8 Quick tips to prepare for an interview

8 Quick tips to prepare for an interview
by James Owen

How to prepare you for your next interview

Interview days can be daunting, nerve-racking or scary for some people. The unknown can certainly be a fear to some as all interviews are never the same. We’ve got a couple of points that we’ve put together as a resource for you to read. Hopefully, some of these tips can help you succeed in your next interview.

1. Research, research and research!

You can never do enough research on the company you’ve applied for. You need to show the business that you want to work for them. If you turned up to the interview and didn’t know a thing about the business, that doesn’t give you much of a chance against the other candidates.

Look at their website, social media pages. What’s the brand they represent? How did they start out and grow? Who owns the business? What’s their target market? These are just some of the questions you should consider asking yourself while researching.

If you’re asked a question by the employer or panel and you answer based on your research, that’s gold! You will score points for that kind of answer.

2. Job Description

The job description is key to ticking the boxes in an interview. The employer has a set of duties & roles they expect that candidate to meet. If you can show your answers point to what’s needed, then you’re scoring high on the list. Make the answerers relate to what’s in the job description and show the interviewer(s) that you have that skill they’re looking for.

3. Sell Yourself

During the interview, you need to make the most of your time in front of the interviewer(s). This is your time to sell yourself. You just need to show you have the skills and abilities to do the job. Just be confident and back up your answers with some evidence showing you’re capable of doing what’s expected. Don’t just talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.

4. Commonly Asked Questions

You’ll always get the same kind of questions asked in all interviews. Something like these:

 – What are your strengths?

 – Why do you want to work here?

 – Why did you apply for this job?

These aren’t to be taken lightly. These types of queries are testing the candidate to see if they’d fit into the role or the business. Be prepared to answer some of those questions before you go to your interview. If they ask you a commonly asked question, then you’ve already prepared yourself and can answer with confidence.

5. Print Your CV

In case the interviewer(s) don’t have one to hand, it’s good to provide a copy to anyone who doesn’t have one. For instance, a panel. Whether they need a copy or not you’ll need to know it like the back of your hand. You will get questions about your employment history, qualifications or further interests. You might even get difficult questions about a gap between jobs or asked why you were at a job for a short period of time.

It’s best to be honest and say the truth. If there were any problems with previous employers, just be transparent. Bear in mind, It’s not going to go in your favour if you speak negatively about ex-colleagues. Back that questioning up with some positive experience about the job such as learning a new skill or how much you enjoyed working in that specific field/industry.

6. Questions to Ask

Consider asking any closing questions at the end of the interview. You need to leave the building with clarity, knowing everything about the job. Even though you might get offered a job, you need to know if it’s right for you.

You can learn a lot from somebody face to face so it’s worth asking any last closing questions. It could be about holiday allowance, pay date & frequency, or something about the role itself that you weren’t clear on in the job description?

If the interview has finished and they haven’t said when they’d get back to you ask about the process. Make sure you have all their contact details to follow up. Thank them for the time and then that’s all you have to do is just wait.

7. Travel Arrangements

Make sure you leave in plenty of time for your appointment. First impressions matter and being late for your interview doesn’t help you. Be considerate of traffic. Being late because of traffic; nobody likes that excuse.

If you’re catching a bus, take the one before. Relying on somebody for a lift? Make them accountable to you. Driving yourself to the interview? Fill the car up with fuel the day before.

By making sure you’ve done everything you can before you even step into the room for an interview, you’re setting yourself up for a win.

8. Follow Up

After the interview, make sure to follow up with the employer after a few days/weeks. You’ll be able to make that judgment of when based on the end of the interview and any questions you’ve asked them.

Create a follow up email. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in the job. In the email, thank the employer for their time and for considering you for the role.

Be sure to name & state the company name in your follow up. Then, briefly ask any questions you might have missed out. And end the email with “Looking forward to hearing from you”. It’s a nice end to the message and the employer will think of you positively before getting back to you with a decision/job offer.

Didn’t Get the Job?

If you were unsuccessful, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes, things are out of our control and we have to understand and react positively.

Just reflect on the process and always ask for feedback. As long as you learn from the process then you can only get better for the next interview.

Please see our Advice Centre page for more resources.

James Owen is part of the marketing team for CSA Service Group, a leading provider of recruitment and facilities services.

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