Preparing for your job interview
Preparation can be the key to being successful in your job interview and there are a number of factors that should be considered when preparing for your job interview:
Leave plenty of time available for preparation. Don't do it the night before.
Work in a logical structure
Split your preparation into three areas - you, the company, and the interview.
- Understand how the role fits into the company.
- Be able to elaborate on every point on your CV.
- Pick out key points of your CV - specific achievements, education grades, team working etc.
- Print out your CV and re-read the contents
- If required, print out your references, and get copies of exam certificates and other qualifications
- At some point, they will need to check your identity, so taking your passport, driver’s license and a recent utility bill (plus work permit if required) will also show you’re prepared
- Take along a notepad and pen for your own personal notes
- Arrive at the interview or assessment in plenty of time, but no more than 10 or 15 minutes
- Looking the part in the interview is important, and you’ll need to look sharp, appropriate and comfortable. Don’t automatically assume that this will mean your best suit or dress, as you might want to fit their culture by dressing in their style. You could ask the dress code for the interview.
- First Impressions - Remember that you start making an impression on your prospective employer the moment you arrive at reception. Be courteous to the receptionist and any other staff you may meet prior to your interview. Their opinion of you is often sought and may even have some influence on the final selection.
Double check that your phone is turned off. Completely off!
- Research in detail about the company - search for recent news articles, look at their website, google them for any information on the web.
- If possible, visit a store, customer or supplier. E.g. if the company is a food manufacturer that supplies supermarkets, visit the supermarket and find their products.
- Company Research
- Find out as much information as possible about your prospective employer in advance
- Many now have websites which are packed with information
- Familiarise yourself with mission statements, past performance, future goals and current analyst ratings
- Always ask your consultant for their knowledge on the company in question. Take notes.
- Be aware that if your prospective employer does have a comprehensive website, you may seriously compromise your chances if it becomes apparent you have not taken time to research it.
- First impressions do count, and you’ve got only a few seconds for that initial positive impact
- A warm, firm handshake is important; combine this with a smile and eye contact
- Always be standing when you shake their hand
- Your posture should be upright with shoulders back - whether sitting or standing
- Eye contact remains important, and the rule is to give as much as you get, usually holding someone’s gaze for 4 – 5 seconds and then breaking off is appropriate in our culture.
- Listen carefully to the questions during the interview. If you don’t understand, then ask the interviewer to repeat or rephrase the question.
- Give positive examples from your experience to date but be concise
- Avoid one word answers
- Do your homework - practice and rehearse your answers
- Show your enthusiasm for the role, even if you have some reservations, as these can be discussed at a later stage
- Plan your route to the job interview location well in advance
- Prepare a list of answers to typical interview questions.
At the end of the interview, there are a few things still to do:
- Ask some questions! Ask 2 or 3 questions to show that you’ve done your research
- Ask what the next stage is and clarify feedback arrangements
- Thank the interviewer for their time and even that you’ve found it enjoyable
- Exit with a handshake and another warm smile
- Don’t forget to thank and say goodbye to the Receptionist or Security
- Stay in interview mode until you’re definitely out of range. So if they walk you to your car or the station, remain in interview mode. Don’t stand outside having a cigarette (however much you might feel like one!) or perform a wheel spin out of their car park