How to prepare for a job interview

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Job interviews allow employers to assess which candidate is the most suitable fit for the role. At this stage, you’ve already impressed with your CV, so now is the chance to stand out from the competition.

For a successful and confident interview, it’s important to prepare effectively. Follow our top tips to help you show the best you.

 

 

Employer research

Interviewers commonly start by asking you to explain what their business does. This deceptively simple question can floor lots of candidates if they haven’t researched prior to the interview. Even if you have several interviews in a row, its important to have a firm grasp of the company to show you’re serious about the job.

Look at the company’s website and social media channels and make sure you have a full understanding of what the business offers, including its history, vision and mission.

Next, find out if the business has been in the news recently to ensure you’re up-to-date with topical issues. You should also identify its main competitors and understand what makes them different. Lastly, it’s important to take a look over the interviewers backgrounds and profiles, through either LinkedIn or asking your recruiter. It further demonstrates your interest and shows you’ve gone that extra mile in regards to preparation. After all, it is important to know the person you could be potentially working for.

Practise competency-based questions

Competency-based questions are useful for employers to distinguish between candidates and measure against key skills requirements such as interpersonal, leadership and problem-solving skills. Practising your responses out loud will help you to communicate your points clearly and succinctly and stop you from rambling at the interview.

The STAR response technique is an effective way to tell your own powerful story and connect with your interviewer. The tool allows you to set the scene with the situation you were up against, the task you had responsibility for to approach the challenge, the action or journey you took to overcome it and finally the result – what outcome did you achieve and what did you learn?

If you’re working with a recruitment consultant, make sure you ask for their advice too. As experts, they’ll know which competencies the employer is looking for and provide you with some typical example questions. The most important facet here is to have thoroughly thought of and prepared several key examples you’ll be able to demonstrate those competencies at interview. Ensuring these real-life working examples are both detailed and engaging. 

Prepare questions to ask

Stand out by preparing imaginative questions that help you set yourself ahead of  the competition. Interviewers are impressed by candidates with an enthusiastic attitude and a genuine interest in the scope of the role, for example the opportunities for progression, interaction with other teams or exposure to new projects and technologies.  Questions can also be asked to the interviewer on their personal experience working for the company, why they working there?  It is also an opportunity to refer back to their career on their LinkedIn profile if possible and ask questions on that, again this shows that you have taken time to do preparation outside of what you would normally do on the company.

Be sure to keep your questions professional and avoid questions around pay and benefits in your first interview, these can be discussed once you’ve been offered the job.

Learn your CV

Interviewers often ask questions directly related to your CV, so it’s important to memorise your employment history and key achievements so you can expand on these areas at the interview.

Spend some time mapping out how your skills and experience match the job description, so your interviewer sees that you’re the best fit for the role. It’s also wise to research your current and previous employers online so you can answer questions confidently. Along with having an answer for why you’re wanting to leave your current role and company.

Interviewers often ask questions directly related to your CV, so it’s important to memorise your employment history and key achievements so you can expand on these areas at the interview.

Presentations

Presentations are an increasingly common feature of the interview process for employers to gauge your strengths in key skills areas. Always keep in mind what it is the employer is looking for when you create your presentation.

Make sure it is well-structured and concise to allow time for follow-up questions. Aim for 4 to 5 slides for a 5 minute presentation or 7 to 8 for 10 minutes and use bullet points or visuals rather than lots of text that your audience can digest. Also make sure you don't have a PowerPoint that you simply read off, instead make sure you use key words to talk around the subject

Always rehearse thoroughly to make sure you feel confident with the content and keep to any time limit.

Setting aside half a day to prepare will mean you’re set to succeed when you walk through the interview door.

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