Essential interview preparation advice
Ok, so you’ve updated your CV, applied for suitable roles, spoken to a handful of recruitment agencies or consultants, and now you’ve been invited to interview. The best bit of advice right now is not to get stressed… but what else do you need to think about? We’ve put together a handy guide of essential interview preparation advice to help you through the process.
Hints and Tips
- Preparation is key
- Research the company
- Look up your role
- Find the address
- Think of some potential questions your interviewer may ask
- Prepare some potential questions you could ask at the end of the interview
Prepare some points to discuss about the company
- How would you answer the following questions is asked?
- What do you know about us / our company?
- What markets do they operate in?
- How long has it been established?
- How many people does it employ?
- What is the turnover in monetary terms?
- How many locations are there and where are they located?
- Who are its main competitors?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
As an example, you should link the answer to this question to the research that you have carried out about the company. What positive features have you found out about the company and how can you make a positive impact by working there?
The Day Before the Interview
If you’re not sure how to get there, try and make the journey the day before (if possible). Being late because you got lost doesn’t send out a great first impression. Also, it won’t help your stress levels.
Always remember to take important information with you. Taking a pack containing your CV, cover letter, examples of your work and any certificates of merit or qualification levels is well worth it. Even if some of these things are not needed during your interview, you’ll not only be prepared – you’ll look prepared too. Also, they are a great point of reference when demonstrating a point (or if you get stuck).
Ok, so you’re fully prepared for your interview. But what about the actual interview itself? One of the easiest ways to offset any last minute nerves is to know what to expect.
Interviews Follow a Similar Pattern; The Interview Will:
- Tell you about the company and the job
- Ask you questions which will assess your abilities, personality and motivation
- If you have any questions, you’ll be encouraged to ask
- Inform you of the next stage of the process and when a final decision will be made.
Here are some important points to remember during the interview…
- Don’t Assume Anything
- You’ll be evaluated on your answers, not your CV. Your interviewers may not even have a copy in front of them. Ensure you incorporate the relevant information from your CV into your answers, using it to back up what you’re saying with practical examples.
During the Interview – First Impressions
The most important aspect to remember is that your interview will begin as soon as you step on to a client’s site so make sure you are making a good impression from the outset
Many interviewers may seek the opinions of a Receptionist about candidates and you have a good opportunity to create the right first impression even before you meet the interviewer. Sometimes an interviewer may not be able to decide between 2 candidates and this could make all the difference.
Important Areas to Remember Are:
Greeting the Interviewer
- Stand up when the interviewer approaches
- Maintain eye contact as much as possible
- Offer a firm, “dry” handshake
- Walk alongside the interviewer
Be prepared for small talk –
- Giving your positive first impression of the company, asking how the interviewer’s day has been, how long they have worked at the company, the weather!
- Have examples of tasks completed in relevant roles so you can discuss this with the interviewer and give actual experiences.
- Take your time before answering a question. Stay calm and collected.
- Be clear and concise with your answers and remain positive and enthusiastic. Be very careful not to come across too negative if you have had a bad experience with a previous role or employer.
- Understand what the interviewer is looking to evaluate and sell your skills, experience, qualities and achievements in that area.
- Tell the truth.
- Do not get downhearted if you are getting a hard time or are put under pressure – the client may be testing you!
- Deal with interruptions in a confident and relaxed manner – smile
Don’t be afraid to ask
- When people are nervous they tend either to draw a blank or to babble. It’s better to think for a few moments and make sure your answer is doing you justice and that there’s a point to what you’re saying.
- If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. Trust us, no-one will judge you for it. Some recruiters may even deliberately ask difficult or ambiguous questions to see how well you react under pressure.
- Remember: it’s much better to ask for help than to get an answer wrong.
- The interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to ‘blow your own trumpet’. As long as you can support what you’re saying with examples, you’re not bragging. Just be careful not to take it too far, or to embellish. If you lie, you’ll just be making it more difficult for yourself in the long run.
- And always expand. Never answer a question with a simple “yes” or “no”. The more interesting your answers are, and the better you back them up, the more memorable they will be.
And remember, if you want to talk to anyone at Harrison Sands about your forthcoming interview… then that’s what we’re here for. We’ll give you advice and share best practice approaches to help you win the role you’re interviewing for. Want to find out more? Then contact us today.