Top tips for your in-person interview

January 2023 came screaming around the corner and I don’t know about you, but the New Year is always the time I find myself looking back on the last year or two and pondering… what has happened and how am I yet another year older?

It’s certainly been a challenging couple of years where we saw almost everything shift to virtual platforms – in-person events were cancelled; we were working from home, and we couldn’t meet people outside of our bubbles.

But, times are once again shifting and we’re finally starting to see more and more interviews taking place in person, so I thought it was a great time for a refresher and to give you some of our top tips for your next in-person interview.

  1. Dress to Impress

Gone are the days of wearing pyjamas underneath the desk and whilst you don’t need to be wearing a three-piece suit or your finest dinner gown to your interview, it’s always best to make an effort and dress formally. First impressions are lasting and can have a huge impact, so making the effort to wear a shirt or blouse can kick you off to a good start.

  1. Get there early

This should go without saying, but there will never be a time that it’s not in your favour to turn up a little early. Plan your route and give yourself ample time to get there, compensating for any potential delays (especially if you’re taking the tube). This is also similar to the above in that turning up a little early will not only strengthen your first impression, but this could also help calm your nerves. I used to find it helpful to find the entrance of where I was going before my interview and then take a moment to ground myself before entering. This can help calm your mind and nerves ultimately boosting your confidence – the last thing you want is to run late and turn up flustered.

  1. Take your preparation and prepare questions

Admit it, we all did it, post-it notes around your screen when interviewing? Preparation for your interview is key and just because you are now meeting them in person, it doesn’t mean you can’t take some of your prep work with you. Hiring managers always understand that interviews can be a little nerve-racking and if you would benefit from taking a notepad with notes to reference when answering questions, do. Also, write your questions for the panel down as this makes you look very organised and prepared. The key thing here is to not use your notepad as a script or distraction, it’s still very important to be open and make eye contact with the panel.

  1. Have a firm handshake

Yes, we are allowed to touch other humans again! A handshake is a key part of the first impression, make sure you have a firm handshake, not too hard and definitely not floppy.

  1. Know whom you are meeting

You should research whom you are going to be meeting on LinkedIn or the charity’s website. This helps you understand their background and can present the opportunity for some great questions. Have they only recently started working there? What attracted them to the charity? This will also make it feel like you’re meeting someone you know rather than a stranger and in turn, make the interview feel more personal and less daunting. Couple this with your research into the charity and the work they’re doing, and you’ll be invincible.

  1. If you are delivering a presentation ask if they want you to stand or remain sitting

Presentations are often a key part of the interview process, sharing screens can be easy and low pressure but delivering in-person to donors could be an essential part of your new role. They will be using this to see how you will represent their organisation so asking how they’d like it delivered could win you extra points.

  1. Be yourself

It’s a bit of a cliché but be yourself! We’ve been locked away for so long, so it’s great to finally relish the opportunity to meet people in person, see their office and witness first-hand what the team culture is like. Interviews can very often feel like you are going there to prove that you are the right person for the job (which you are) but they’re also a great opportunity to make sure it’s a good fit for you and so by being your authentic self, you’ll be able to see how well you would fit into the team. Remember, the panel want you to succeed and have invited you to interview.

  1. Consider taking a leave-behind

Do you have a particular proposal or piece of work that you are proud of? To make yourself stand out you could consider leaving this with your panel. It’s important to read the room on this one but might be the thing that clinches the role for you.

Now you are super clued up and ready to tackle your next in-person interview!