Sufficiently preparing for an interview is often one of the most overlooked yet most important elements to giving job seekers the best chance at success during any interview process.
Here we discuss a few key pointers that can be used at any stage of an interview process. Some of these things will be self-explanatory and obvious to some people, but if we start with the basics it really can set the tone and foundation for future interview success.
The perfect date for any interview is the earliest date that gives you sufficient time to prepare. Organise it too soon and you might not be able to do all your research, organise it too late and you run the risk of not looking as interested as other applicants.
If possible pick the best time that works for you, a time when you will be in the best possible frame of mind. If you’re not a morning person, then don’t choose an early morning time slot (there will always be other possibilities).
Very simple but confirm the exact location, plan your route and check for any transport disruptions.
4. Dress Code
Check the dress code with your recruiter or your contact at the hiring company. In recent times we see companies moving to a much more casual culture, the days of suits and ties are dying but always double check the dress code. It used to be common place that you would wear a suit and tie to an interview, but with a lot of company’s modern cultures, wearing a suit could make you come across too corporate and actually hinder your chances. Always ask – it can’t hurt.
5. Format of the interview
Informal coffee, competency based interview, full presentation and pitch, panel interview, assessment centre… Whatever the format, find out exactly what is expected of you and fully prepare accordingly
6. Research the interviewers
One of the most important aspects of preparing for an interview; research the interviewers. With so much information readily available, if you are not thoroughly researching the people interviewing you then you are making a fundamental mistake.
Check out their LinkedIn profiles, look at their work history, mutual connections you might have. Read recent blog posts and news releases, run a search for any other articles. Look on YouTube to search for videos, get an idea of how the interviewer will come across in person. Write down at least a couple of questions on their background. If you can ask the interviewer something about them that shows you have done your research, then you will automatically stand out from the crowd.
7. Why, specifically, are you interested in working for this company?
I’m assuming you’re already interested in working for this company, you have applied for a job and arranged an interview. But are you prepared to answer, “why do you want to work for us?”
It might seem obvious, but you need to give clear, concise reasons that show passion and resonate with the company’s culture. Do they have amazing products? Have they recently hired someone you admire? Have you heard good things about the company culture in your network? List 3 main points that you can easily explain during the interview.
8. Why, specifically, are you right for the role?
Read the job spec, remember what has already been discussed with you at prior stages or with your recruiter, start to create a shortlist of points as to why you are right for the role, be clear and concise when conveying these during the interview.
9. Speak to your recruiter or internal contact for any final tips or pointers!
A good recruiter, internal or external, should already have an excellent understanding of what determines success during the interview stages at the hiring company. Ask for pointers where previous applications have succeeded or failed, ask about the personalities of the interviewers and get as much information as possible.
10. Relax the night before
By this point you should have all the required preparation completed, so the night before don’t worry yourself with any further details, get a good night sleep, relax and look forward to the meeting.
11. Be yourself!
This sounds a little contrived but be yourself as much as possible during the interview process, let your personality come out and don’t change to try and be the person you think the interviewer wants you to be. If you are going to work for this company, you have to feel comfortable being yourself.