It’s a simple fact that no one enjoys the rising sense of panic that sets in before an interview! When it comes to interviews, there’s nothing worse than being unprepared and leaving feeling like you have sold yourself short. When preparing for an interview organisation and inner confidence can make all the difference.
In this article we will look at some of the best things you can do to give your best possible interview.
Do your research - When it comes to pre-interview research you want to go deeper than a quick cursory glance at the company’s website. Knowledge is power so it makes sense to arm yourself with as much information about the company as possible before even setting foot in their building. Read news articles about the company and view their social media presence on platforms like LinkedIn and even Glassdoor for an honest opinion from current and past employees. The more you appear to know about the company the more impressed the recruiters will be so make sure you learn all you can about the company before your interview.
Prepare the task you have been set - Many recruiters will set you a task before the interview in order to ascertain your aptitude for the role. Take this as an opportunity to prove your diligence and take the task very seriously. If you have been given a presentation to prepare make sure you also prepare professional-looking slides and practise to a partner or friends beforehand. If you have not been given a task to prepare beforehand, have a think about what kind of task you might be given during the interview and make sure you are prepared.
Practise interview questions - The wonderful thing about the internet is that you can find a huge array of useful information - including common questions set by interviewers. The best way to practise interview questions is by asking a friend or partner to throw random mock interview questions at you to answer. This will enable you to start thinking about your answers and get yourself used to thinking on the spot. This will undoubtedly serve you in good stead for the real interview when it comes. Furthermore, if you know that the interview questions will take a certain format, for example, competency-based questions, make sure you take plenty of time to familiarise yourself with this interview format and practise impressive answers.
Plan what you will wear ahead of time - You may have to do a bit of research to find out about the company culture before deciding what to wear to your interview. For example, if you are going for an interview for an IT job at a new tech start-up where employees wear jeans every day you may look a touch overdressed in formal office clothing. Conversely, if you are going for a job at a conservative corporate firm you will want to err on the side of caution by presenting yourself as smartly as possible. If you are planning on wearing a suit to the interview, make sure it is newly pressed and dry cleaned. Take time to polish your shoes and attend to your appearance before the big day. There is nothing worse than finding on the day of an interview that your smart suit has a hole or is missing a button!
Nail down the details - While you should be taking time to prepare for the interview itself, nailing down the details around the interview is just as important. Make sure you check any correspondence you have been sent to make sure that you have the correct date and time. In terms of location, plan in advance how you will get there to ensure that you don’t run into transport difficulties on the day which could cause significant stress or even make you late for the interview. Moreover, it’s a good idea to bring a copy of your CV and any other documents and details that may be required such as ID and your National Insurance number.
Maintain a confident demeanour - Finally, make sure that you project confidence and a friendly manner during your interview. Greet your interviewer with a sincere smile and a warm handshake. If possible, make a positive comment about the company or building and engage in light small talk. For many employers, a personable attitude is just as important as your ability to do the job. If during your interview you are stuck for an answer to a tricky question you can say, “that’s a great question. I’ll need to think about that for a few minutes if that’s okay”. This may buy you some time to compose yourself and think of your answer. Finally, another way to show confidence during your interview is to ensure you have a question to ask at the end. Try not to focus on issues such as pay and holiday entitlement and instead ask general, positively-phrased questions about the company’s culture and what it is like to what there. Our article on common interview mistakes also provides some important guidance.