How to Prepare for an Interview
It’s probably fair to say that no one enjoys being interviewed. It’s an unavoidable part of the employment process however, and normally the final hurdle on the journey to your new job. Nerves are probably going to be your main concern, and if that wasn’t enough, there are more than just face to face interviews to think about these days.
Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to help make any upcoming interview as relatively stress free as possible. We’ve put together a complete list of everything you can do to help maximise your chances of success, whilst also keeping your nerves under control as much as possible. Use these tips alongside the advice found in our Ultimate Jobseeker Guide, and we’re sure you’ll find the job you’re after in no time.
Types of Interview
While the face to face interview is still by far the most preferred method, video and telephone interviews are quite prevalent too. A video interview could be the only practical option if you’re applying for a role abroad, and if you’re going for telephone based role, you can guarantee potential employers will want to know how you come across on the phone. Here are a few things to bear in mind for each one:
tend to be used quite early on in the process, and generally don’t last too long. You can expect to be asked about your last role and what responsibilities you might have had. They may also ask about salary expectations, and why you’re interested in the role you applied for.Overall, it won’t be that different to a face to face interview in terms of potential questions. Some people find these interviews a bit less stressful, thanks to the fact you only have to talk on the phone. That said, a phone interview alone is unlikely to net you the job, so you want to do as well as possible at this stage in order to secure a face to face interview.
Face to Face Interviews are the most common, and probably the most familiar form of interview for jobseekers. You’ll usually be interviewed by at least two company representatives (or more, depending on the nature of the role and type of company you’re applying to), at least one of whom will be directly involved in your department on a managerial level. They tend to last around an hour. This kind of interview will normally involve a conversation about the role and company, questions from the interview panel, and sometimes short tasks or tests.
Now you have a good idea of what each interview entails, here are four steps to help ensure you do the best you can:
Step 1: Do Your Research
The first step to a successful interview is making sure you fully understand the role you’ll be doing, the company you’ll be working for, and what they expect from a candidate. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel; The better you feel, the more confident you’ll come across.
Make sure you’re really familiar with the role you’ve applied for. It can be all too easy to fire off CVs every day and then forget the details of every specific job you put yourself forward for, so go over the description a few times to really get to know the position that’s available. You want to make sure you can clearly explain how your skills and experience fit with the role, why you want the job, and why it’s in the interest of a potential employer to get you on their team over someone else.
Questions for the Interviewers
Asking direct questions like: ‘What are the opportunities for progression within the role?’, or ‘What are the challenges the company currently faces?’ can show your interviewers you’re thinking about the long term and bigger picture. You don’t need to prepare a 100 question quiz of course, one or two should be enough to build rapport and start conversation.
The Interviewers Themselves
Step 2: Practice and Prepare
- As soon as you know your interview date, start doing your research (as above).
- Choose what you want to wear well in advance.
- Make sure everything you need to take with you is organised and ready to go. You might need things like ID, a copy of your CV, a notepad, and so on.
- Plan your journey and/or get any tickets you might need. Give yourself at least 15-30 minutes extra time.
- Eat and drink before you leave! You’ll need the energy and brainpower.
Step 3: Create a Positive Image
Once you’ve done your research, practiced, and prepared, the final thing to do is make sure you come across as your best version of yourself. Some of this comes down to appearance, and some to attitude and approach.
Dress to Impress
- Ask your interviewers or contact, and they’ll tell you what’s appropriate.
- Dress smart. You can never be overdressed for an interview – even if your interviewers are in casual clothes, you’ll be sending the message that you’re serious about the opportunity, and have taken the time and effort to look your best.
- Less stress, because you know you have some extra time if things go wrong.
- More time to relax before the interview, and compose your thoughts.
- A chance to observe the company culture before you get interviewed (in most cases).
- Sends a message of professionalism to your interviewers.
- Always maintain eye contact. This can be difficult if you’re naturally a bit shy, but make an effort to look your interviewers in the eyes when you ask and answer questions.
- Don’t rush into answers. Be seen as decisive and confident by taking your time and answering any questions as clearly as possible. It’s also fine to ask for a question to be repeated if you don’t understand it. Try to avoid excessive hesitation too.
- Sit upright and look alert. Slouching or leaning on the table is likely to send the wrong message to your interviewers.
- Be positive. It might be tempting, but don’t go off on a tirade about how terrible your last manager was, or how much you hated your last job. Instead, use positive language and responses like: ‘I’ve enjoyed my time at X company, and gained some valuable skills, which I now want to expand on further in a more challenging role.’.
Step 4: Ask for Feedback
Whatever happens after the interview, make sure to ask the recruiter or employer for some feedback. If you didn’t get the job, find out what areas they thought you might have been lacking in. Was it your experience? Did you come across in a certain way during the interview? This feedback can be invaluable, because it can help you identify problem areas and address them before your next interview. It also helps to put a more positive spin on a rejection, because it gives you an opportunity to improve. This in turn gets you one step closer to being successful next time.
Positive feedback is useful too of course, because it can help you identify your strengths. In turn you’ll get an idea of which areas you should focus on improving in order to really nail any future interviews.
So there you have it. Do your best to follow the steps above, and you’ll be as ready as you can for any upcoming interview. With that in mind, now’s the perfect time to register with us, and get out there to find your ideal role