Job Interview Preparation Advice
James, November 13, 2012
Here are a few tips on preparing for that all important job interview.
When you go for a job interview, you can gain confidence from the fact that you know your initial application and CV have already met with approval. Perhaps you used some of our CV tips in the creation of our knock-out CV! Regardless, your potential employers are interested in you, so now you have to turn that interest into a firm sale, because, make no mistake, that’s what you are doing; you are selling yourself to get a job.
Any successful sale is the result of the seller knowing all about the product and the customer. Here, the product is you and the customer is the organisation to which you've applied. What you have to do is prepare thoroughly so that you not only find out as much as possible about the organisation, but also about yourself. To do that, you need to give yourself plenty of research time. A quick Google search and a skim through your own CV the night before just won’t do.
Use all and any means open to you to find out about the organisation, its ethos, ethics and values. Don’t just limit yourself to the internet, but look in your nearest reference library, hunt out trade magazines and, if you know any, contact past and present employees.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll not only feel more confident at the interview, but will also be able to formulate interesting questions to ask that go way beyond anything that can be discovered by a quick browse of their company literature.
It’s also vital to consider what type of interview you’re attending and who'll be conducting it. While you still need all the information about the company, you also want to find out about the interviewers and the likely style of the meeting. An interview by a human resources manager is likely to be very different to one by the director of the department you’re applying to join.
Knowing the organisation is one thing, but you need to know yourself even better, so you can answer any question that may be directed towards you. Scrutinise your CV inside out and backwards, and think deeply about every point that’s on it, no matter how small. Flesh them out in your mind and, if necessary, make some additional notes. Ruthlessly assess your skills, both strengths and weaknesses, and think what action you can say you are planning to take to improve. Also, pay attention to your outside interests in the same manner. Companies prefer well rounded individuals who indulge in interesting activities.
Find time to practice your interview techniques with family and friends. Let them ask you all sorts of questions, other than the bulk standards, to help you really concentrate your mind. At the same time, pay attention to your body language and speaking voice.
On the night before the big day, be sure to get plenty of rest. As for the actual interview, pay particular attention to your personal grooming. Have your hair cut or styled a week before to give it time to settle, and prepare your interview suit in advance. Any accessories, such as perfume, should be kept to a minimum. Arrive at the interview about ten minutes early, which not only demonstrates your punctuality, but also doesn't leave too long for you to get nervous. Finally, keep baggage to a minimum. A smart briefcase should suffice to hold copies of your CV and any certificates you've been asked to take along.
For more information on what to wear to your interview have a look at the interview fashion section of our blog.
All that is left to say is if you have an interview, be confident and the very best of luck!