How to smash a job interview

I recently did the first of what I expect to be many assessment days. For us finalists, the pressure of ‘life after uni’ is forefront in our minds. Some people decide to have a year out, go travelling, move home or most scary of all, get a ‘real’ job. If, like me, this is the first time entering the adult human world of work and play, your first job interviews are incredibly daunting. Have you researched the company sufficiently? Is this skirt too short? How am I going to find the offices? There are so many disasters waiting to happen, so preparation is key. I will hold my hands up and admit that I am a total ‘planner’ and ‘control freak’, therefore everything has to be done and sorted well beforehand. I can’t cope with the idea of ‘just finding a taxi’ once I get there. I’ve compiled a few practical tips (and some motivational images) to help us prospective graduates stay calm and collected as an interview approaches (do what I say not what I do).


The week before…

Work out exactly where the interview is. If the company have not provided an address then make sure you email and ask for one. I even suggest asking for directions or advice on the best way to get to their location. Get your head around the fact that this is not needy, you’re just demonstrating your organisational skills and communicating before even meeting your interviewer. If you’re travelling by car, is there parking and does the postcode take you directly to the address? It the site you are visiting really large, do you require any additional time to find you way around? If travelling by public transport, ensure that you leave enough time to account for any delays and make sure you know how to get to your destination from the train station/bus stop. If you need a taxi, you are best googling a local taxi firm and booking a cab in advance. Just take as much stress out of your journey as possible so you can arrive at the interview calm and put together.


The night before…

First of all, print off your CV and cover letter, as well as making yourself familiar with any assessment questions you had to answer. Research into the company and interview goes without saying, I’ll include some useful links at the bottom to help out with those type of things. Now is the time to make sure your outfit is clean and ironed, I like to hang mine up on a hanger and set out the rest of my clothes so it’s super easy to get ready in the morning. I like to have a big filling meal and an early night beforehand so give myself chance to chill and keep a level head. I would really suggest steering away from smelly food and alcohol just in case it comes back to haunt you the next day. I also like to prepare my breakfast the night before. Overnight oats is a staple and super easy, here’s the recipe I love to use. Overnight oats are easy to chuck in your bag with a bottle of water and there you have a healthy breakfast on the go.


The morning of…

Here’s a checklist of what I like to make sure I’ve got with me, then you’re already to jump to it and smash this interview:
– Phone (on nighttime mode once arrived at the interview)
– Cash and credit card
– Transport tickets
– Copy of my CV and cover letter
– Breakfast
– Water
– Pen and a notepad
– Earphones
– Snacks
– Directions and the address of the interview

And this wouldn’t be a ‘Tilly’ post with at least a small mention of makeup somewhere so…

I truly believe that you should wear what ever makeup that makes you feel comfortable, be it a completely bare face or a bright lip. You do you. You want to make sure that you feel totally comfortable in what you wear and feel like, so you can totally focussing on bossing the interview at hand. That being said, if you are wearing makeup and are in for a long day, I suggest a few steps to make sure your face stays fresh all day long:

Base prep
Now is probably not the best time to trial a new skincare routine. Stick to what you know and love. Trying a new moisturiser can wait for another day. I also really enjoy using a primer to add longevity to my base makeup. But keep it simple and effective. I don’t know about you but when I’m put in an uncomfortable situation, my neck is not so good at hiding my nerves and comes out in some very attractive, large, red blotches. I’m not normally one to wear my foundation all the way down my neck but in these situations I like to add a bit of coverage to this area. Or I wear a tube neck top – anything to hid those pesky blotches!

Setting spray
My personal favourite is the Urban Decay De-slick setting spray. I find that this really does lock in my face makeup and prevent me from being an oily puddle at the end of the day.

Lip colour
Whatever lip colour you decide, I would recommend finding a formula that either a) fades well b)is super longlasting. If you’ve decided on a bright colour, definitely line you lips before you apply the lipstick and do the finger trick to take away the risk of lipstick teeth.

Touch ups
I think it’s probably best to try and keep these to a minimum as your makeup will probably be the last thing on your mind. But, I know personally, having makeup in my bag is a little bit of a comfort blanket. I usually carry my pressed mineral foundation, a mac concealer, my lip colour and a lip balm. Just in case I need a moment to myself in the toilets to touch up and take a deep breath. If you get particularly oily, I would really recommend taking along some blotting sheets as well, just to be safe.

Here are some really useful websites…

There’s some very dated information on this website (ladies you’ll clock it) but their run-down of potential questions is very thorough and utterly useful, click here.

The Financial Times is a fantastic resource for researching your potential employer, click here.

The Student Room is also fab to search for a specific interview from a company. Users can post their experiences and tips on a forum, click here.



You can read all the advice pages you want, prepare all the examples you can think of, listen to advice from all sorts of people, but at the end of the day you need to go into that interview as you. Your potential employer not only wants to see what skills you can bring to the table, but also what type of person you are and how you will fit into their company. Go in there, relax, be yourself and smash it. And just remember, if you aren’t successful, you’re allowed to feel wounded but everything happens for a reason. Pick yourself up and move on to the next thing. And most of all GOOD LUCK.

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Cover image: @artsyalexx




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