How to Prepare for a Job Interview

So you have applied for a job, if not several and have reached the next step in the recruitment process, having been offered an interview at the company you strive to work for. Congratulations! But remember you haven’t got the job yet, so effective preparation is key. The age old saying: ‘If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’ certainly comes into play.

When it comes to preparing for interviews, this is a task that takes time and can be a tedious process. However, it is essential to prepare to give yourself the best shot of getting the role, and to make your personality shine through, as well as making you stand out from the crowd. The following post shares some essential tips to effectively prepare for any future interviews, what to do during the interview and once the interview is over.

Prior To the Interview

Ensure You Work Around Your Other Commitments

  • It might not be the best of ideas to tell your current boss that you need time off to attend an interview, so ensure you book time off in advance. Do not call in sick as this can sever ties or lead to disciplinary action with your current company if they were to find out. When contacting your potential new employer, arrange a mutually convenient time, but give yourself enough time to prepare.

Practice Common Interview Questions.

  • Make use of online sources such as YouTube or perform a Google search to find common interview questions and good answers for them. Ensure you have plenty of examples at hand so you won’t be left stumped when you are asked any questions, in particular, difficult ones that are made to try to catch you off guard.
  • Do not use the same example more than once as this can backfire and show that you have not prepared effectively.

Research the Company and the Role Itself.

  • Perform some research on the company you are applying for, know their locations, departments, who their competitors are, as well as trying to find out their future plans, and recent news regarding the company that may have appeared in local newspapers etc. This will really pay off and shows you are keen, pro-active and highly interested in working for that particular company. The interviewer will know if you have done this so really do your research!
  • Get to know the job description like the back of your hand, and have examples that demonstrates your ability to perform the daily tasks required of the role, as well as the essential skills that are needed.
  • If the salary has not been stated, you will be asked your requirements, so try to do some research on the typical salary range for that particular role in the company, if not a similar role in another company. Use websites such as Glassdooror Indeed in order to find out this information.

On the Day

Dress To Impress.

  • Ensure you make an extra effort, and show that you take care in your appearance, this will really pay off as it shows you will represent their company professionally by conforming to their dress code. Don’t overdo it though, this is not the time to wear your favourite tuxedo!

Be On Time.

  • Ensure you plan in advance how you are getting to the interview, arrive in plenty of time, if you are early you can always go for a coffee somewhere and go over your notes.
  • Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to show you are a good timekeeper, and so the interview process runs smoothly and on time, they may have many other interviews to get through that day.

Show Enthusiasm.

  • Ensure positive body language, show your interest by maintaining eye contact and when answering questions, really let your personality shine through and make sure to smile!

Be Professional.

  • Don’t badmouth past or current employers, this will make you look bad. Also, back up any weaknesses you may have with a positive for example, you might come across as a shy character, but that is only because you like to assess the information you have been presented with and pay attention to detail.

Ask Questions.

  • An interview is not only the employer assessing your suitability for the role and getting to know you, but also you finding out everything you want to know and seeing if the role is ideal for you.
  • Prepare a list of questions so you don’t walk out of the interview having not found out something you wanted to know. By asking questions, you can find out any information you wanted to know that perhaps you weren’t aware of, and it is useful to be smart by asking questions relevant to the company. This will show further just how interested you are in working for them. Perhaps don’t ask about the benefits such as holiday entitlement just yet though, unless they tell you first.

After The Interview

Take Notes.

  • As soon as you walk out of the interview, quickly write down any questions that they asked before you forget, especially any difficult ones you might have struggled with. This can help you to prepare if you don’t get offered the job, and you will be able to utilise this information in any future interviews you may have and continually improve your interview technique. Also take note of any information you might want to remember such as holiday entitlement, working hours and salary.

Be Patient.

  • Some employers might get back to you straight away, others may take a while longer depending on how many interviews have taken place, and how many candidates they have to assess. Be patient and get on with your daily life and don’t be waiting around for an email or phone call, you will drive yourself crazy through anxiousness. Keep yourself busy to pass the time and take your mind off whether or not you have got the job. When you receive the call, if you have got the job, congratulations! your efforts have truly paid off and you can give yourself a pat on the back, embarking on the latest chapter of your life. If not, don’t get yourself down, as this will make you fall off track going forward in your job search. Keep applying for jobs, this one just wasn’t meant to be, you will find your ideal role eventually through perseverance and determination.



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