Now that you’ve made it through to the crucial job interview stage it’s now time to prepare. You should never go into an interview without any preparation at all – unless you want to fail!
The planning and preparation that went into your CV needs to carry on right through the whole process. You cannot afford to relax at this stage and assume all the hard work has been done.
Here are our 6 top tips on how you should prepare for a job interview.
Make yourself presentable
What you wear and how you look will be judged from the second you walk into the interview room. If you fail to make a professional impression with your appearance you could already be rejected in the mind of the employer.
Always dress accordingly. Some industries would demand that you get fully suited and booted, whilst others may take a more relaxed approach and accept smart but casual. You can’t really overdress for an interview, but you can still make a better choice if you are aware of what’s expected.
Polish your shoes, clean your teeth, eat a mint, iron your trousers and your shirt, and put your best smile on. Make a fantastic impression when you walk in the interview and you are already on your way to getting hired.
Practice your answers
Practice makes perfect! So why don’t you stage a mock interview with a friend or family member and give it a try. The only time you ever get to practice a job interview is when you’re in one, which is why everyone always needs more practice.
Choose a friend or someone that you trust who has some experience with interviews. Prepare some commonly asked interview questions in advance so that you are able to make it as real as possible. Try to take it seriously and practice as often as you can. The more authentic you make the interview feel the better prepared you’ll be when the real interview comes.
Read your CV
You are going to be asked questions about your background and what you have to offer the company. Typically the interviewer will have a copy of your CV in front of them, but take a few spare copies just in case. One for your self and whoever may need one in the interviewer – there could be up to three people.
Study your CV very closely and make sure you know every single word of it. You need to link your background and your skills to the new role as you will likely be asked how you can benefit the company. Have a few examples already memorised and refer to your CV if necessary. The employer is not only interested in the obvious skills and experience, and they are also looking for you to point out anything unique.
Research the role and the company
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” –Arthur Ashe
We would always advise researching the company even before you write your CV, but it’s even more important that you do it for the interview. You should know how the company functions and use that knowledge to help you with your answers.
Here are a few things you should find out before entering the interview:
- What the product or service is
- How they communicate with their customers
- More about the role – speak to an employee if possible
- Current advertising and marketing strategies
- The culture of the company
These are just a few of the core things you should research in advance. Don’t be the person that stares blankly at the wall when asked the most common question, ‘Do you know what we do?’ Wow them with your knowledge of the company and show them how much this means to you.
Find out the interview format
There are several styles of job interview.
If at all possible you should contact the manager and ask them what style of interview it will be. There are a few common interview formats which can be narrowed down to – panel, one on one, group, and Skype or video recording.
The one on one interview will always be with the person that would manage you. The panel interview will typically have 3 people – your soon to be manager (hopefully), a team member or assistant manager, and the HR manager. Group interviews can be a little tricky to figure out what’s going on as they come in all shapes and sizes. For example, you may find yourself in a room full of people who all take it in turns to sit with various managers from the company. Find out which format you’ll be entering into so you can prepare in advance.
Rehearse your journey
Being late for an interview means being last. An employer will not take you seriously if you’re late for the interview, so don’t be that guy either! There is always someone late for interviews and it’s the single most frustrating aspect for the employer. The employer will doubt that person’s interest in the role if they can’t make it on time.
So, to avoid a catastrophe you should plan your journey ahead and even make a few trips before. Using a map, a sat nav or your own knowledge of the area, rehearse your journey so you know exactly how long it takes and where to go. Find out which bus or train you need, or where to park. Run through the entire journey on the exact same day and time if you can so you know what kind of traffic to expect.
Aim to get to the interview about 15 minutes before – but you can of course wait outside the building if you’re super early (which is a good idea). Too early makes it a little awkward for the employer to know what to do with you for all that time. But you also don’t want to leave it until the last minute as this will not be classed as on time. The employer will take note of when you get there and assume that could be the time you think is right to turn up for work – it isn’t! 15 minutes before is just right.
Here are some more ideas on acing that job interview: