Prepare like a pro! Tips for your next job interview

Boom! You’ve just been notified of a job interview request for a role you’d love to land. For many, that excitement quickly turns to nerves or dread as you know the interview is happening soon and realise you don’t know much about the company, or how to best prepare.

We know an interview is a wonderful opportunity to present yourself in a professional manner and make a great first impression – and preparation for it is the first step to achieving success.

While an employer won’t know how you prepared, the preparation you do will shine through in your interview via the confidence you bring, knowledge you have on the company, role and how you talk about your own skills.

Lucky being prepared is something anyone can do, and to help get you better prepared we’ve complied an easy-to-follow guide to assist with your interview:

Search and research the company

  • Spend a few hours finding out as much as you about the company or organisation
  • Learn about what they specialise, their company values and get a sense of the business is
  • Use the same or similar words they use on their website – you can do this by understanding the company’s tone of voice and personality by reading their Facebook or Linkedin pages
  • Find a connection, something you can talk about in the interview! i.e., their charity is also close to your heart, you loved what they did in their recent content or study paper

Anticipate the interview questions

  • Think about your skills, accomplishments, strengths, and weaknesses – and make sure you know tangible examples for each of them
  • A common question you’ll hear is “Tell me about yourself” be prepared for this question – and consider how you’ll find the balance of sharing information about yourself in both a professional and personal setting
  • They may ask what you want to get out of the role or why you chose to apply.
  • Talk to other students about interview experiences and any questions they found difficult.
  • Use the internet to find questions which could be asked in interviews.
  • Practise! A top tip is to practise your answers outload, it could be in the shower, your car or when you’re out walking.

Know how to talk about yourself and your skillset

  • Have confidence to talk about your life experiences and how you would handle different situations, again prepare examples.
  • Know your resume, you don’t want to be caught out. Ensure you can talk explain projects or work experience details you reference it in.
  • Organise a mock interview with a friend, it will help you with answering questions!

First impressions

  • The interviewer often says they know whether someone is right for the role within the first 90 seconds – first impressions are very important!
  • Present your well – dress suitably for the company, wear smart business clothes with clean shoes, limit jewellery, – simple and classic is best!
  • Remember personal hygiene matters! From showering to deodorant to clean, manicured fingernails – and better still, feeling good about yourself will boost your confidence.
  • If appropriate (in COVID times) take the time to shake everyone’s hand with a firm handshake, and/or greet everyone warmly ensuring you make eye contact.

In the interview

  • Speak clearly, positively and try to connect with your interviewers – this could be through nodding to acknowledging you’re listening, eye contact and asking questions.
  • Where you can, take a breath and slow down, nerves tend to make people talk more quickly.
  • If the interview is online check your background and lighting is suitable/not too dark
  • Listen to the question and make sure you have answered it
  • Take a small notebook and pen, taking notes during an interview demonstrates that you are engaged and interested.
  • Thank your interviewers, for their time and the opportunity when leaving and follow up with a thank you note of appreciation
  • Smile! Smiling can make you appear more confident and likeable.

Rest, Eat, and Sleep well the night prior

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour to ensure you have at least six to eight hours of sleep
  • Eat a healthy meal to fuel you and try to stay away from strong smelling foods pre-interview – a mint pre interview is always a good idea.
  • Stay hydrated before and during the interview – you can also take a water bottle in with you.

Timing

  • The night beforehand – double check you have the correct date and time.
  • Plan your route, transport and/or parking ahead allowing for traffic & factoring in extra time.
  • Make sure you have the interviewer or company contact details handy, in case of any issues on the day.
  • Always arrive early, fifteen minutes is sufficient.
  • If trouble arises and you are likely to be late, call head and notify them.
  • As you are waiting observe employees coming and going, look for insights into the workplace environment.

Giving yourself time to prepare for an interview is an essential part of the process, follow the checklist and you’ll be on the right path towards success.

Finally, try to remember you’ve landed this interview so you’re already doing something right. Enjoy the process, act professional and remember to smile! Confidence and good body language is a winning combination.

Good luck!

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