Tips for a successful job interview

job interview

So you’ve secured a job aligning with your professional and personal skills, but you’re not sure how to actively prepare?

We’ve collated effective tips to display further confidence and aiding in a successful job interview.

How to prepare for a job interview

First impressions count

As the old saying goes, first impressions always count. An appropriate outfit should be considered dependent upon the particular sector the job role is in. It’s as inappropriate to turn up in complete formal attire for a creative startup role as it is to wear your dress-downs to a corporate office job interview. Go onto the website of the employer and check their recruitment photos and videos to get an idea of the attire and match it. If you immediately look like you fit in due to your clothing, you’ve ticked one box straight away.

If you’d like to wear makeup, it’s advised to wear lighter daytime makeup. By applying more neutral colours on your eyes and lips this will not distract away from anything you have to say. At the interview, it’s crucial to feel the best and put forward the most confident version of yourself. Act on whatever you feel would be appropriate for the particular role, and staying authentic.

Ensure to bring any documentation with you

If in your invite, it states to bring with you certain documents such as; passport or driver's license, have copies ready, as well as the original in-hand. This will display effective organisation skills and attention to detail upon reading briefs. Be sure to have these neatly organised within a folder, and not loose and stuffed within a large handbag.

If you are being recruited for a more creative or technical role, it could be a good idea to bring along a portfolio of your work. If you’re going to a front-end web developer interview for example, having a GitHub account to show your employer throughout the interview could be a way to really stand out from the crowd, and a chance to talk through previous projects.

Remember to relax

Most people find being interviewed a stressful and anxious experience. Whether you’re feeling nervous during the night, 15 minutes before, or actually in the interview, it is vital to relax. Relaxing can help your true persona to shine through, and your ability to answer interview questions and match your accomplishments will be more effective. Practising relaxation techniques, such as listening to calming music, deep breaths to the count of 10, and focusing on your posture, can all help to increase your confidence levels going into an interview. For a unique tip, before the interview look into a mirror and make yourself as big as possible in an almost bear-like pose. It’s proven to trick your brain into giving you a quick confidence boost. Just ensure to check the bathroom or lift is free before trying this method.

Show enthusiasm

During an interview, the employee hiring would be much more inclined to take a liking to an individual who is actually interested in the business itself. To show that you’re being observant, complement something about the organisation itself, or even the office, as this can be regarded as a huge bonus. This can also set an initial positive tone upon entering the interviewing room. Another way to display your enthusiasm is through your body language throughout the interview. Confidently keep your chest open, with shoulders slightly down and sit slightly forward to show your active engagement in the two-way conversation.

Ready with questions

As the interview draws to an end, it is more than likely that the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. This is the perfect opportunity to find out more about the company, job role, pay, or anything else not covered during the interview. Even if you personally do not need to know the specific answer, this again will show enthusiasm and present your willingness to learn more about the role. Questions could include the following;

  • What is the company culture and the vision?
  • What is the long-term vision for the company?
  • What does the typical work-week look like for a personal in this position?
  • What are the next stages in this interview process?
  • How does teamwork and collaboration work within this team?

After the Interview

As well as first impressions, last impressions also have a longstanding impact. Upon closing the interview be sure to firmly shake the interviewer’s hand, and thank them for their time. Soon after, or the evening of the interview, be sure to follow the interviewer up with an email again. This can again thank them for the opportunity, state how you’d be a great fit for the role and how you’ll look forward to hear from them soon.

Each aspect of this job interview help guide can aid in presenting the ‘true you’ to a potential employers. However, you secured this interview because the organisation is intrigued in finding out more you as a person, and how you would fit into the company. Be confident, on time and polite and the interview will go as well as it can do.

About the author

James Calder is chief executive of Distinct Recruitment, a recruitment agency based in Nottingham, UK, focusing on hiring across the following sectors; finance, human resources, procurement, supply chain, marketing, office support, and web technologies. James founded Distinct in 2014 and the business has now grown to almost 30 employees.

