How to prepare for a job interview

How to prepare for a job interview
How to prepare for a job interview

posted 15 Nov 23

Congratulations - you’ve got your interview booked! Well done for getting to this stage of the recruitment process. Before putting yourself in the spotlight with a potential employer, it’s important you know how to prepare for a job interview.  For many, job interviews are quite a daunting prospect, but with the right planning and preparation, you can overcome your interview fears.

To start preparing for your job interview, read our top tips below: 

Familiarise yourself with the company and role 

It should go without saying that when preparing for a job interview you should familiarise yourself with not only the role but also the company. In doing so, you will be able to highlight what makes you a good fit for the job during your interview and express enthusiasm about how the job will be of value to you. 

Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more likely you are to shine during a job interview, and ultimately seal the deal. You can learn a lot about a company from an array of sources online, including its website, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. We recommend you research the company history, who founded it, when was it founded, the current CEO & Board of Directors, offices locations etc. 

Bonus tip – Research the person interviewing you (if you know who that will be). You don't need to look into them in too much depth but it may be insightful to get an understanding of who they are, what their job role is, their expertise, and how long they have been at the company. 

Craft your elevator pitch

Ultimately, an elevator pitch will answer the all-important “Tell us about yourself” question. It’s a strategic tool that helps make a strong first impression, communicate your value effectively, and set a positive tone for the rest of the conversation.

Keep your elevator pitch concise and compelling. Make sure you communicate key points about your background, skills, and experience in a brief and impactful manner. While you may be able to practice a general elevator pitch, it’s important to customise it based on the specific job you’re interviewing for, to emphasise the relevant skills and experience for the role and demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. A well-prepared elevator pitch can also help calm nerves at the beginning of an interview and guide the interview into the direction you want it to go.

Learn and practice the STAR technique  

Once you have a basic understanding of the company and role, an important part of preparing for any job interview is mastering the STAR technique, especially if you have a competency-based interview. The STAR technique is a method of answering competency-based interview questions to ensure you are giving your best answers each time and present yourself as a desirable candidate. 

STAR is a mnemonic which helps you remember to structure your answers using Situation, Task, Action and Result. Make sure you know how to utilise this technique and practice it before your interview, using our full STAR technique article for more guidance.

Once you have some well thought out examples of how you will use the STAR technique in practice, ask a friend or family member to roleplay some potential interview questions with you.

Prepare some questions to ask after the job interview 

Most job interviews are concluded with the opportunity for candidates to ask questions of their own. This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the company and the role, alongside gaining valuable information that will impact your decision-making if you were to be successful. 

Think about some questions you can ask during your next job interview, and make sure they are as closely related as possible to the specific job you’re interviewing for. Some examples may include: 

  • What are the career development opportunities for this specific role? 
  • What are the biggest challenges facing the department currently? 
  • Describe the culture of the company. 

We would advise avoiding questions regarding salary at this stage of the job interview process. Wait until you have been offered a job before you start to negotiate the salary. For more examples of great questions to ask your interviewer, check out our ‘Top five questions to ask at interview’. 

Cover the basics – Plan your route, timing, and outfit

There is nothing worse than being late for your job interview. Not only will it mean the employer's first impressions of you will be tainted, but you will no doubt be left feeling frantic, stressed, and flustered - not a great start to be able to sell yourself. Instead, leave plenty of time to arrive early and give your potential employer a good impression, plus have some time to relax and get in the zone beforehand. 

Plan your route to ensure you know exactly where you are going on the day. The best practice is to travel to where your job interview will be held beforehand and at a similar time. This way you have no problem finding your way there and will have an idea of traffic so you have one less thing to worry about on the day. 

Clothing is another way to make a good impression. Plan what you are going to wear for your job interview in advance. Follow the company dress code, if you are not sure what this is you can ask your recruitment consultant to find this out for you. It’s all about preparation and giving yourself time to concentrate on your job interview during the big day. 

Lastly, you should consider bringing your notes with you so you can lock in those facts and figures about the company and role you are applying for one last time before you sit in the hot seat. 

Further advice for preparing for a job interview

Preparing people for interviews is something that we do every day at Search. Our career advice articles provide valuable advice for preparing for an interview. If you are earlier on in your journey, you can also access our comprehensive career development toolkit, which will guide you through each area of the job searching process. 

For further tailored advice and support finding new opportunities, contact our dedicated recruitment team.