5 Essential Things You Need To Do For Your Interview
Preparation is key, make sure there’s nothing you can’t answer!
Right, you’ve got the interview so now what? This is the part of the job search where people start feeling nervous. “What if they ask me something i don’t know?” “I bet there are loads of people way more qualified than me.” Or “I am going to make a fool of myself.” Stop it! This is the little voice in your mind, also known as fear, that’ll completely take over if you let it. Always remember that you are called for an interview for a reason, not by accident. You have gotten this far because your application stood out and they think you’re a potential great fit for their company. A little tip I like to give to candidates before interview is to remember that this is an opportunity for them to see if the company is the right fit for them, not just the other way around. This gives you a greater sense of control and reinforces that you’re not going to be stuck in something you hate, rather you’re looking to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. With that being said, here’s a handy guide on How to Prepare for an Interview.
1. Research, Research and then Research some more
Yep, everything and anything. Research until you’re blue in the face! Analyse a company’s website and understand what their values are, mission statements, how they have evolved into the company they are today. A company is obviously quite proud of this information and the journey they have taken to get there so it’s only polite you’ve taken the time to understand this too. Look at where they’ve been mentioned in the news, achievements they have made, charities they have helped. This isn’t useless trivia that you may be able to drop into conversation, it’s information that will allow you to judge the culture of a company and to understand the type of person they think will be a good fit there.
It’s not just the overall company you need to research, make sure you know as much about the job you are applying for as possible. This means knowing every responsibility listed on the job spec and having relevant examples prepared on how you have coped with similar situations in the past. (For more on this, check out our guide on the STAR interview technique). Also check out LinkedIn to see if there’s anyone who was currently in the job or who previously worked in that position. Look at their skill set, previous jobs and and more information they might be able to give you about the role.
2. Dress to Impress
First Impressions really do count in an interview as you really don’t have that much time to correct anything as basic as turning up unprofessional. Looking sharp and polished not only let’s them know that you respect the company enough to dress up for the occasion, it also has the benefit of making you feel more confident in there. For more information on How to Dress at Interview check out this guide.
3. Confidence is Key
But just the right amount. People have a tendency to go one way or another as in they over sell or under sell themselves. It’s important to get the balance right. No one wants to work with someone who comes off as arrogant and at the same time they’re never going to know the entirety of your skill set if you’re afraid to show it off. Answer questions clearly and concisely, don’t waffle. Body language is important, don’t be afraid to gesture or use your hands to make a point. Maintain good eye contact with each person in the room and direct your answers primarily to the person who asked the question. Shake hands with everyone in the room as you enter and again as you leave. Don’t be afraid to smile and make the odd joke (appropriately). It may seem like it’s a lot to take in and keep in mind but practice makes perfect and at the end of the day you’re just giving them the chance to get to know the real you.
4. Question Time
It is essential to have questions prepared that you can ask them. This shows an interest in the company and position and also gives you a chance to demonstrate some of the information you’ve learnt about the company. Don’t be afraid to ask about how the role will develop over the coming years, about any large projects the company may be taking on, new product launches or markets for example. Phrase this along the lines of “I see that you recently bought a cloud based start up company, does this mean that y0u’ll be putting more of a focus into developing that area of the business going forward?” The start of this demonstrates the research you have undertaken, your understanding and your ability to see the company growing.
5. Follow Up
So many people leave out this part of the interview and think the process is over as you walk out of the room. It makes a real impression to email the people you met with to thank them again for their time, re-establish your enthusiasm about the position and to say you’re looking forward to hearing from them. This might go something like this:
Good Afternoon Angela & Robert,
I just wanted to drop you a quick email to thank you again for you time in meeting with me this morning. It was fantastic to learn more about the role and company. The up-and-coming projects you have coming up sound really exciting and are really going to raise the company’s profile. The role is one that i am really interested in and the culture of the company is one in which i could see myself in for a long time, helping to achieve the vision you set out for me today.
I’m really looking forward to hearing back from you and if there’s any more information you need from me, just shout!
Simple, effective and guaranteed to make you stand out!
If you master the above you’ve got the best chance of landing that job and with practice it really isn’t that hard. The biggest thing that most people seem to struggle with is Confidence. If you’ve really practiced but still feel nervous, then it may be worth looking at ‘Build job interview skills for confidence & career success’. This is a more in depth guide to developing your confidence and really learning how to prepare for an interview.