Preparing For an Interview
The process of an interview varies for every job. Following the initial application process, some employers prefer screening applicants further by inviting them to take a test online or physically, have a chat on the phone or even prepare a case study before coming in to have a face-to-face interview.
These steps are equally important in impressing prospective employers and landing your dream job. If you have been invited to interview it means you have passed the first test stage, your application must have put you in an impressive light. Now you need to plan for the interview to make sure you are successful at that stage.
Know that no matter how it turns out, do not look back and wish you had done something better or been more prepared.
Here are some helpful tips that may give you successfully outcome in overcoming the hurdles of attending an interview. Some things you may find obvious, but these are the things we forget most times.
Knowing your needs in preparation can be difficult. To ease your mind, try to put down a checklist of things to consider. For example:
- Find the address
- Research the company
- Look up your role
- Think and research some potential questions the interviewer may ask
- Prepare some potential questions you could ask at the end of the interview
Your preparation for an interview is a key process and may be the difference between your success and failure. Good preparation not only gives you an insight into the organisation, it will also build your confidence. And being real, no-one likes surprises.
So, what specific preparation should you carry out?
You are expected to have a good grasp of what their organisation does, who their customers are, how big it is, how their branches are divided up and who their main competitors are. With these facts under your belt, you will be able to hold a meaningful conversation about the company and put any details you acquired ahead of the interview into context. Showing that you have done some independent research on the company also shows that you really want the role.
You need to ensure you understand the job description fully and know how it fits into the overall structure of the company. If you have any queries about it then try to raise them before the interview or be prepared to bring them up as you go along. Ask yourself, what are the key skills for the job and think of examples which enable you to demonstrate those skills.
Make sure you find out what format the interview will take. There can be a combination of standard interviews and role-specific tests (such as role play on a particular situation or psychometric questionnaires).
You should also find out who your interviewer(s) will be and their roles within the organisation. You can look up the company website, or try finding them on LinkedIn.
You cannot predict every question that you will encounter, so approach the interview with some of important points about yourself that you want the interviewer to know.
For example, if you apply for a job as a Sales Representative, you might want to list the products you have sold before, types of customers (by industry, age, etc.), languages spoken, personal experience in that industry and related knowledge from your studies.
Prior to the interview
Get everything ready for the interview so that the following day you can just grab your things and go. This includes what you will be wearing, your Resume, and a means of getting to the location of the interview is arranged.
If you are not sure how to get there, try and make the journey the day before (if possible). Being late because you missed your way does not send out a great first impression and it will not help your stress levels.
Remember to take important information with you. Taking a package containing your Resume, Cover letter, examples of your work and any certificates of merit or qualification is very important. Even if some of these things are not needed during your interview, you will not only be prepared, you will look prepared too. They are a great point of reference when demonstrating a point, which is if you get stuck.
Take good care to dress the part, most of the time smart business dress will be appropriate. On some rare occasions, smart casual may be appropriate but ensure you are on the more formal side. Lastly, make sure you are punctual; try to arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled interview time. If you are going to be late for any reason then make sure you inform the interviewer as early as possible.