As you might imagine, we’re often asked for advice on how best to prepare for interviews. The truth is that there is no ‘secret’ to being good at interviews, but there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best possible chance of success. This, then is our ultimate guide to job interview preparation.
Review your CV
I know, of course, you know your CV inside and out, you wrote it! But try to look it at from a different angle, with the eyes of the business you are interviewing with. What was it that caught their eye? Your experience? Qualifications?
How does your listed experience match up with the job? What examples can you prepare of both the hard (technical) skills and soft (interpersonal) aspects of the role?
You need to show the interview panel that you are not only right for the role, but also right for the company. Gather as much information as you can, it’s all useful – have a look at the company website, press releases, social media and anything else you can find. Walking into an interview with a good overview of the company will give you confidence and your research might help you with point 3 below…
An interview is always a two way process. You are interviewing the business just as much as they are interviewing you. It’s imperative that you have some questions prepared to ask. It’s not uncommon for you to be judged on the questions you ask, so use them wisely! Not having any may put a question mark over your preparation, intelligence or worse, suggest that you have no independent thought process.
There are hundreds of questions you could ask, but try to keep them relevant and topical – what do you really want to know about the organisation? Avoid questions about salary, benefits or anything that has no relevance to the role or organisation.
Dress for success
It’s been said that first impressions last a lifetime, so make yours a good one! It doesn’t matter what the dress code in the company you’re interviewing is it’s always best to go smart . Remember it’s not just about clothes, consider your overall appearance. Keep your hair neat and polish your shoes!
Positive visualisation and reinforcement
This practice is common amongst athletes, both elite and those who do it for fun. Interviews are no different. Imagine yourself sitting in front of the hiring manager in a relaxed, calm and positive manner. If you do this often enough it will become a reality meaning you’ll be genuinely cool, calm and collected on the day.
Pack your bags!
The evening before, get all your stuff ready. Your outfit, directions, phone numbers, preparation notes, pad, paper, pen, a spare copy of your CV and anything extra that you have been asked to bring. This means you won’t be dashing madly about on the morning of your interview.
The night before… sleep well!
By this point you’ll be fully prepared. You’ve done your research, prepared your most stunning examples of your work, thought up some questions for the interview panel and your confidence is sky high after all the positive visualisations. The night before you should try and do something which will take your mind off of the interview. Exercise is normally the best thing. Before you go to bed, set an alarm (or 2!) and make sure you have plenty of time in the morning so you don’t need to rush.
You won’t get every job that you interview for, but that doesn’t mean that you are rubbish at your job or at interviews in general. Sometimes you won’t be right for the organisation or they won’t be right for you. However, you can increase your chances of success by making sure you are fully prepared.