We’re confident that at some point during your years in education, you will have heard the phrase “Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail” by a flustered teacher trying to get thirty 16-year-olds ready for their final exams. We hate to say ‘they told you so,’ but, this nugget of advice is just as relevant in adult life in the process of applying for jobs and interview preparation.
Job interviews are daunting, regardless of your experience and confidence in your ability, everybody experiences a slight twinge of nerves or uncertainty at some point during the process. We’re here to let you know there is a way to combat some of these nerves and make sure you are the most confident you can be upon facing your prospective employers, and this is by thoroughly being fully prepared.
By preparing for a job interview, you prepare yourself for success. It increases your chances of being able to answer any complex questions that are thrown your way, and you will present your most impressive qualifications, work experiences and provide examples of successes that are relevant to that job description without overlooking key points due to nerves; all crucial if you want to ace the interview!
Now that we’ve briefly told you WHY preparation is important, we’re sure you’re wondering HOW to prepare for a job interview?
Interview Preparation Tips
Every candidate has their own unique ways in which they like to tackle interview preparation, and different techniques will work for different people. However, after working in the recruitment industry for many years and coming face-to-face with hiring managers and candidates every single day, we have a list of tricks that we believe to be the best ways to prepare for an interview:
Examine the Job Description
The first and foremost step on your mission to job interview success is to examine the job description and fully understand what you are applying for. You would be surprised how many people fail job interviews based on this basic spec.
If written correctly, the job description should outline the main responsibilities of the role, and the qualifications, education, qualities and background that the employer wants from potential candidates. Studying these key responsibilities and requirements will give you an insight into how qualified you are for the position, and allow you to align your existing experience to be the best possible suitor for the role.
Examining the job description will allow you to fully understand and vocalise WHY you want that specific job, why you believe you are the best candidate to fill the role and why employers should choose you over any other applicant – all of which are questions you will be asked.
Research the Company and the People
Equally as important as studying the job description is thorough and investigative company research. Highlighting your company knowledge throughout your interview will set you head and shoulders above your competition.
Regardless of the position you are applying for, you should have an understanding of the products or services offered by the company. You should also familiarise yourself with the company ethos and browse the company’s social media profiles and blogs to acquaint yourself with the company’s personality and if they match your values.
Carrying out a small bit of research on the head honchos of the company and those who are going to be interviewing you will add an extra star next to your name. You don’t need to delve deep but have some knowledge of their expertise, how long they have been in the industry and a few key achievements of theirs.
Practice Common Industry or Role Interview Questions
Attempting to predict every question that you are going to be asked in your interview is Mission Impossible. However, a bit of digging around the internet should give you a helping hand. There are a few broad questions that are asked across almost every interview, regardless of entry-level, industry and role, and then you will be asked many roles or industry-specific questions, which you should be able to gauge a few of them on the internet or on websites such as Glassdoor.
Choose Some Thought-Provoking or Impactful Questions to Ask (show your research)
Just as important as being able to answer questions, you should also ASK questions. Asking questions demonstrates your interest, shows you are keen to work for the company or for that role, and you will be able to show off that company research of yours!
Of course, now is the chance to ask anything at all that you want to know, but you should also try to include some thought-provoking questions about the role or the progression of the company to show you have really thought about the position.
Interview Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect, as they say, and this is no different with interviews. If you can, try to recruit some of your friends and family to conduct a mock interview with you, asking you as many questions as possible. To make the exercise true to life, you should ask your friend or relative to choose a few questions of their own to see how you act on the spot and if you can think on your feet, just as you may be expected to do in the real job interview.
Dress to Impress
This might seem minor to some, but first impressions count so you want to make sure you look interview ready on the surface as well. The night before your interview, you should pick out an outfit, try it on and make sure you are happy. The last thing you want to happen on the morning of your interview is to stress about an outfit or discover that your favourite blouse has a stain on the front, your full focus on the morning of your interview should be reading your notes and making sure you answer any questions with confidence.
Dress codes vary hugely between industries, but it is always better to be too smart than too casual, so be sure to make an extra bit of effort for your interview day. You might be advised on a dress code prior to your interview, but if you are unsure, business attire is the safest bet.