Practically everyone hates interviews, but there’s no getting away from them. For almost every step in our careers, we need to go through the gruelling process of the job interview. Yet, there are ways you can make the process slightly less difficult.
By being adequately prepared, you can improve your confidence and performance, improve your chances of getting the job, and even have a reasonably pleasant time during the interview itself.
Preparation is everything. Just as you wouldn’t expect to do well in a race unless you’d put in some work beforehand, you can’t expect to be a clear winner in the contest for a job without preparation.
No matter how skilled or experienced you are, if you are up against someone with equal qualifications, the person who has put in the groundwork before the interview is more likely to gain the position.
So, what is meant by preparation?
It doesn’t mean becoming anxious by focusing on possible pitfalls that lie ahead. Instead, it means going through very specific steps to improve your chances. You can even go so far as to create a strategy to help you prepare.
Your strategy can include self-evaluation, improving your CV / resume before making an application, researching the employer, considering possible questions and working on your self-presentation once you have the interview secured.
Here, we are going to look at the steps you can take to prepare for the interview itself.
1. Research the Employer
You should spend as much time as you can spare doing some research, both into the organization that’s going to be interviewing you, and the vacancy itself. These days, the first place to look is usually the Internet.
You can view the organization’s own website. Take in as much background and structural information as you can. Look beyond the organization’s own site, to see what turns up about it on other sites. You might find valuable details in newspaper and magazine archives – and not always what the organization might wish you to read.
Also visit competitor sites and gain a feel for the sector the organization operates within. See what the differences are between the recruiting organization and its competitors.
Go to the library. The bigger the library, the better. The librarian can probably help you to access online publications which aren’t available to the general public, but to which the library subscribes. Academic libraries are particularly good for such subscriptions and back issues of specialist journals.
2. Research the Questions
Answering job interview questions properly takes skill and practice. Make sure you thoroughly prepare and rehearse your answers to the questions that you are likely to be asked.
Don’t think that you can just make up an answer on the spot – very few people can do this convincingly. If you don’t prepare thoroughly beforehand, you won’t deliver a good performance, which means that an employer is unlikely to offer you the job.
Look at the job advert (always keep a copy of each job advert) and think about the likely questions that the employer will ask you. No two jobs are ever exactly the same, so even if you’ve already been to an interview for a similar job, don’t become complacent – still research the employer and the job thoroughly.
Sometimes the interviews that you think will be easy, turn out to be really hard. Proper preparation beforehand will get you through an interview whether it’s a really hard interview or an easy interview which you breeze through and get a job offer straight away.
3. Prepare for a Different Kind of Interview
There are a variety of different selection processes, which each have to be handled in a slightly different way. For example a face-to-face panel interview is quite different from a telephone interview.
This topic was covered in detail in our article Different Types of Interview, please take a look if you haven’t already – you will learn about what to expect, making you less likely to be caught out.
4. Self Presentation
The clothing you wear to an interview is very important. Generally speaking, you should always dress smartly, in a way that’s appropriate to the job sector that you’re applying to.
You also need to take care of every aspect of your personal care and cleanliness, so that you look tidy and well turned-out.
5. Review your Application
Read through your own CV/resume and application letter or form again. Make sure you know every point and that you can back everything up with examples if necessary.
All too often, we never look at our CV / resume once it’s been written. Being caught out by a simple question relating to something you’ve written on your CV could cost you dearly.
6. Check the Location
It sounds obvious, but if you’re not sure where you’re going, you should research and plan the route beforehand. Always allow extra travelling time in case of unavoidable delays.
Make sure you have the interviewer’s telephone number with you, in case there’s a major hold-up. Plan to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes before your interview time.
7. Prepare a Little More
You can’t really over-prepare for an interview. There’s always a bit more research you could do on the employer or you can always spent more time on preparing your answers to the likely interview questions.
If you have any comments or questions about this article, or you’d like to share your views with other readers, please leave a comment below.
Bradley CVs Ltd.