Good preparation and the resulting self-confidence will make you face your job interview with ease.
There’s not much in life more daunting than a job interview. Getting married, bringing up a child – sure, there are a couple of things. However, an interview is the case of having 30 minutes to sell yourself to people who could just change your life.
Don’t be scared though – there are a few simple steps that if you follow, should put you one step closer to that dream role.
1) Research the company
The first thing you should do after you secure an interview is get to know the company inside out. How and where was it founded, what divisions are there, and how many employees do they have? Also try to get to know who holds the top positions in the company.
2) Best qualities
Don’t be ashamed to sell yourself – every other candidate will, so you have to do it better. Note all of your best qualities and memorize them, as they’re the easiest things to ‘blank’ about in the interview.
3) Relevant experience
For every bullet point on the job specification, list the experiences you have had that meet the criteria.
4) Preparing answers
Interviews are full of broad questions – why are you right for the role, what will you add to the company etc. Prepare answers for all of the basic questions, and have a few stock answers that can be adapted for variations.
5) Questions to ask
Every employer is looking for someone inquisitive, so prepare at least five or six questions which you could ask the interviewers – opportunities to move up in the company is always a good one.
6) Have ideas
Do you know where the company is looking to go in the next year or two, or has it any troubles, particular to either the company or the industry? If you can suggest what kind of changes you may make, they will know that you’re coming into the role with a vision.
7) Who is interviewing?
Try to find out beforehand who will be interviewing you and try and research them. Find out what their roles are in the company and how they got there. It will give you some idea of how to tailor answers to please them specifically. If you feel you know this person, it may also help relax you – you’re not going in blind.
8) Smarten up
Unless stated, always overdress slightly – a suit is a must, and some smart shoes. The night before, you should pick out appropriate clothes, steam iron everything, and polish your shoes. First impressions count.
9) Be early
There’s nothing worse than turning up late, and worrying about it is a close second. Leave plenty of time to get there early – you can always grab a coffee close by to kill spare time – and arrive 15 minutes before the appointment.
10) Arrive equipped
Although you shouldn’t go into an interview with answers written down, do take a pen and notepad. You could jot down your questions or ideas for the future – not many interviewers will mind that you gave forethought to an interview and it shows you are always prepared.
With those tips in mind, enter your interview relaxed and with a smile on your face. Greet your interviewers with a firm handshake and not much can go wrong.
Written by Alexandra James, a human resources consultant based in London.