Technology Leadership featured

7 tips on being a technology leader: Bridge the skills gap to create diverse, high performing teams

Technology Leadership

Deborah O'Neill: Head of UK Digital and Partner at Oliver Wyman

This month marks my five-year anniversary of joining Oliver Wyman Digital, the business I now head up in the UK and Ireland.

When I think about career progression, mine has been like a level of Chucky Egg – there are long ladders, but also places to hop off and sidestep onto another route. In my case, this was moving from working exclusively with financial services companies for six years into helping businesses across all industries deliver technology transformations.

I started late in technology, but this has not hampered my move into such an exciting and growing sector. I’m now keen to show others – women, non-binary, BAME, LGBTQ+, or any combination of minorities - how they can develop into technology leadership positions.

Click here to read the full blog

Deborah will be speaking at our WeAreTechWomen Conference in London on 22nd November 2019. Our aim is to inspire attendees by delivering bitesize learning sessions for our audience. With the help of our amazing speakers and panellists, we will provide the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a broad range of technology topics as well as interact through panels, hands-on activities and workshops.

You can buy tickets for this event here.




Getting Started: 10 Networking Tips For Newbies On LinkedIn


LinkedIn is on a mission to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”, and 300 million users can’t be wrong. Don’t have an account? Don’t panic. Become one of two people creating an account every single second and network your way to professional success with these top 10 tips:

1. Put your best profile forward

Before you even think about sending invitations to connect, ensure your profile portrays you in the best possible light. Complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities, so whether it’s employment or customers you seek, polishing your profile is a worthwhile investment. And it should go without saying – no selfies! Keep your profile pic classy, lose the sunglasses, and smile like you mean it.

2. Get optimised

Optimising your profile using keywords relevant to your job title, industry and experience ensures you appear in searches and increases your chance of attracting new connections, but don’t go overboard; more keywords aren’t always better.

3. Search party

Use LinkedIn’s search function to find and add people with which you’ve had professional contact. As Ariella Coombs of CAREEREALISM points out, “Always, always, ALWAYS include a personalised message! People want to know who you are and why you’re reaching out to them before they hit the “Accept” button. To increase your chances of getting accepted, include a brief message stating who you are, how you found them, and why you’re reaching out”.

4. Maintain connections

LinkedIn Contacts is a feature allowing you to bring together your address books, emails and calendars in one central location. It alerts you to job changes and birthdays: the perfect excuse to reach out and send some salutations!

5. Pay it forward

LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to endorse your connections’ skills. Take a few minutes each time you log in to add endorsements and boost your contacts’ credibility, which will encourage them to return the favour. Similarly with LinkedIn recommendations, making the effort to write detailed, authentic testimonials for your connections will prompt them to do the same for you.

6. Get introduced

Stumbled upon a friend’s connection that you think you should strike up a mutually beneficial relationship with? Request an introduction using the Get Introduced feature, located in the drop down button on their profile header.

7. Back to school

LinkedIn’s University Pages allow you to connect with professional alumni that you may have collaborated with on uni projects and keep up to date with what old friends are doing now they’re all grown up.

8. Become a groupie

If you’re a seasoned user, chances are you’ve joined some LinkedIn Groups. They are a great way to network with likeminded folk whom you can invite to connect after initiating conversation. Resist the temptation to send invites willy-nilly. We recommend becoming an active and regular group contributor first through posting and interacting with users.

9. Start a conversation

Creating a status update is a simple and effective way to position yourself as an industry expert, promote a product feature, announce company news, and weigh in on newsworthy topics. If someone in your network appreciates your update and shares it with their following, you might pique the interest of a soon to be made connection.

10. Play the nice guy (or girl)

Step outside the mindset of monetising every relationship. If you see a job that’s perfect for one of your contacts, email it to them. You could even attend a launch event or fundraiser occasionally (yes, you’ll need to get off the couch for this one), but your efforts will be appreciated and remembered next time you decide to host an event or create a fundraising campaign.

 Author Bio

Kristy is a career advice blogger at advising you on everything from networking tips to career hacks and student tips. For more tips on finding a job, interview tips and networking check out our recent interview with the best career advice bloggers in 2014.

