05 March 2019

You casually check your emails. Having submitted the application form a few months back you have wondered when you might hear back.

There it is. The invitation to attend a selection event or interview has finally arrived. You reply (courteously) to confirm your attendance. And then begin to wonder... now what?

We know that attending your first (or even hundredth) interview or selection event can be daunting so we have asked Holly Fey to put together some hints and tips to help prepare you for the big day.

Get as much information about as possible before the event

Most companies will let you know what to expect when they invite you to meet with them, but if they don't make sure you give them a call or send an email to ask a little more. Not only will this provide some reassurance for you to know what will be involved, but you can also prepare more effectively.

The details provided might be a little vague (you might be told there will be a 'group exercise' or 'written test') and there is no harm in asking for a little more information, but be prepared that you might be told to 'wait and see'. This isn't meant to be ominous, simply that the exercise will be designed to see how you react in 'real life', rather than have time to prepare.

Check where you are going

A company may well have multiple offices (as we do) so make sure you double check the address provided. If you aren't sure of the exact location, it might be worth doing a 'dry run' (take a trip to the address to make sure you know where you are going in advance). Not only will this make your journey on the day less stressful, you will also be made aware of any potential hiccups (roadworks, engineering works etc) in advance.

Even if you can't do a dry run, make sure you check for these potential travel issues and definitely leave yourself plenty of time to arrive (big tip - factor in rush hour)

Do your research

At the very least you should have looked on the company website before attending an interview or selection event. There is nothing worse than being stumped by the very first question, which inevitably will be something along the lines of 'So what do you know about us?'

Check out the company's social media in the days/weeks leading up to your meeting. This is the best place for up to date news and you can really impress people knowing more than just the basics. Social media content will definitely include latest business updates but will also probably have more about what the company is all about and will show the ‘softer side’ including the social life and responsible business activities.

Remember, companies often have more than one account on social media so make sure you follow them all.

The night before...

The nerves are probably kicking in at this point (and that's perfectly normal). Do your revision on the research you have done but don’t get yourself into a panic. Make sure you relax, perhaps think about your outfit and make sure everything is clean and presentable (shine those shoes).

On the subject of clothes, have one last look on the website and make sure you are dressed appropriately. If everyone is in business attire, it's probably worth dressing up, but if the content is suggesting a more laid back approach you might want to emulate this style.

As a general rule, you should dress in business attire to attend an interview - it's amazing how putting a suit on can get you into the right mind set. And make sure your shoes are clean...

The morning...

You wake up well rested to a beautiful sunny morning... or you wake up having tossed and turned all night, fretting that the alarm won't go off and open the curtains to an impending thunderstorm. Both of these scenarios (and everything in between) are perfectly natural.

Stick to your normal routine as much as possible, this will make the morning seem less stressful.

Have breakfast. You do not want to faint from hunger.

Don’t overdo the perfume and keep jewellery, hair styles and make up uncomplicated (again you don't want the added stress)

Prepare for the great British weather, check the forecast. If it does look like a monsoon is rolling in dress accordingly (umbrellas and waterproofs are a necessity sometimes) and prepare for possible additional traffic.

If you do get caught in a downpour en route, don't panic – just take some time to sort yourself out when you arrive (you will be there 10 minutes early after all) it will be a talking point at the very least.

But above all… be yourself

Companies do not design their interviews or selection events to trip you up. We want to get to know you and give you the opportunity to get to know us. It really is that simple.

For more information on our apprenticeship scheme, visit our apprenticeship page.

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