How to prepare for an interview
25th Jan 2018
Preparing for an interview may sound simple; research the company and dress appropriately, however, there is a lot more to think about than that.
Here are 15 basic interview preparation tips comprised from experienced recruiters to ensure you’re fully prepared for your interview.
1. Get plenty of sleep the night before
This could be a factor overlooked in the preparation for an interview; even difficult for some candidates to try and sleep if they’re worried about their interview. But, a company will be immediately put off a candidate who shows up looking tired and dishevelled looking.
Top tip: If you've practised your answers, completed a good amount of research about the company, you’ll feel more confidently, and you’ll sleep easier.
What to wear can really depend on the job and the company. Some prefer all candidates to ‘suit up’ while others prefer more casual attire, either way, make sure you find out beforehand.
Top tip: Try to wear minimal jewellery and cover tattoos if possible.
3. Eat well before you go in
Eating before an interview could be the last thing on your mind, you’re worried about getting there on time and ensure you don’t forget all the information you’ve researched. You need to save some time to eat food, it’s the necessary energy for you to perform at you best and it will keep you focused. If you are hungry it will distract you and hinder your performance, your stomach could even rumble in the silences during the interview!
This is impossible to control.
Top Tip: Arrive at the interview area half an hour beforehand, go to a local café for food to ensure you’re not rushing and you’ve had time to relax before you go in.
4. Practice good non-verbal communication
We say a lot before opening our mouths and often we aren’t even aware of what messages we are sharing. Some important non-verbal cues to give in an interview: giving a firm handshake, maintaining eye contact, sitting up straight and don’t slouch. These are all important non-verbal cues to look interested and engaged.
Top Tip: Set your hands on your lap to prevent fidgeting during an interview.
Obvious, yet sometimes difficult to do. Make sure you know where the interview is held, drive to the location a day before the scheduled time just to make sure you know where you are going and if there is somewhere for you to park.
Top tip: The morning of the interview, use Google maps to check if the traffic will be heavy in the area you’re travelling to. This will allow you to leave slightly earlier so you’re not late.
From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer is giving you information either directly or indirectly. If you are not hearing it, you are missing a major opportunity. Effective communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. You can let the interviewer know you’re listening through eye contact, smiling, head nodding or verbal confirmation.
Answer the question that has been asked and don’t ramble. Rambling is an indication of under-preparing, you don’t want to look like you’re backed into a wall. If you’re asked a question you can’t answer, take a minute to think, also, review our previous blog here on this topic.
8. Read the job description
Reading the job description is one of the most basic of preparation techniques, but it can be overlooked. Match your skills to the requirements and come up with real-life examples from your CV to back up your answers.
Top Tip: Use bullet points as guidelines and don’t write out your answers as they will sound rehearsed otherwise.
9. Research the company beforehand
Let the potential employer know that you are serious about joining them and that you are not just looking for any opportunity. A company wants to know that you’re interested in them, that’s why many interviewers ask, ‘Why do you want to work for us?’.
How do I research a company before an interview?
Review company websites, press releases and even look up the company on Glassdoor or other review sites.
Top Tip: Look up the interviewers on LinkedIn a few days before the interview, this will show the interviewers that you care and are interested in the company.
10. Prepare questions to ask
At the end of most interviews, the interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions?”. Asking questions demonstrates an interest in the company. It also gives you an opportunity to find out if this is the right role for you and also to ask if they have any concerns about your ability and fit for the role – this can you give you an opportunity to re-answer a question from the interview if you do not feel you covered it correctly.
Remember a Job interview is a two-way street, the company must want you and you must want the job in that company.
Top Tip: Ask questions which speculate what I’d be like if you’re in the role in question, such as ‘What tasks would I be doing on a daily basis?’.
11. Use appropriate language
Do not use slang or references to age, race, religion, politics or sexual orientation. Even in an informal setting, always present yourself in a professional manner, you’re still being monitored by the interviewer to see if you’re a good fit.
Top Tip: Any comments which could be considered offensive is unprofessional thus could cost you getting the job.
Attitude is a key part of the recruitment process and there can be a fine line between being confident and cocky. It is worse than being too reserved, it’s important to choose your words wisely and think about how you’re coming across.
13. Don't appear desperate
Remember the 3 C’s of interview preparation: cool, calm and confidence. You know you can do the job; make sure the interviewer believes you can too.
Top Tip: It’s often difficult to stay cool in an interview you really care about, try to build a rapport with the interviewer to find common ground. It will make you feel more relaxed thus taking your mind off the pressure of the interview.
14. DO NOT speak badly about your current company
Even if you are very unhappy, always look at the positives from your current job.
Top Tip: You will seem desperate and unprofessional. Just Don’t do It
15.The interview begins as soon as you arrive on site
As soon as you arrive on site for the interview, be polite and courteous to everyone you meet. This starts with the receptionist and goes all the way through to anyone else you meet pre- or post-interview. There are some horror stories of people being spotted parking in disabled space or the MD’s parking space, through to someone being rude to who they thought was the receptionist only to find they were actually the person interviewing them.
In conclusion, it’s easy to underestimate how much you must think about, but you need to prepare what to say and how to act in an interview thoroughly. Ensure you’re well prepared to give yourself the best chance at interview success and landing the job.
If you’re currently a job seeker looking for new opportunities in the market, please get in touch on 028 9091 8529 or send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
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