For the interview
1. Thoroughly research the company (do your homework)
This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how often this step is overlooked. Before your interview, make sure to research the company extensively. Understand their mission, values, and recent/current projects. This knowledge will help you align your answers with the company's goals and demonstrate your genuine interest in working for them. Additionally, researching the company can help you ask insightful questions during the interview, displaying your enthusiasm and engagement.
2. Use the rule of three
Giving your examples and experience in threes is a straightforward way to organize your responses, and ensures your answers are memorable while demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively. Our brains are wired to remember information in threes, creating a clear framework for the interviewer to follow and remember your key points and experiences. This technique also highlights your critical thinking skills and your ability to prioritize your strengths, while keeping your answers clear and concise. You may be one of many being interviewed, so make it easy for the interview panel to remember you.
3. Guide the interviewer to your strengths (and be upfront about your weaknesses)
It is crucial to steer the conversation to areas where you excel, giving you the opportunity to showcase your abilities and how they can contribute to the role. This positions yourself as a strong candidate and an asset to the organization. The easiest way to do this is through the information and experience on your CV, but even if you don’t get a chance to showcase your expertise or achievements during the interview, make sure to mention them in a key summary at the end.
The dreaded “what are your strengths and weaknesses” question may not always come up in an interview, but it is important to be prepared. Be honest about your weaknesses and be sure to include actionable steps you are, or are planning to take, to remedy them. For example, if you want to work on your leadership skills you can outline how you have become more involved in campus or community groups and are starting to adopt more responsibility. This demonstrates your self-awareness and proactivity- both great skills that employers look for.
4. The way you carry yourself matters.
Whether your interview is in person or online, how you present yourself forms the initial impressions you make on the interviewer. By projecting confidence, professionalism, and positive body language, you establish yourself as a candidate worth pursuing. Even if you are nervous going in, “fake it until you make it” with strong eye contact and good posture. Dressing well also shows that you appreciate the opportunity, and “it may sound old school, but a firm handshake at the end of a face-to-face interview goes a long way”, Geoff shared.
5. Always have a question to ask
One of the easiest ways to stand out in the interview is to ask questions that make the interviewer stop and think. The first step to doing this is ensuring your questions aren’t something that can be answered on their website or a google search. “I’m always impressed when a candidate asks a specific question about [Arup’s] current or recent projects aligned with their interests as an engineer”, Geoff shared, as this demonstrates a genuine interest in the company’s work. Equally, Monika said that one of her favourite questions “is when the candidates ask me about my (and my colleagues) experience working at the company, and what challenges and opportunities the role brings professionally while maintaining a good work-life balance.”