Interview preparation is key to success.
Your phone rings. Your heart flutters. You glance down at the screen. You don’t recognise the number but it’s local. Your breath quickens. You answer it, and the chipper woman at the end of the line and says the words you’ve been longing to hear. The hiring managers loved your CV and want to invite you for an interview. Yes! And, just like that, your dream role is within reach. But what do you do next?
Preparing for an interview: leading up to the big day
When you have the date, time and place of your interview, it’s best to start preparing for it right away. After all, though interviews tend to last for an average of 40 minutes, 33 per cent of hiring managers say that they know whether someone is right for the role within the first 90 seconds. If you’re hoping to wow your interviewer in that short time frame, you need to do a little groundwork first.
Do your research
Before you apply for a role, you will likely do a little research into the company. However, when you make it to the interview stage of the process, things get more serious. Now is the time to take an in-depth look at the business and, specifically, what your position would entail. Put your detective hat on and get to work; spend an hour or two looking online to see what you can find out. The more you know, the more impressive you will be.
Review your CV
It goes without saying that everything you say in your interview needs to be true ‒ that’s a given. Unless you have a photographic memory, though, you probably don’t remember every single thing on your CV. You don’t want to be caught out, so make sure that you review your CV ahead of time. You want to be ready for anything the interviewer has to ask about the details you’ve provided there.
If you’re not managing and optimising your online personal brand, you may end up hurting your chances of succeeding at your next interview. There is a good chance your interviewer will run a search before the big day. What would they find? By Googling yourself, you can ensure that your online brand is consistent across your social media platforms, that your personal accounts are private and that there is nothing disqualifying attached to your name.
Practice the most common questions
While all interviews are different, there are some common questions that you can count on coming your way. For example, many interviewers will ask whether candidates are team players or why they are interested in the role. You may also have to answer behavioural questions, in which you will have to give examples of how you’ve dealt with previous obstacles. Having anecdotes at hand that illustrate your capability is key to succeeding here.
Prepare your own questions
At the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions regarding the role or company. You might think that saying ‘no’ shows that you’re an easy-going employee, but it doesn’t. Instead, it tells the interviewer that you have little interest in the job at hand. That’s not the impression you want to give. Prepare some questions about the role, what your day-to-day duties will be and the company. It will show the interviewer that you are engaged and invested in the role.
Plan your route
How are you going to get to your interview? If you drive, you should plan the route online and have a backup route should there be any roadworks or traffic accidents. If you’re taking public transport, you will need to check the quickest route by train or bus to your destination. Again, plan for every eventuality. Check if there are backup options or more than one bus or train route you can take.
Decide on an appropriate outfit
You may already have your favourite interview outfit. However, before you put it on, you need to consider if it’s appropriate for the role and company you desire. Pick an outfit that suits the culture, which you can likely discern from your research. It’s also worth having a backup outfit washed and ready too. Should you choose to wear a white shirt, a morning coffee spillage could be a complete disaster. Think ahead.
Interview tips for the day of
When the day of the interview rolls around, you could be forgiven for feeling a little jittery. We’ve all been there! Luckily, there are some small things that you can do in the morning to ensure that you have the highest chance of success. Here’s your day-of checklist.
Eat a slow-release energy breakfast
You might be too nervous to eat, but you have to ‒ you won’t perform well if you’re feeling hungry. Having a breakfast that gives you slow-release energy, such as a bowl of porridge and some fruit, is a smart way to go. You could also take some healthy snacks in your bag so that you’re prepared if you start feeling peckish.
Calm your pre-interview nerves
Nerves are a normal part of the interview process, and we all experience them from time to time. It’s how you cope with them that matters. Giving yourself some time to calm your nerves is a must. Do something that relaxes you: having a soothing bath, taking a run, meditating, writing down your worries ‒ whatever helps you find some peace. Allocate a small period of time to make sure that you’re feeling relaxed and ready to go.
Leave yourself extra travel time
You can’t predict the future. You will have already worked out your route, but you need to ensure that you leave more travel time than you think you’ll need. That way, if something unexpected happens, you have time to rectify the problem. Give yourself 30 extra minutes. You will thank yourself later. After all, it’s better to wait a bit in a nearby coffee shop than have to explain being late.
Show some serious passion
Why do you want this role? In the lead-up to the interview itself, consider what it is that has drawn you to the position and why you’re excited about it. You need that passion to shine through when you’re answering questions. Showing that you are truly excited about your career choice, and this role in particular, will leave a lasting impression on the interviewers.
Giving yourself the time to prepare for an interview is an essential part of the process, and it should never be overlooked. Follow this checklist and you’ll be on the right path towards success and landing that ideal role.
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