Did your last interview go with a bang? Or more a disappointing fizzle…?
On bonfire night, check out my latest post with top tips for interview success…
Congratulations – you’ve successfully come through the application process and shortlisted for interview. Already your chances of securing the role have dramatically improved. However, there are a number of key elements of preparation which you can do, which will help to further increase your chances of being offered the job.
- Research your potential employer
Do your homework about your potential employer. This can include internet research and word-of-mouth. If you know someone who works there, spend some time discussing their experience and observations of the company, including its culture, values, and strategic objectives. If you don’t directly know someone who works for the organisation, try asking your network so you can make a connection with someone who does.
- Find out what the interview process is
If you know what to expect from a process, you will naturally feel more confident. The fact that you have bothered to take the time to ask about the process and understand what steps are involved, also shows your interest and commitment. In order to feel fully prepared and confident, it’s important to know, for example, whether your interview will be with a recruitment agent, the manager of the role, HR or a peer from the team.
- Plan your route and know where you’re going
If possible, go to the interview location beforehand to be sure you know how to get there. If this isn’t possible, allow extra travel time on the way to your interview to cover any traffic problems, public transport delays, or in case you miss a turn when driving.
- Plan what you’re going to wear
Whilst an interview is not a fashion show (unless you’re interviewing for a job in the fashion industry…), you’re likely to feel more confident if you’ve decided in advance what you will wear for the interview. Different industries have different dress codes, but it’s always best to err on the side of professionalism, and if in any doubt, wear a suit.
- Anticipate interview questions and practise your answers
This is one of the most important things you can do before your interview. You need to show (not tell) the interviewer that you can efficiently and effectively do the job. The way to illustrate this is by sharing past accomplishments and achievements. This is where interview coaching can come in really useful. Modesty, or a low degree of self awareness, can make it difficult to talk about your own achievements without some objective help.
Prepare a range of examples that you can use to answer questions on the most likely areas that the interviewers will cover. Don’t try to memorise these examples word for word, but through practice, you’ll find that they are at the forefront of your mind, making it easier to answer whatever question the interviewer throws at you.
The questions that you ask in an interview also say a lot about you as a candidate. Avoid questions about benefits and salary until after you’ve been offered the job. During the interview, focus your questions on professional development, long-term goals for the role, and the company strategy and culture.
- On the day – relax, and try to enjoy it!
It may sound strange to suggest that an interview can be enjoyable, but if you’ve put in the preparation and practice beforehand, you’ll know that whatever happens, you’ll have done your best. Think of your interview as a conversation, whether that’s with one or two others, or a whole panel of interviewers. Try to relax and remember that the interviewer wants you to do well. From your application, they will have identified that you have skills, experience or attributes that they’re looking for, and during the interview they will be hoping that you’re able to back this up. A good interviewer is not there to catch you out, rather they are there to give you the opportunity to demonstrate that you are the right person for the job.
Finally, just think – at what other time do you get the chance to spend an hour talking about yourself and telling someone how great you are?!