How Do I Prepare For An Interview?January 04, 2018
This guide shows you how to prepare for any interview; from the day of the interview – to the moment you walk into the interview room.
A few days before the interview
- Understand the company and role
- If you want the interviewer to take you seriously as a candidate, you will need to have at least a basic understanding of what their organisation does.
- It will also help you to make your decision as to whether or not the role is right for you. The way to do this is to go onto their website. Their website will give you enough insight of what they offer, even by reading their blogs. There are no hard and fast rules on how long you should spend researching and revising this information, but just ensure that you can remember enough to speak confidently about the company on the day of the interview.
- Employers will not offer a job to someone who reaches interview stage and doesn’t seem to grasp the role – so make sure that you fully understand the job being offered. Familiarise yourself with the job description thoroughly and be sure to ask for one if you haven’t already received it. If the job specifically is missing any information that you need, speak to the recruiter and ask them to fill in the gaps for you.
Know why you are a good fit for the role
Look at each requirement on the job description and make notes on how you meet them with your skills and experience. Doing this should prepare you for most questions the interviewer asks you around your suitability. You just need to match your skills and knowledge up to the job responsibilities.
Know your weaknesses
You know your strengths, but it’s important to know your weaknesses – as interviewers will usually ask you about them. The idea is to recognise your weaknesses and have a plan. You may be applying for a job where you tick most of the boxes except for one qualification. In case you are asked about this, you should have a rough answer prepared. Here is an example on the answer you may give: “Although I don’t have the qualification, I feel that my 5 years of experience has given me the knowledge to deal with any situation in this area.” Knowing your weaknesses like this will reassure the interviewer that it will not stop you from doing a good job. Showing that you are looking to improve your skills in that area with training or study will also get you some brownie points too.
Whether you’re driving or taking public transport, learn your route and even a backup alternative in case of travel disruptions. Essentially, do whatever you can to avoid being late. If you are not familiar with the area of the building, it may be worth making a practice journey if you have the time – it will alleviate some of the pressure on the day.
Prepare anything you will need to take
You’ll need to take a few interview essentials with you on the day along with anything you’ve been asked to bring specifically by the employer.
What you need to take:
- Multiple copies of your Resume to ensure you have a copy for everyone you meet – print them off nice and early to avoid any printer mishap issues
- A pen and pad to take notes
- Some prepared questions
- The job description (including your notes) – handy to revise on your journey
- The interview details (either saved to your phone or printed)
- Relevant certificates or anything the interviewer has asked you to bring specifically
- Examples of your work – If you are in a creative industry such as graphic design then you may have a portfolio of your work to take with you. Non creative professionals need to think outside the box a little and use things like sales figures, awards and client testimonials.
- A smart folder or bag to put everything in will help you to stay organised and look professional.
- You also need to make sure that anything you are planning to wear is clean and ready to wear
Practice common interview questions
- Why do you want this job?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Where would you see yourself in 5 years time?
You need to know how you will answer these questions in particular, well before you walk into the interview.
Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
There will likely be a point in the interview where you will be asked if you have any questions, so it’s good to have some prepared. Asking the right questions can make you appear keen and diligent, which will impress the interviewer.
- What opportunities are there for career progression?
- Do you offer training and development?
Avoid asking questions about holiday and lunch breaks at this stage, it’s a little too early to be asking for time off 🙂
- Prepare your outfit
To save any last minute panic on the morning of the interview, pick out what you are going to wear the night before. Work dress code has changed in recent times with many offices now promoting a more casual style, but when it comes to interview stage, it’s always a safe bet to go smart. For guys you can’t go wrong with a full suit and tie with a smart pair of polished shoes. For ladies, a smart skirt with a collared shirt and blazer will work.
- Go over your preparation
- So over the past few days you will have:
- Researched the company
- Studied the job and made notes on your suitability
- Noted how you will overcome your weaknesses
- Practiced some common interview questions
- Prepared some questions to ask the interviewer
So just spend about 30 minutes to an hour re-visiting all of your preparation to keep everything fresh in your mind for the big day.
- Pack your bag
Once you’ve finished up your preparation, pack your bag or folder with everything you need to take to the interview.
As I mentioned earlier, this includes:
- The job description (with your notes on)
- A few copies of your Resume
- A pen and pad
- Relevant qualifications
- Examples of your work if possible
- Questions you have prepared
- The interview details (if you’ve written them down as opposed to saving them on your phone)
With your things packed and outfit ready, you will save lots of valuable time in the morning and avoid any last minute worries.
Get a good night sleep
Spend some time relaxing before getting off to bed nice and early – you will function much better after a good night’s sleep. In fact most adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep to perform at their best.
Set a couple of alarms for the morning if you can – you don’t want to wake up late.
On the day of the interview
When the interview day arrives, there are only a few more things left to do in order to give yourself the best chance of success.
- When to arrive
- Aim to arrive in the area 30 minutes early. Allowing the chances of any traffic that may occur and to allow yourself to find parking.
- Beat the nerves
- Grab yourself a coffee. Then arrive 5-10 minutes early at the interview.
Hopefully this guide has given you everything you need to prepare for your upcoming interview. Essentially you just need to understand why you are the best candidate for the job, and present this case to the interviewer in a professional manner.
Wishing you all the best of luck. If you have read this and tried it, we would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in this blog post and we will respond to you.