How to prepare for a job interview
Preparing for an interview is without doubt an important part of securing a new job. You will only get one chance with any employer, therefore it is important that you prepare well and make an impression from the moment you walk into the their offices. Below is a guide to the fundamental steps to increase your chances of a successful interview.
This is all about the work you do prior to the interview. If you are driven and want to be successful you must prepare beforehand. Preparation includes the following:
- Know the details of both location and date/time of the interview and the name of the person/people you are interviewing with.
- Research the company to familiarise yourself with the facts and figures, such as when was the company established? What do they do? Latest news on the company?
- Know your CV inside out as it is common in an interview for the employer to ask about your previous experiences. With the employer having your CV in front of them, you want to be able to speak through your experiences in detail, providing examples of what you have carried out in each role.
- Read the job specification and think about the key skills and core competencies the employer is looking for in their ideal candidate. You will gain an advantage over other candidates by providing relevant examples that cover both the key skills and core competencies.
The first impression always sets the standard for any interview. To make a positive first impression we recommend that you dress in smart business attire as first impressions do last.
During the interview
The interview process is not only about the answers you give. The interviewer will take into consideration the whole process, which includes your appearance, your mannerisms, body language and your ability to engage in dialogue. When first meeting the interviewer a smile with a firm handshake will always provide an impressive introduction for you.
Common interview questions
Interviews will consist of both traditional and competency-based questions. It is essential you are prepared for specific questions and that you have thought out clear answers. Examples of both traditional and competency-based questions have been outlined below:
- What do you know about us?
- Why are you looking to leave your current role?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What interests you about our company?
- What style of management do you work best with?
- Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- Describe a time when you had to cope with pressure
- Give me an example of a problem you faced in a job, and how you responded to it
- What motivates you to give your best effort? Tell me an example of when this happened.
- Give me an example of how you have dealt with an under-performing team member in the past.
- Give an example when you have been really stretched for a deadline and how did you achieve it?
- How do you mange time and priorities?
Make sure you have a list of questions that you want to ask. This shows enthusiasm and it is important that you know everything about the role and company when you leave the interview. Common questions that you may want to consider asking are:
- What is the reason for the vacancy?
- How would you describe the company culture?
- What are the company’s plans for the future?
- What is it about the company that you like?
- What growth can the successful candidate expect in this position longer term?
- What training and development does the company offer?
Concluding the interview
Conclude the interview by reiterating your enthusiasm for the role and why you think you are best suited to the position. Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for his/her time and again a firm handshake will leave a positive final impression.