10 tips to prepare for your interview
Monday, November 2, 2020
If you have been given an invitation to attend an interview, then congratulations! All the hard work you put into your CV and job applications has paid off. However, if you want to be fully prepared but aren’t sure about the best way to do this, Bluestream Recruitment are on hand to offer some tips and guidance on how to ace your interview.
- Do background research on the company you are being interviewed by. Look at their website, mission statement and social media feeds to gain an understanding of the scope of what they do.
- Look for any recent publications on the company website or news articles. This will give you relevant information about what they are up to and their interests, as well as an understanding of where the company will be heading in the future. The amount of knowledge you need to have will of course depend on the role you are applying for. However, research not only shows your enthusiasm for the role but will allow you to answer questions on the company which may come up in the interview such as, ‘why did you choose to apply here?’ or ‘what do you know about us?’. These questions are testing you to see if you are genuinely interested in the company and role. If those questions don’t come up, try subtly mentioning some of the things you have learned about the company in your interview. For instance you might say, ‘I like the fact that your company sponsors charities and encourages employees to take part in fund raising events’.
- Get to know their products and services as well as their clients and competitors. This may all seem excessive but knowing what the company offers and who they are competing with can give you the edge in an interview. This will help you to identify the kind of employee they are looking for and what skills and experience they need.
- Do some research on the people who will be interviewing you. Use social media and the company’s website to find out what position they hold as well as their interests, which could potentially match with yours. This shows enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the people and the role, helping to lower interview nerves as you will feel like you already know your interviewers.
- Prepare your answers to the questions which might come up in the interview. It’s a good idea to go through a list of common interview questions see our top 10 questions here.
- Make sure you know the job description well, make notes on it and have it with during the interview if it helps. Have at least 3 examples you can talk about in your interview, demonstrating when you have successfully used skills and gained the experience they are looking for. Also, think of 1 or 2 situations where a mistake was made, or something went wrong and where you were able to fix the problem or appropriately reported the issue. This will ensure you are prepared for any kind of question, including problem solving ones.
- Get a friend or relative to do a practice run by asking you some competency based questions. This is so you can get a feel for what its like to say your answers out loud, then write down your answers to key questions which will give you reference points in your memory when speaking in the real interview. This is particularly helpful if you get nervous during the interview. Make sure that you are fully explaining your answers by giving examples of experiences from work and saying what you gained from the experience or if you would do it differently in future.
- Prepare yourself for any wildcard questions that may come up. For example, interviewers can determine a lot about a person by putting them under a small amount of pressure and may ask questions such as ‘most people lie on their CV, what is your lie?’ or ‘what kind of fruit would you be if you had to choose?’. There isn’t really a right or wrong answer to these kinds of questions, they are designed to test your critical thinking and how you react when put on the spot. Try and stay calm and think about your answer and what you want it to reflect about you. For instance, you might answer the fruit question with ‘I would like to think I am an orange as they are bright and colourful, but they can also be separated into segments which is how I like to imagine myself when I’m multitasking’.
- Plan how you will be getting to the interview. If you interview is in person, and using public transport, check how long it will take to get you there at the specific time you want to leave, then give yourself extra time for things to go wrong and consider how traffic will effect your journey depending on the time of day you travel. If you have time, do a practice run to where your interview is being held so that when it comes to the real thing you won’t be worrying about finding the building or a parking space.
- Plan what you will wear. Whether your interview is in person or via video, your choice of outfit will make an important and lasting impression on the interviewer and you don’t want to leave it till the morning of your interview to decide. If you do have a virtual interview don't be tempted to dress up from the top half only, you don't want to get caught out! If you have a telephone interview consider dressing up for it - you'll be surprised how it will change your mindset and raise your confidence!
We hope these tips will make you feel prepared and confident for your interview. Good Luck!