Preparing for an Interview

An interview is essentially a business meeting where both parties have put time aside to see if there is a common interest in taking things further.As you would for a business meeting, you should pre pare thoroughly. So what preparation is most important?

 

Company Research

Interviewers will expect you to have a good idea of what the company does and with this information at hand you will be able to hold a more confident and meaningful interview.  You should use whatever resources available to be as ready as possible.  Be creative in how you go about this – do you know anyone who works at the company? 

We can also point you in the right direction in helping you to understand the company.

Role Research

We will help you fully understood the job description and know how it fits in within the team, department and overall company structure. If you have any queries about this we encourage you to raise them with us before the interview .  We are happy to take you through each detail.  

Ask yourself what the key skills are that the job requires and think of examples of occasions when you have demonstrated those skills.

Interview Research

Each interview is dfferent and its important that you know what to expect.  We will inform of the style and structure of the interview, who will be interviewing, their background, how long to expect and can answer any other questions you have.

Before the interview you should have found out all you need to know about the company, the position, the team, management style of your potential manager, duties and responsibilities of the role and anything else you see as important.  However,you don’t need to know everything there is to know! 

Physical presentation

You need to ensure that you look and dress smart and professionally .

While a suit (and tie) may be right for most cases, in some instances, companies operate a more relaxed dress policy so you should find out about the company culture before your meeting.  Ask your recruitment consultant what you should wear and what the interviewers are like, they will know (or be able to find out) and help you feel comfortable about the interview.

If unsure, dress-up and take the conservative approach, its much worse to ‘under dress’ than ‘over dress’!

Be punctual

Make sure you are punctual – try to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time. If you are going to be late for any reason then make sure you inform the interviewer as early as possible.

Style

How you dress and the knowledge that you have is just as important as the manner in which you conduct yourself.  Being professional, showing manners and maintaining eye contact are all important for any interview.  Be confident and positive, listen and speak clearly, be enthusiastic and express a keen interest in the position, keep to the point and be concise and honest.   Most importantly  be yourself!

Take a breath

We recommend pausing for a couple of seconds before you respond to each question, even if you know exactly what you want to say.  Take this time to quickly plan your answer, this helps to avoid misunderstandings and produces much more concise answers.  Also, the interviewer may be taking a quick pause before they move onto something else to say to this ‘pause’ will help to properly identify whose turn it is to speak so you aren’t both speaking at the same time.

Ask for clarification

If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification, this is expected and is preferable to providing an unsuitable answer.  If the explanation still isn’t clear then address your query again perhaps asking the question in a slightly different way.  This will also show that you are proactive and solutions driven.

Be yourself

The interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself.  Don't be afraid to 'blow your own trumpet'. As long as you can back up what you are saying with examples which demonstrate that what you are saying is true, you are not bragging.  

Third party observations can be beneficial in helping sell yourself  e.g. "My last employer told me that I was promoted because of how I handled conflicts with clients."

People sometimes miss out on opportunities because they followed a set formula and 'acted' in such a way they thought would help their chances, rather than be themselves.  Most of the time, interviewers can sense this and no matter how good your answers and experience are, they may not take the process further because you never showed the real you.  Relax and let your personality show.

Be positive. Don't complain about anything - from your former employer to the weather - and don't apologise for experience that you don't have.  Just sell what you do have and let the employer decide if you have what he/she is looking for.  

When answering  questions…

Never assume anything.  You will be evaluated on your answers, not your CV.  Therefore, ensure you incorporate the relevant information from your CV in your answers.  Sometimes, an interviewer may not have read your CV, be prepared.

Always expand. Never answer a question with a "yes" or "no." Provide examples or use the moment to check for clarity or ask them a question.

Avoid negative words and wording e.g. instead of saying "I only have a little experience...,"  you should say "I have experience..."

If you need time to collect your thoughts - take it. When people are nervous they tend either to "draw a blank" or to babble. It is better to think for a few moments and make sure that your answer is doing you justice and that there is a point to what you are saying.

Don't be afraid to repeat important points. In fact, it is a good idea to do this.

What about me?

Exactly!  Remember, that the interview is a two-way process and you need to get the most out of it - this is not a time to be shy.  Make a list of the points about yourself that you want the interviewer to know and any questions you may have for them.  

You are there to find out information about them as much as they are there to find out about you. This is your chance to find out information that isn’t in the job description and this can help you make an informed decision about whether you definitely want the job.

Test drive

A mock interview with a family member or friend may be beneficial in getting you accustomed to answering questions and having  someone probing you about the details of your CV.  You could also request they ask you ‘random’ questions, whether relevant or not, because it is the interview practice that you’re looking to benefit from.  Get them to test you on your knowledge of your CV and whether you are able to explain it clearly using examples.  

You could even interview them and give yourself an opportunity to gain insight into being an interviewer.

Remember your recruitment consultant can help you prepare for an interview so get in contact with them!

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