Before you can effectively prepare for an interview, you must have a clear understanding of the job description and the skills required to do the job.
It’s important to remember that interviewing is a two-way process. Not only are you trying to determine if the company and position are right for you, but employers are making their own determinations about whether you are the right fit for their organisation.
The key to acing your next interview is preparation. Below, we have compiled some tips from our consultants to help you better prepare for a face-to-face interview.
Do Your Research
Research is crucial to your success at an interview. Make sure you research the company you are interviewing for, including the people who will interview you. You could also review their website and social media to get a feel for the company culture and the people working there.
Although looking at a company’s website is beneficial, make sure you go one step further. For example, look the company up on Google and see what comes up.
During your research, take note of interesting facts about the company, their product(s), key players, and the industry. This will show you are genuinely interested in the business and working there.
Check Your Travel
Before attending your interview, take the time to check how to get to the location, for example, the company headquarters.
Check the TFL website, train times, and travel time and make suitable arrangements so that you aren’t caught off guard by planned line closures or other issues which could cause you to be late for your interview.
Lewis Allen, Senior Consultant, Project Manager shared that:“when my candidates are preparing for an interview, my number one tip is: Look the part and do your research on who you will be meeting on the day. It shows real commitment to the opportunity. Check the profiles of the Directors you will be meeting, it sets a good first impression that you are interested/want the job”.
Be Early, but Not Too Early
You want to arrive at your interview early to show you are eager and care about being punctual. However, you don’t want to show up too early. Ten to fifteen minutes early is okay, but any earlier could demonstrate that you are not good with managing your time.
If you do get to the location thirty minutes before the interview, for example, go and grab a coffee or have a walk around the area. Checking your travel beforehand will benefit you here.
Study the Job Description
In addition to researching the company, it’s also essential to thoroughly read through the job description and familiarise yourself with the main elements of the position you are applying for.
The next step is to prepare stories that showcase your experience in each element. As storytelling is a potent tool during an interview, you could compile short stories about your past experiences and important accomplishments that emphasise how you provided value to your past employers and, by extension, how you will add similar value to the new company.
Know Your CV
Go over your CV and refresh your memory of your previous roles and duties. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have forgotten something from a few years back or remember a particular accomplishment once the interview is over.
Jack Ransom, Recruitment Consultant, Building Surveying, states:“when my candidates are prepping for an interview, I usually tell them to: Be confident and know your CV inside out. Look over multiple social media sources and update yourself on the company’s news/headlines. Look at the interviewers LinkedIn and review their employment history. Prepare lots of questions.”
Practise Answering Common Questions
Take time to prepare and practice clear responses for some common questions you might be asked at the interview.
You can almost always expect to hear questions such as:
- Tell me a bit about yourself?
- Why are you leaving your current role?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What are your goals for the future?
- What do you know about the company?
When answering questions, make sure to show your personality and uniqueness, but don’t forget to be professional at the same time. You want to come across as confident, knowledgeable, and determined, but not arrogant.
Prepare Questions for the Interviewer
At the end of the interview, you will likely be asked if you have any questions, so make sure you prepare anything you want to ask beforehand.
If you have completed research on the business and industry, you shouldn’t have any problems preparing roughly five questions that will show you are interested in the role and genuinely engaged.
Avoid asking very general questions or questions that have already been answered during the interview unless, of course, you have a follow-up question to clarify something. Otherwise, you may want to ask things like:
- What is the company culture like?
- What is your favourite thing about working here?
- How would my success be evaluated within the business?
- What are the most challenging aspects of the role?
- What have been some of the best moments of working here?
Tina Ledger, Recruitment Consultant, Human Resources tells her candidates:“try not to over-prepare, it can often make you quite anxious/nervous beforehand. But make sure you get a good understanding of the role, the company, and have key examples of your previous relevant experience/key selling points prepared. Most importantly let your personality shine through. They’re hiring a person, not a robot!”
Dress To Impress
First of all, make sure you put your outfit together the day before the interview. After all, you don’t want to be scrambling around trying to figure out what to wear in the morning.
However, before you start preparing your outfit, take some time to find out what the company dress code is. You can clarify this with your recruitment consultant or hiring manager.
If you are interviewing for a company where the dress code is casual, you don’t want to turn up wearing a three-piece suit. The same goes for a company with a smart dress code – turning up in jeans and a t-shirt will send the wrong message.
Whatever the case, you always want to look presentable from top to bottom. Remember, first impressions count!
Be Conscious of What You Do the Night Before
Make sure you get enough rest the day before your interview. The last thing you want is to turn up looking exhausted, blerrie-eyed, smelling of alcohol and cigarettes.
There will be plenty of other times for you to have late-night Netflix sessions or drinks with your friends. The night before your interview should not be it.
When it comes to face-to-face interviews, preparation is key. If you spend extra time preparing for your interview, you’ll be able to provide the best answers and impress any hiring manager.
Understanding the company you are hoping to work for and what they are looking for in applicants will also give you a huge advantage during the interviewing process.