The most important step to nailing the interview and securing the job is to be prepared for your interview. You need to ensure you have allocated yourself enough time prior to your interview to complete your research and practice questions and your answers.
In preparing yourself for your interview you’ll feel more confident, in control, and will appear calm and collected; all qualities looked for in the perfect candidate of any job.
Use our step-by-step approach to help break down sections of the interview preparation process and make it easier to understand.
1. Getting Started
Knowing what to prepare for an interview can be difficult. To help put your mind at rest, think about writing a checklist, or use our checklist to help you.
If you’re writing your own checklist think about adding items such as:
- • Researching the company and the role.
- • Find the address and plan your route.
- • Prepare some answers or experiences in preparation for your interview.
- • Think of questions to ask the interviewer.
Preparation is no secret, and yet so many fail to make the time to prepare for an interview. No matter if you’ve had 1000 interviews, you still need to prepare for each one, and the chances are if you’ve had that many interviews and no job offer you need to look at how you interview.
Good preparation not only gives you insight into a company but it will also fill you with confidence, a trait that will show itself during your interview.
Use the below preparation checklist as a starting point and download a copy here:
Do you know where you’re going?
Firstly, don’t just presume the interview will be at the address on the companies website. Sometimes interviews can be conducted in different offices or even at a coffee shop. Once you have confirmed the address, make sure you know where it is and if you don’t, check it out on a map. Then plan your route. Think about how you’re going to get there, by car, walking, bus etc. What time of day will you be going, will there be traffic etc? If you have time, think about doing a test run to ensure you haven’t missed anything or wrongly estimated the traffic.
Have you researched the company & the role?
This is such an important step but you can almost guarantee that at some point during the interview you’re going to be asked something about the company such as “What do you know about us?” Spend some time viewing the companies website, their LinkedIn page and other media sources. Ensure you understand what the company does and its services / products. Also, make sure you have fully read the job description and understand it.
What questions should I ask during the interview?
Remember, an interview is a two way meeting. Its a chance for the interviewer to see if you would fit within the company and role, but its also a chance for you to find out more about the company and if its a place you see yourself working. Make sure you have some questions ready to ask to help you make an informed decision. View a list of questions you could ask at your interview here.
Do I have to prepare anything such as a presentation?
Some interviewers will ask you to complete an activity such as a presentation or small task as part of the interview. Most of the time they will inform you of this through the interview confirmation process. Ensure you have read it properly and you give yourself enough time to complete any preparation you may need.
Have I rehearsed interview styles and questions?
Again, as part of the interview confirmation process, the majority of time the company will make you aware of the style of interview. Have ready some examples of key achievements or answers to likely questions. Although we don’t recommend using the same answer for the same question with all interviews, it does mean you can use it as a framework and tailor the answer to meet the criteria the interviewer is looking for. Make sure you’re prepared for competency-based questions. You can use the STAR technique to help you answer them perfectly. Find out more here.
Have I planned my journey?
This is very similar to our first point, however one of the worst things you can do for an interview is to be late, likewise, you don’t want to be too early either. Both can make you feel uncomfortable and put you under un-necessary pressure for your interview. Try to be at the venue 10-15 minutes prior to the start time. This will give you enough time to compose yourself first.
Am I dressed appropriately and have everything I need?
Most jobs will require you to dress smartly, however some may be more casual like a Graphic Design position. Check the job role and do your research, which will tell you what you need to wear. If you’re ever unsure, dress smart. Finally, take a copy of your CV with you, just incase your interviewer doesn’t have it to hand.
Don’t forget, you can download a copy of our Interview Checklist below.
Download Interview Checklist
Finally, once you have had your interview, remember to send a thank you letter. You can find out more about thank you letters here. Build your perfect thank you letter using our Letter Builder.