Women traders taking on the city


It is no secret that trading is a male dominated industry in the city of London. According to statistics, the percentage of women in trading jobs is as low as 30 per cent.
Women traders taking on the city
Image via Shutterstock

This could be as a result of a number of factors which are inherent in the workplace. There could be a certain stigma that it is difficult to fit into a male dominated environment.

In this article, we will go over some of the misconceptions there are about trading and the ways in which these misconceptions can be overcome. We will also run through some hints and tips that could help women as they prepare for trading interviews.

The misconceptions

One of the most common misconceptions of trading is that the workplace is filled with testosterone, screaming and numerous sexist comments. When most people think of trading floors they picture large open pits where the loudest prevails.

Many of the movies on the subject have not helped to dispel those misconceptions. Movies like the Wolf of Wall Street and the big short have fed this feeling of machoism.

This is far removed from reality. Today, most modern trading floors at large financial institutions have very strict workplace guidelines when it comes to interaction among colleagues and language.

They also have detailed sexual harassment policies that make sure that female traders can feel welcome in the workplace even though it is mostly male dominated.

Women can and should comfortable working on a trading floor without the fear of any sort of untoward comments or the possibility of feeling left out from general office conversations.

Another common misconception that women have when it comes to trading is that there are only certain types of university degrees which apply to trading jobs. They think that only mathematicians or finance majors are able to succeed in the trading world.

This is not true. Although some types of trading and quantitative analysis do require a background in a technical STEM major, the vast number of trading jobs require an understanding of basic math as well as a willingness to learn.

In fact, a number of trading jobs are more about practicality than theory. Many trading floors require some retraining and they find that people who have not got a background in trading can be more malleable. This is where some women can indeed stand out.

How to get a trading interview

Although trading is now a career path that is more open for women, they still have to prepare themselves for the industry by making numerous applications as well as making the most of trading education.

There are a number of online portals that have the latest information on financial service jobs in the industry. These also have up to date resources that can be used in interview preparation.

Of course, having an up to date CV with your latest qualifications is essential, but one of the most important things to have before you start applying for trading jobs is a motivational letter.

This is where you can take the opportunity to let the recruiters or HR know why you, as a strong and motivated woman, are interested in working on a trading floor. Perhaps you can include a section in the letter of how you would like to break the misconceptions of women in trading that we talked about above.

How to succeed in the interview

If you are lucky enough to get an interview, then your time has really come to shine. You need to make sure that you have all of the finer details of your CV and motivational letter ironed out. You are most likely to get questions on these so you will need to have your answers stacked up. These are, after all, answers that you can prepare for.

There are also a range of other stock questions that you can prepare for and most of these fall under the guise of "motivational" questions. When it comes to the more technical trading related questions, then you need to take the time to study the online portals and understand the basics of the job.

These could take a number of different forms and could be brain teasers, judgement questions or more general in nature. The most important thing to do in this case is to know when to admit that you don’t know something. Equally important however, is attempting to answer the question by clearly stating your assumptions.

For example, you may get a question on equity pairs trading of two companies. You may not know what the companies do but you have a fair idea of what a pairs trade involves from the research that you did. You could then admit to the researcher that you have never heard of the particular companies. You could ask them for more of an overview so that you could most easily answer the question.

This is where most new interviewees get tripped up. They think that admitting that they don't know the answer to a question entirely is a sign of weakness. It is quite the opposite in fact. New traders are encouraged to speak out if they do not know something. This is because being cavalier about not knowing something is a sure way to lose a lot of money on the trading floor.

Trading also requires someone to be calm under pressure. Hence, it is important to make sure that you appear calm and collected and don't get flustered when you are asked the questions. Perhaps practicing the interview beforehand can help calm your nerves prior.


It can always be daunting to make strides in an industry that is usually dominated by the opposite sex. Hence, trading has often been a challenging career path to embark for women new to the industry.

However, as we have shown, this is merely a fallacy and is indeed driven by a range of societal misconceptions. Not only are there successful female traders but they are often some of the best in the industry.

As with any other field in life, where male dominance once prevailed, it required strong and independent women to challenge the norm and break through certain stereotypes. Trading floors have become so much more female friendly that they are now a place for women to make massive strides.