By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.
Are you looking for a new job? Have you recently applied for something and are expecting an interview? Here’s some food for thought to help with your interview preparations:
Don’t second-guess – get your facts right when it comes to preparation!
- If you are working with an agency, make sure you take the opportunity to ask questions on what to expect at interview. Who will you be interviewed by and what is their role within the organisation?
- What is the format? A competency based interview? Are there any other exercises to prepare for, such as a role-play, presentation, psychometric tests or numerical or verbal tests?
- What do you need to take with you? Applying for jobs can involve highly detailed referencing checks so you may have a list of documents to take with you. If this is the case, make sure you collect everything together and double check things the night before. Missing things out can give the impression that you are disorganised or not prepared. If you are struggling to be able to provide the necessary documents, call them beforehand to see if there are alternatives you can provide – this could speed up the recruitment process or prevent unnecessary hold ups.
- Make sure you know where you’re going and who you're meeting so that you can make a confident approach on arrival.
Do your homework – why is the job and company right for you?
- Check out the company website and see if they are on social media – Facebook and Twitter can give you a more up to date insight into the company and access to information that you may not be privy to by simply checking the website.
- LinkedIn is also a useful source of information. Check out the profile of the person who is interviewing you. Who do you know who knows them and could provide more insight into what they are like?
- Research the company mission statement and values – can you identify with them?
- Has there been any recent media coverage about the company? Have they won or been nominated for any awards?
"Do you have any questions?" Of course you do!
An interview is a two-way process, it’s not just about you being able to persuade someone that you're suitable for the role. You need to make sure the job and company are right for you, so make sure you take the opportunity to get your questions asked and answered. Asking questions also shows the interviewer that you’re enthusiastic and interested.
Think carefully about how you phrase your questions. It’s important to know the salary but don’t give the impression that is the only thing you’re interested in. By this stage you should already know about this, so you can determine if it’s right for you.
You may want to be assured that the opportunity offers career progression, but you don’t want the interviewer thinking you will be looking for a promotion after a month in the job! When enquiring about future promotion opportunities, make it clear that you expect this will be once you have proved yourself within the role on offer.
Here are some good questions to ask at interview:
- Can you tell me a bit about the team I’ll be working with? How many people are in the team? What are their roles?
- What exciting developments are on the horizon? Product launches? New offices? What will be the impact of these on the team?
- Where do you see the team/company in the next two years?
- What does the interviewer like about working for the company?
Don’t draw a blank at the end. Write the questions down beforehand and take them with you.