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On the day

Your interview begins the moment you step inside the organisation.

On the day of your interview, know exactly where you are going and get there slightly early. Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment in case you encounter any delays.

Be courteous and friendly towards everyone you meet, starting with the receptionist. It’s natural to feel a little nervous before an interview, but try to relax as much as you can.

The impression you create in the first 60 seconds can be most important in creating the right rapport between you and the interviewer. Body language is as much a part of communication as any other form of language.

A survey of 273 managers by found that interviewers take on average less than seven minutes to decide if a candidate is right for the role.

Looking the part

How you look on the day will affect how you are perceived. A good general rule is to dress as smartly as you can without feeling uncomfortable.

Another good measure is to dress a little smarter than the people who already have a similar role in the organisation. Whatever you choose to wear, look clean and tidy.

If you have visible piercings or tattoos, you will know that some people use them to make assumptions about you. It is up to you to judge what is appropriate for the organisation you want to work for, and whether you are prepared to compromise on your appearance.

Acting the part

During the actual interview, wait until you are offered a chair before you sit down. Sit upright in your chair and wait for the interviewer(s) to take control.

Make an effort to smile and present a lively appearance, and greet the employer with a firm handshake if it is easy to do so and is offered.

Look at the people on the panel; be alert and interested at all times and be a good listener as well as a good talker. Practice the content, pace and tone of your answers. (A practice interview with a careers adviser can help and provide some objective feedback and advice).

Listen carefully to what is being asked of you. If you're unsure, ask for clarification. And always ask if you can return to any question that you cannot answer.

Remain positive and optimistic, and try to vary the tone of your voice so you don’t sound robotic. Do not use jargon or slang, and avoid saying ‘er’ or ‘um’ while you think of your answers and take deep breaths instead. Use pauses in speech to stress points.

At the end, leave with a smile and thank the interviewer(s) for their time.

Find out more

For more advice on how to ace an interview, please contact us:

Careers and Employability