So you’ve passed the first step of the application process and landed yourself an interview – congratulations! Now comes the tricky part – getting yourself ready for the interview. We cannot stress enough how important it is to start preparing as soon as possible. There is no such thing as over-preparing for an interview – the more preparation the better! This will also help tackle your interview nerves as the more prepared your are, the less reason you’ll have to feel anxious.
To help you prepare for the big day, we’ve come up with our top 6 tips for interview success. Whether it’s your first interview, tenth or twentieth, these are all points that you should all be taking into account when sitting down to prepare for your interview.
Do your research
First and foremost, you must make sure you thoroughly research the company and its industry. This should be your starting part and your interviewers will be able to tell straight away if you haven’t put the time in to do some research. Make sure that you are aware of:
- The company’s headcount, revenue, recent news – this can be found on their website or LinkedIn profile.
- Their competitors – this should be easy enough with some online research.
- Your interviewer(s)’ background – try to find out some key bits of information about them and their career path. This may help give you some talking points during the interview.
We also recommend reading some industry journals and news in the run up to your interview. Some useful links to resources can be found in our general interview advice article.
This may sounds obvious but make sure that you are absolutely clear on what the company does – be able to describe their product or service in your own words. You cannot be passionate about working there if you do not fully understand this.
Practice makes perfect
There are some questions that are bound to come up in some shape or form, make sure that you have prepared and practiced answering these. Even if some seem really simple, it’s still worth running through them beforehand. Don’t rehearse what you are going to say word by word, but do make sure that you remember the key points you want to mention and think about how you can apply them to different questions.
Some questions that you can expect to come up are:
- Why are you interested for the role?
- Why are you the right person for the role? (Be sure to go back over the job description to remind yourself of the requirements and how you fulfil these).
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What are your greatest weaknesses?
- What do you like doing in your free time?
A quick Google search will bring up plenty of questions for you to get going with. Make sure you go over your application and to remind yourself which skills, strengths and experience you focussed on as the interviewer is likely to pick up on these. Be prepared to give fuller examples and descriptions for each scenario and further examples to back up your claims.
Have a question prepared
This is a small one but quite important – the interviewer will always ask you whether you have any questions for them. Having a good question prepared shows that you are serious about the role and interested in the company. Do not ask questions that you should know the answer to e.g. How many offices do you have? If you are stuck, then it’s always worth asking about office culture or about the interviewer’s background.
Be early for your interview! You can always go around the corner to a cafe to wait until it’s appropriate to go inside, but it looks really, really bad if you turn up late. It suggests that you are not that fussed about the getting the job. Plan your route beforehand and check for train delays the morning of your interview. If you do run into an unexpected scenario then let your interviewer know as soon as you can to apologies and give an ETA.
Plan your outfit
The way you present yourself at interview will speak volumes about your personality and whether you are a good fit for the company. You should research the company beforehand to gauge the level of formality of their employees. Always dress slightly smarter than an employee would on an ordinary day. Check out our interview dress guide to help you determine what you should wear to your next interview.
Follow up afterwards
Always follow-up after the interview. A quick email will do – just thank the interviewer for their time a few hours after the interview has taken place and express that you are looking forward to hearing from them with their decision.
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