A common blog post created by recruiters, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t know how to prepare for an interview. This can be down to lack of interview experience if this is your first job out of education, or for some who have been in the same job for a long period of time and are looking to start a new career. Whatever your situation may be, preparation is key to nailing an interview.
Nowadays with technology and location, you may be asked to conduct a telephone or skype interview. This is no different to a regular face to face interview (despite the fact you don’t have to travel nor worry about what trousers/ skirt you are wearing.) Regardless of the type of interview you’re preparing for, doing plenty of research and planning is crucial.
Here are a few pointers:
- Consider how you’ll explain problematic aspects of your career, such as gaps in your work history
- Discover the skills, interests and experiences that the company is looking for by looking at its website and social media channels to get an idea of their culture
- Plan your journey in advance, aiming to arrive ten minutes before your interview is scheduled. If you have the time to do a dummy run beforehand then that is also advised!
- Prepare answers to common interview questions, as well as think of your own questions to ask at the interview such as why has this position become available
- Go over the job description to pick out key points or attributes which you can plan your answers around
- Find out about the people who’ll interview you by checking out their LinkedIn profiles
- Research the issues, trends and opportunities affecting the organisation and the sector as a whole so you can ask challenging yet important questions
- On the night before your interview, avoid alcohol, prepare your outfit and get plenty of sleep – try not to stay up all night worrying about it
A handy tip to remember is that each time you mention one of your skills you should support it with an example of previous experience to prove to the interviewer that you have indeed done this. A popular technique for illustrating your skills is the STAR method:
Situation: Give some context to the story you’re about to tell, outline where you were and why you were there.
Task: Describe what you were doing and if you faced any challenges whilst doing it.
Action: Then explain the actions you took to complete the task and how you tackled any challenges you faced.
Results: Finally, reveal the outcome, this should demonstrate your skills, what you achieved and also anything you learnt from the situation.
Despite how much you prepare, you may be caught out by some questions, but don’t panic. Take the time to think about your answer and ask them to elaborate if you don’t know what answer they are looking for. Stay calm and remember that the company is clearly interested in you if they have asked you in for an interview. Listen carefully to the questions and focus on the answers you’ve prepared beforehand. It’s always good to try to build up a rapport with your interviewer, as this will help you both relax into a natural flow of conversation.
Just remember, each interview is a learning experience and one that will help build your confidence each time. We are on hand to offer support during the interview process, so never feel affraid to ask. That’s what we are here for!