How to prepare for a job interview

How to prepare for a job interview

Interviews for many can be very stressful, scary and panic inducing. There are however a number of techniques you can use to help you get ready for a job interview. It’s important to remember that when you’re shortlisted for a interview you’re already halfway there. A employer has looked at your skills on paper and feels that you have the capability to do the job, now all you need to do is talk the talk.

What sort of interviews are there?
Interviews do not come in one format. Depending on the kind of job you’re going for you might find a number of different interviews become open to you. These can include:

  • One to One interviews – one member from the company will interview you one to one. Sometimes this can be quite informal but remember you’re still being assessed. 
  • Telephone interviews – if a company is having to shortlist a lot of people a telephone interview is perfect for narrowing the selection down.
  • Video – video interviews are more common in roles like sales, media and marketing. You could be interviewed live on video software like Skype or Facetime or even submit a video on a video sharing site like Youtube.
  • Panel – panel interviews are often very formal and have more than one member of the organisation from different departments assessing you.
  • Group – a number of candidates are interviewed together and asked questions in turn. These are more common in call centre positions.
  • Assessment centres – if there’s a lot of people being interviewed assessments are great for showing who really has the skills to fulfill the job. They’ll also interview you during the assessment. 

Don’t forget to prepare!
Preparation is the key with any interview. If you don’t prepare you may end up getting flustered on the day and losing your cool which could result in you losing the chance of future employment. Remember to:

  • Research the kind of questions you’ll think you’ll be asked. There’s a lot of websites dedicated to this on Google
  • Have a look at the job description, breaking down the sort of skills they’re looking for and how your skillset applies
  • Employers like to see candidates asking them questions. Don’t forget to come up with a few suitable questions to ask
  • Research the organisations websites, their key aims, business plan and social media profiles. This way you can bring this research into your responses which will show you’ve researched the company. 
  • If you’ve had a issue with employment in the past like you’ve had a lot of temporary jobs, then consider how you’ll approach that as it’s likely the employer will ask why you’ve had so many short term positions.
  • Contact your references and let them know they may get a call from a potential employer

Combat your nerves!
Nerves can often play havoc with your stomach and can really hinder your performance. There are a number of things you can do to try and limit the nerves. Top tips can include:

  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. If you’re tired you’ll feel cranky and won’t perform to your full potential
  • Plan your journey and try to get there at least 15 minutes early. Anticipate if there will be traffic so you can take an alternative route.
  • Eat a good healthy breakfast so your belly doesn’t start gurgling halfway through your interview.
  • Don’t drink alcohol the night before as this can act as a depressant!
  • If you’re asked a difficult question try not to panic! Take a few deep breaths and give yourself time to think before answering the question.
  • Exercise before as this can burn off nervous energy and create feel good endorphins. No need to do a 5 mile run though!
  • Think happy thoughts and visualise that you’re completely in control
  • Remember the worst thing that can happen is that you won’t get the job. The only way is up.
  • Go to the toilet before your interview so you’re not crossing your legs the whole time!
  • If you’re still nervous try a little Bachs rescue remedy

Checklist
Part of preparation for your interview will also include writing a checklist for items you’ll need to take to your interview. Depending on where the interview is and the type of interview you might want to consider taking:

  • A drink like a bottle of water
  • A map to find the company. Google maps is great for finding places
  • Details of who you need to ask for at reception
  • Examples of your work if required, exam certificates and evidence of past successes
  • Pen and notepad (just in case you see anything you’ll want to remember later)
  • Money
  • Photo id
  • Job description and person specification to keep the job fresh in your mind
  • Your CV and interview invitation

Last things to remember
So you’ve done all your preparation and you’re now at the venue waiting for your interview to begin. It’s always important to make a good impression as this can leave a lasting memory in the employers mind. There are a few factors you can bear in mind to make a good impression:

  • Answers questions clearly and concisely
  • Ask relevant questions which will show employers you’re interested in the job
  • Don’t make bad remarks about previous employers as the company who are interviewing you may think you’ll say the same about them if you leave.
  • Be enthusiastic!
  • Don’t bring your personal life into it
  • Give a firm handshake before and after
  • Let your personality shine through
  • Relax and sit naturally without slouching. 
  • Display positive body language – smile regularly and maintain eye contact
  • Dress to suit the interview you’re having. If it’s formal wear a smart dress or suit. If it’s more casual like a media position then casual wear may be more suitable. 

I hope you find this useful in preparing for your interview. Do let me know how you got on and whether you got the job!

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