Preparing for an Interview
Preparing for an interview is one of the most important phases in securing a new role, and the steps you take ahead of the day will likely be the difference between progressing to the next stage or returning to the job-hunt drawing board. If you have an upcoming interview for a role you’re excited about and want to give yourself the best chance of acing it, we have created a complete guide below to help you.
Types of Interview:
- Assessment Centres
Five Key Things to Consider Whilst Preparing:
- Be ready to tell the interviewer about yourself, what makes you right for the job, and why you’re interested in the role, the company and the industry
- Be as specific as possible here, linking aspects of the job spec and company to your own skills, traits, interests and experience. This will give credibility to your answers, and demonstrate that you have done your research
- Don’t be afraid to express your passion! It’s always refreshing for employers to interview candidates with a genuine enthusiasm for the job they’re applying for.
- Make a great impression, of course
- Be punctual, be positive & enthusiastic, practice good body language, and crucially…
- Be yourself! Remember, your interviewer will want to get to know the real you. They’re looking for someone who will fit in culturally, so likability is arguably just as important as skill and experience. By letting your personality and individuality shine through, you are much more likely to stand out from the competition and make a lasting impression.
- Research market salary
- … and consider what you’re willing to accept, on the off chance that this does come up.
- Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
- Asking questions is vital not only to find out if the company is right for you (you are interviewing them too, after all), but also to demonstrate your curiosity and enthusiasm for the role and the company. Consider the key things you want to find out from them, as well as less-common questions that are going to make an impression
- For example, you could ask what makes their best current employee stand out, or if there’s anything about you they’re unsure of that you can reassure them on.
- Be prepared for the worst by planning how you might navigate difficult interview questions
- These questions are often used to catch you off-guard and see how you operate under pressure, so anticipating and planning for them could put you a step ahead of the game
- Check out our guide on how to answer 5 notoriously tough interview questions: here
- If you don’t have the answer to a question, or if the interviewer asks if you have experience in something you don’t – honest is always the best policy. Instead of waffling and trying to answer anyway (an interviewer can smell a lie from a mile away), try gracefully admitting you don’t know/have the experience yet, while demonstrating your desire and ability to learn. You’re much more likely to score points for your honesty and sincerity, then coasting through on a lie only to be found out later on.
Familiarise yourself with the STAR Methodology, this interview technique gives you a straightforward format you can use to tell a story by laying out the Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
SITUATION: Providing context to the situation/scenario
TASK: What was the task at hand and what were you responsible for?
ACTION: What action was taken to complete the task?
RESULT: What was the result? How did the action impact the project (negatively/positively?)
One of the most important parts of preparing for an interview is in researching the company, the role and the people who will be interviewing you. This will demonstrate your passion and dedication to the opportunity, as well as your ability to prepare for important meetings.
- COMPANY: What sector? What challenges do they face? Who are their competitors? What are their core values? What major projects have they completed/clients have they worked with?
- ROLE: What is the position you are interviewing for? Who does it report in to? What are the key responsibilities? How does it match your skill set?
- INTERVIEW PANEL: Who is interviewing you? How long have they been in the company? What is their background? Have you viewed their LinkedIn profile/connected with them?
Revise your CV
While it may seem obvious, many candidates slip up in interviews simply by not knowing their own CV well enough. You will be asked questions on the experience and skills written on your resume, so ensuring you know it like the back of your hand will help you answer with ease, confidence and clarity.
Now, for the boring bit. To ensure you are calm and relaxed on the day, it’s highly important to be meticulously prepared, and ready for any obstacles that may come your way. Here are some ways you can risk-manage your day:
Pick out an appropriate outfit well in advance to avoid wasting time/stressing on the day.
You can’t go far wrong with a shirt, blazer and smart shoes.
For video interviews: minimise the risk of technical disruptions where possible.
Make sure the chosen platform is downloaded/running on your computer, the meeting link works, and your internet is running smoothly (by doing a speed test) before the day.
For in-person interviews: plan your journey in advance.
Ensure you know where you are going, which route you are taking, and how long it’s going to take (allowing extra time for journey delays!)
Come prepared with printed documents.
Print anything you’d like to bring with you (including a copy of your CV) the day before.
…and that’s a wrap!
Above all else, the most important thing to remember is to try to stay as calm as possible. The more relaxed you are, the more confident and conversational you will come across, and the more of your personality the interviewer will see. Often we put so much pressure on ourselves that our nerves get the better of us, particularly if it’s a job we really want.
Remember, you don’t have to perform perfectly in an interview in order to ace it / for them to love you. Take a deep breath and remind yourself… it’s just a job. The worst that can happen is you don’t get it, in which case there will be plenty of others. Often the jobs we don’t get weren’t right for us in the first place, and what feels like a huge setback at the time leads to us landing a fantastic opportunity that’s an even better fit.