So, your CV and covering letter have impressed your potential employer, and they certainly haven’t been put off by your digital footprint – you’ve been invited for interview, congratulations! But there’s no time to celebrate because the hard work isn’t over just yet. Meeting your future employers face to face is your chance to show them your worth, so preparation is key.
Preparing for your interview will not only impress your potential employer, but also help to calm those pre-interview jitters and stop you going into your interview a nervous wreck, so we’ve put together some advice to help you be your best and go into your interview feeling confident and ready to go.
Even though you will have (or should have!) done your research on the company whilst writing your cover letter, the first step of preparing for interview is to thoroughly research the company you’re applying to. A lot of people make the mistake of focusing on themselves too much when it comes to interview prep, but employers will expect you to demonstrate more than just basic knowledge of the company.
By researching the employer’s website you’ll be able to find information such as the company’s ethos and mission statement, and by digging deeper on their blog, news pages and social media you’ll get a good insight into the type of business they are.
Try looking for newspaper / online articles to see if they have won any awards, sponsor any local sports teams or have been involved with any community projects. Information is power, and the more you know, the better prepared you’ll be when the interviewer inevitably asks a question about your knowledge of the company.
Once you have done your research on the company it’s time to prepare. Make notes of what you’ve learnt and use them to understand your prospective employer. See how your own personality, objectives, skills and knowledge match up with the company’s directive. You can use what you’ve learnt to come up with some questions. There will always be an opportunity given to you at the end of interview to ask questions, and having questions prepared will demonstrate to your interviewer that you’ve done your research. It’s advisable to ask questions about the company itself and also how your role will progress, as it shows that you’re thinking of a long-term career within the company.
Of course, you don’t want your answers during the interview to sound over-rehearsed, but it’s good to practise your own responses so that you don’t stutter during interview. Prep some mock up questions that will be likely to come up and get a friend or family member to interview you. Having something written down for your answer means you can practise and remember, making your speech more fluid in the actual interview and can help you feel more confident with what you are saying.
It’s always a good idea to plan your journey to your interview. Make sure you know where you need to be, how long it will take to get there and what bus or train you need to get if you are using public transport. Leave in good time and take into account any traffic or delays that might prevent you from arriving on time. It’s always good to be a little early, but not too early – 15 minutes before your interview is about right. If you are prone to getting anxiety about being on time – maybe leave early and stop for a coffee on the way. This will give you time to get your head together and will mean you won’t be rushing.
Ensure that you have your smartest suit / work wear clean, ironed and ready in advance. And don’t forget to smell as good as you look, it may sound obvious but poor personal hygiene is a BIG turn off for employers. Don’t go overboard with the perfume / aftershave though, an overpowering scent (good or bad) will impact your chances of progressing.
So, what are you waiting for? Start preparing for your interview now with the tips above to make sure you impress your interviewer and clinch the job of your dreams!
Looking for more tips on how to act during your interview? Check back next week as we cover which interview faux pas you should avoid but – if you’ve just started your job search, make sure to read our previous Career Advice Series instalments, where we uncovered the following:
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