With the nights drawing in and holiday tans fading, it seems many people are already thinking about making another escape – from their jobs. An earlier research reveals that four fifths (80%) of workers questioned are prompted to look for a new job after returning from holiday.

Rather than feeling refreshed and ready to get stuck back into work life, nearly half (47%) of respondents admit that they are definitely more likely to search for a new job following their summer break, while 33% say they are probably more likely to do so.

For this reason here are some guidelines how to prepare for a job interview:

Pre-interview checklist
As you have worked your way through this section dealing with applications and interviews, you will know that preparation is the key to a successful job interview. This checklist is a quick reminder — it is worth printing out to make sure you have covered everything.

Have you…
…worked out how to get there and how long your journey will take?
Why not do a trial run a few days before?

…found out what format the interview will take?
One-to-one, a panel interview or a group interview.

…found out what resources are available?
If you’ve been asked to do a written test or a presentation, you’ll need to call ahead to find out what facilities are available.

…prepared answers to some of the typical interview questions?
Check again on responding to the Top 10 interview questions.

…researched the organisation?
You will impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their organisation.

…printed out the CV or form you sent in application for the job?
Taking a copy with you is useful for any specific questions about your application and your work history.

• …prepared examples of when you’ve used skills relevant to the job?
You can identify the kind of skills you will need by reading through the person specification or by checking out our Job Profiles.

• …prepared two or three questions for the end of the interview?
This is your chance to impress — ask questions that show you understand the organisation and the role you could have.

• …decided what you’re going to wear? Will you look the part?
Always look neat, clean and tidy, even if the dress code at the organisation is informal.

Interviews – do’s and don’ts
An interview is a discussion between you and an employer to find out if you can do the job. It’s your chance to make a good impression. However, there are certain rules you should follow in interviews.

What to do:
• dress smartly, look bright and attentive, and speak clearly and confidently. First impressions really do count – studies show that employers make a decision about whether to hire you within the first seven minutes on average
• find out where the venue is beforehand, how to get there and how long it takes
• get your outfit ready the night before
• find out what kind of interview it will be so you can prepare
• examine the person specification and your CV/application form, and think about what type of questions they will ask you
• prepare answers for the main questions – for example, why do you want the job, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what are the main tasks in this job?
• make about three or four points in each answer
• quote real examples of when you’ve used certain skills – just saying you’ve got a skill isn’t enough
• take your time when answering the questions: make sure you understand the question and take your time if you need to think
• sell yourself: no one else is going to! Be positive about yourself and your experiences
• prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview – use it as an opportunity to find out more about the role and the company. (Don’t ask about money or perks just yet!)
• when discussing salary, know your market worth and start by quoting a little higher than this
• get feedback on your performance, whether you were successful or not
• turn off your mobile phone: treat the interviewers with respect and give them your undivided attention
• keep your answers focused on what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you

What not to do:
• don’t be late
• don’t swear or use slang words
• don’t slouch in your seat or do anything that makes you look uninterested
• don’t smoke
• don’t lie: the interviewer may see through you. Even if you get the job, your employer can dismiss you if they find out that you have not been honest
• don’t let your nerves show too much; a few nerves are normal but extreme nerves will affect your performance. Use breathing techniques and try to remember that it’s not a life and death situation – there are plenty of jobs out there!
• don’t be arrogant and assume you’ve got the job. Nothing turns off employers more than someone who is disrespectful and over-confident
• don’t discuss controversial topics such as religion, politics and gender relations
• don’t read from notes or your CV — you should be familiar enough with your own history to be able to talk about it unprompted
• don’t criticise former employers or colleagues. Interviewers may mark you down as a troublemaker and a gossip
• don’t argue with the interviewer, no matter what. Remember to keep things positive!

These rules apply for most jobs. However, employers in some industries can use more relaxed and informal interviewing techniques. In some creative fields (design and media for example) it may be expected that you turn up for the interview in casual clothes, as that is the dress code in the office. However, smart casual is better than very casual. If you’re in any doubt, do some research on typical interview techniques in your line of work.
Above all, preparation is the key to performing well in interviews. Research the role and organisation, and prepare evidence and examples of your skills and competencies.

References:
Agency, S.F. (2012) Preparing for an interview. Available at: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/getajob/interviews/Pages/default.aspx (Accessed: 7 July 2016).

Post-holiday blues push 80 per cent of workers to search for a new job (2015) Available at: http://info.monster.co.uk/post-holiday-blues-cause-workers-to-search-for-a-new-job/article.aspx (Accessed: 7 July 2016).