You have secured an interview, but now you are unsure how to prepare to optimise your chances of being successful and receiving an offer of employment. I advise candidates to approach each interview methodically, giving themselves ample time to undertake the required research and therefore feel more confident and relaxed. If you feel rushed and underprepared on the day, it will most likely have a negative impact on your performance.
Research the company
It is highly likely that the interviewer will ask you directly what you know about the company. Even if they don’t ask, understanding the company will allow you to contextualise your responses. Start with the company website, read the latest news topics, press releases, and review available finance reports. Take a look at the key individuals within the organisation and do a bit of research into their own professional background. If you are working with a recruiter, ask them to provide you with relevant information.
Research the role
Hopefully you have received a job spec which you should closely review and consider how your own skills and experiences match the job requirements. Be mindful of any gaps you might have between their requirements and your own skill set and be prepared to discuss how you might bridge those gaps.
Travel and outfit
Plan your route at least the day before the interview including an alternative route in case of traffic or public transport issues. Plan a suitable outfit and make sure it is washed and ironed so you are not worrying about that on the morning of the interview.
Get your beauty sleep
This is perhaps the most obvious piece of advice, but get a good night’s sleep. It would be a terrible idea to go on a pub crawl the night before an interview.
Note down questions
Asking a couple of questions at the end of an interview has become expected and may even contribute towards how you are evaluated. Asking questions is essential to ensure you gather all of the information you require in the event you are offered the role. My advice is to write the list of questions and briefly refer to them during the last part of the interview to ensure everything has been answered.
Consider what the interviewer might ask you and practice how you would answer the questions. You can find common interview questions online. It is useful to find somebody who would be willing to ask you the questions and provide you with feedback. Some people realise after this exercise that they have distracting verbal or physical habits such as making an ‘umming’ noise repeatedly when responding to questions or having an overly closed body posture.
In summary, there are a number of activities that should be done before attending an interview. Whilst this is an upfront investment of time, it will pay dividends in interview processes.
Peter Forshaw – Managing Director – Maxwell Stephens
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