Preparing for your interview
If you have an interview date and time arranged, congratulations! Your CV has done what it needed to do, it’s got you through the door. Now you need to make sure that you are ready to show the interviewer that you are as good or even better than how you came across on paper, as well as being ready to learn all you need to, to make sure that this is the right move for you too.
Two things to mention now:
- You want to do all your preparation, so that you’re ready to answer any question the interviewers throw at you, but you also want to come across naturally and not over-rehearsed. So, it’s a good idea to do your research and preparation as we discuss below, but to jot it down as bullet points, so you’ll be able to speak spontaneously when you’re giving your answers.
- Some people love talking about themselves and feel comfortable when ‘selling’ themselves; others cringe at the idea that they are boasting or talking about themselves too much. This can be one of the key reasons that people fail in interviews. You may need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and find the confidence to promote your skills and achievements. All you are doing is showing the interviewer that you have what is required to fulfil a role and do it well – if you have thought through this in advance, you are much more likely to be able to discuss these areas, and this is why preparation is so important.
Research the role and the company
It goes without saying that you will need to have a clear understanding of the job requirements. We will have discussed the job specification with you before in depth, but if you have any fundamental questions about it that we haven’t managed to cover, please ask us and we will get an answer for you – of course, some more specific questions may well be good to keep for the interview. Before the interview you will need to make sure that you have gone through the specification and that you have examples from your experience to talk about for each requirement in the specification – we recommend taking a copy to the interview with you in case you need to refer to it at any stage.
Make sure that you do your research on the company too – look at their website and social media to get a feel for them and their culture. Read their mission and value statements – what is it about this organisation that attracts you to them? Have a look into their competitors, as reference to them during an answer may make you stand out as a candidate. Take a look at your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile to gain a little more understanding about their background and where they might be coming from too.
Night before: It’s probably a good idea to get an early-ish night the night before your interview, and avoid anything that might give you a wobbly belly or a hangover. Do make sure the car has petrol/you know the bus times etc, and you know where you are going – maybe print a map if it’s a tricky journey. Pack the things that you are taking along with you:
- A copy of the job specification
- A copy of your CV
- A notebook with any questions you want to ask/things you want to remember to tell them
- Bottle of water? Etc etc.
Having these first two with you on the desk at the interview can help to make the interview feel more natural, and gives you something to do with your hands rather than twiddling your thumbs if that is sometimes an issue for you.
Day of the interview: Dress appropriately for the job that you are interviewing for – not every interview requires business dress, but make sure that you feel comfortable in whatever you choose, and that it is clean and fits you well.
This is where your research on the organisation will come in handy – is it a traditional company, do you want to come across as a dynamic, creative person, do they dress casually?
Make sure that you have turned your mobile phone off before you arrive and check where the loos are once you arrive in case you need a quick trip there. If you’re really nervous please remember that it’s completely normal, and it shows that you care about the role – some slow, deep breathing can really help here.
First impressions really do count, and if you have given some thought to your appearance, this will help. Remember that interviewers will often ask the receptionist about interviewees, so you need to think about this upon arrival, and how you come across.
And then remember to be you – smile and show them what you can bring to the role, have relatable examples to demonstrate your experience and remember that the interview is as much about you ‘selling’ your abilities to them as it is them convincing you that their company is the right place for you.
Finally – please give us a call after to let us now how it went and what you thought, always best when it’s still fresh in your mind.