to refer back to in the interview.
- Some bullet point answers to common questions, or ones which you’re expecting to be asked (keep reading for more on these).
- Your own questions for the interviewer/s.
- Any other reminders or notes to help you stay on track. Interviews can be very nerve-racking for some, so anticipating what you’ll need in the moment can be extremely helpful - even if it’s just writing “BREATHE!” to remind you to let go of a little tension.
Let’s get into it!
Understanding the Role and the Company
This first step is important and often overlooked: getting to know the company and role inside out.
Give yourself plenty of time to dig into the company's history and culture, as well as its products or services. Check out their website, and any social media content if you can find it, as well as any recent press releases or news articles. This will help you understand what the company does and whether the company's values align with yours. It’s also a great way to demonstrate that you’re serious about the role.
Fully understanding the job you're applying for is just as important. Look at the required skills and qualifications in the person specification and have a think about how your experience fits in.
Tip: Reflect on the role. Is it a good fit both for your current skills/experience and for where you want to go? Is there room for professional growth in the direction you’re most interested in? If you’re not sure, you can ask about opportunities for development in your interview.
Technical skills are, unsurprisingly, highly valued in the digital, media and tech sectors. Make sure you understand what’s required for the role, be it programming languages, design tools, data analytics or just good all-round IT skills. You will most likely be asked to talk about how you’ve used these skills, so make a note of some examples to have handy.
If you don’t have direct experience with a certain programme or software, don’t panic—think about how you could address this positively in your interview, or come prepared with an example of how you have used something similar in the past.
There's a human element in every job role, and this is where 'soft skills' come in. Communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are often key in the world of digital, media and tech. Remember, it's not just about what you know; it's also about how you apply your knowledge, collaborate with others, and adapt to new challenges.
Arriving armed with some examples of when your soft skills have been useful might help you prepare for possible questions about these, but another great approach is to bring them into the interview with you!
This is an opportunity to listen actively, be responsive, and think critically. Good communication skills: tick!
Common Interview Questions
Many interviews follow a similar format in terms of questions. Try to be prepared for some of the classics: "Tell me about yourself", "Where do you see yourself in five years?", or "What's your biggest weakness?".
We recommend having a think about these ones in advance (as well as any others you’re expecting to be asked) so they don’t catch you off guard. Don’t get too caught up in telling your interviewer/s exactly what you think they want to hear—your unique skills and personality are also important. If this job opportunity is really important to you, let your passion shine through.
In the digital, media and tech sector you might be asked to demonstrate your skills somehow. Usually employers will tell you whether this is part of their interview process. If it is, be prepared for a coding challenge, a problem-solving task, or a portfolio review. This is your moment to shine, to take all that theory and practice and show just what you're capable of.
Preparing Your Own Questions
An interview is a two-way conversation. As well as a chance for your potential employers to gauge your suitability, it’s also your opportunity to learn more about the company and the role. Preparing some insightful questions (your research will be useful here!) will show your interest and enthusiasm. Consider asking about the company culture, or how the company supports professional development.
Some people like to bring ideas or suggestions to an interview. If you’re not sure how this would be received, just ask whether this would be appropriate before diving in.
Presentation and Body Language
Dress smartly and appropriately. Luckily, a full suit is no longer the order of the day for interview-wear. Maintain eye contact if this is comfortable for you. Be mindful of your body language.
If You’re Feeling Nervous
Your interviewer wants to find a good fit for the role, and they’re hoping it’s you—they want you to do well.
It’s OK to be nervous, but don’t let this stop you from putting your best foot forward. Relax your shoulders, sit up straight and remember to breathe.
It’s absolutely fine to ask if you can have a minute to consider your response to any questions.
Overall, try to remain calm and positive.
You did it!
If you like, follow it up with a brief, courteous 'thank-you' email, which can further emphasise your interest in the role and leave a positive impression. When it comes to hearing back about the outcome of the interview, patience is key. Most employers will tell you when you can expect to hear back, but if you haven’t heard anything for some weeks, it’s usually fine to send a quick follow-up email.
We hope you found this article helpful. Best of luck!