Apply for Couch to Coder 2024: Learn to code from scratch this summer

Applications for Couch to Coder 2024 are now open. Go from complete beginner to confident coder in just 5 weeks and learn the fundamentals of coding and software development. Plus, gain a certificate of completion for your CV and LinkedIn!

How to prepare on the day of your interview at BT

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

Welcome to our second part about how to prepare for an interview at BT. In our first blog we covered mindset preparation and interview techniques. In this post we’ll cover all aspects of the big day - from personal presentation, to the interview itself, to the best ways to follow up afterwards.

Planning ahead

Think through carefully in advance what you’re going to wear, and if it’s a corporate role consider wearing a suit. Certainly you’ll need to wear a smart, clean and ironed outfit. Even if it’s a more casual work environment dress on the smart side. Think about how you’ll wear your hair and, if you use it, your make-up. It’s the safe approach at interview to choose a more conservative look.

Start the day well - eat a healthy, energising breakfast, and don’t drink too much caffeine. Make sure you plan your journey carefully and add more time than you need to allow for possible transport delays. Arrive early, identify the interview location, and then spend the extra time in a nearby coffee shop reviewing your preparation.

All first impressions count

This is a formal professional situation and you’re being assessed throughout the process. Remember, the interviewers will check in with their colleagues to find out their impressions of you too. Make sure you’re polite to the staff at reception and any others you may interact with.

Whatever you do, don’t carry in a cup of your favourite take-away coffee -it’s far too casual an approach. Keep your phone in your bag or pocket while you’re waiting. You may be desperate to message a friend for moral support, but try to resist the urge.

Setting your mind and body for success

Just before you go into the room take a few deep breaths, relax the muscles of your face, and focus on centring your thoughts and emotions into a calm place.

If a handshake is offered, make sure yours is firm and confident, but don’t keep it going for too long. Be aware of the physical signs you’re giving off. Try not to fidget, and be aware of your posture. The simple physical act of sitting up straight can also help you shake off any nerves you may have.

Make appropriate levels of eye contact, but try not to overdo it as you could make the interviewer uncomfortable. By all means share a smile - it will help you to relax. But try not to stray into joke-telling territory. Humour can easily misfire, especially when you’re nervous. 

Use your preparation to good effect

Remember, the interviewer wants to meet you, not some fake version of yourself you think they might be interested in. Be your authentic self, and speak directly and with confidence. Interviews are as much an opportunity to show the employer that you would be a pleasant person to work with as they are to demonstrate skills and experience. They want to know you’re someone they and their team can get along with well on a day-to-day basis.

Consider your career goals and clearly define your reasons for wanting the job. Take time to consider your answers and respond thoughtfully, and keep your answers on-topic. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s better than faking it.

Subjects to avoid

There are some topics you should definitely avoid when it comes to interviews:

  • Talking negatively about others: Whether you’re speaking about former co-workers, employers or colleagues, negativity about others has no place in an interview.
  • Bringing up the subject of salary: Don’t talk about salary unless the interviewer brings it up.
  • Focusing on company benefits: The company may have an amazing benefits package but you don’t want to give the impression it’s the only reason you’re interested on the role.
  • Revealing unnecessary personal information: Don’t make unprofessional remarks or allow your tact to lapse. Remain diplomatic at all times and keep your language professional too.

Following up

If after the interview you’re still interested in the role then follow up via email within a day or two. Let them know it was nice to meet them, and that you’re interested in the role. Also mention if they have any questions they should feel free to get in touch. We hope you’ve found these tips useful - best of luck with your interview! Find out more about our current vacancies and what's on offer at BT.