How to Prepare for an Interview
Congratulations on securing an interview! Now let’s make sure you give yourself the best chance of getting the job.
Acing an interview? It all comes down to good preparation. You probably already know about some of the tips below. But whether it’s your first interview or your fiftieth, it makes sense to go over the basics if you want to make the best impression.
Think about what makes you a great candidate
Your interview is your chance to sell yourself. Don’t hold back.
Certain questions come up in almost every interview - such as “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” Do your research and practice your answers. Out loud if possible. Think especially about your achievements as a person and a professional - those moments where you’ve shone.
Showing how your skills relate to the job role is sure to impress your interviewer. Anyone can say they are a “confident team player” or “can work well under pressure”. Think about how you can prove it - whether that’s through your work experience, previous employment or personal hobbies.
Research the role and the company you have applied for
Having a few facts up your sleeve will show you are keen to impress. It can be as simple as learning one or two basics about the history of the company. Or what the company stands for and believes in.
Most of the information you need will be on the company website. It’s also worth looking at what your employer is posting on social media. It will all come in handy when you are asked to explain why you want the job.
Please don’t answer with “because you need the money”. Big no no!
Remember that interviews are a two-way thing
It’s easy to get stressed out worrying about how to prepare for your interview. But interviews are two-way. The role has to be a nice fit for you too. Think about any information you’d like to know about the job - such as your responsibilities and opportunities for progression - and ask questions at the end of the interview.
Plan your journey
Obviously you need to know how to get to your interview and how long the journey will take. Turning up late or out of breath because you had to run the last half-mile isn’t going to set the best impression. It will knock you off your A-game too.
Save the address on your phone. Do a dry run of the journey a day or so before your interview if you are unsure. And try to find out ahead of time who to ask for when you get there. When it comes to interview day your arrival will be perfectly prepared - one less thing to worry about.
Dress to impress...
First impressions count in interviews. Dressing smartly will get things off to a winning start. Make sure your clothes are clean and crease-free and give your shoes a polish. Buy a shirt and tie if you have to. It doesn’t have to be expensive and will be money well spent if you land the job. Besides, looking sharp is a great confidence booster. Lay out your clothes ready the night before.
Have some food….
Human brains don’t work well on empty stomachs. Eating something healthy before your interview will fuel your mind and settle your nerves.
Aim to arrive 15 minutes early
It gives you time to compose yourself and acts as a buffer for any unexpected delays. Take a copy of the job description, person specification (if you have them) and your CV. (It shows you are prepared.) Finally, turn your phone off or switch it to silent. It’s show time.
Preparation over. Time to perform.
You are talking to humans, not evil robots. So listen carefully to questions, make eye contact, speak clearly and smile. Not sure what the question means? Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to explain. And when it’s all over, asking what the next steps are will show you are keen and prepared.
It’s worth remembering that your interviewer is not there to trip you up or wheedle out your negative points. They want to see the good in you, so let it shine. Be confident. Be proud. And above all, be yourself.
Over to you...!
It’s natural to feel a bit nervous before any interview. Taking time to prepare beforehand will settle your nerves and give you the best chance of landing the job. Always thank the interviewer for their time and follow up with an email expressing your interest and thanks.