Congratulations, you have an interview you need to prepare for. Although no two interview experiences are the same, there are some simple tips and best practices you can use to ensure you are as prepared as possible.
In this article we’ll cover:
● Do your research
● First impressions
● Body language
● Prepare answers
● Practice, practice, practice
● Prepare questions
Do your research
You should be able to go into an interview with a solid understanding of the company, the industry it operates in, its competitors and the role you will be doing. Often interviewers will ask you why you think you are a good fit for the company, what you know about them or why you want to work for them. Doing the research will help you answer with conviction and show you have a genuine interest.
Some studies have found that interviewers make up their mind within the first 5 minutes and then look for reasons to validate their opinion for the remainder of the interview, so first impressions count. Dress for the job you want, make sure your clothing is free of holes, pet hair, staines or loose threads. Start and finish with a firm handshake, make eye contact, sit with good posture and remember to smile. Also consider your route to the interview in advance. You can even do a test run to make sure you know exactly where you’re going, punctuality is important and the last thing you want is to get lost on the day and arrive late.
Use confident, inviting body language – remember to smile frequently, have your shoulders back and don’t cross your arms. If you’re nervous, it can help to take a deep breath and exhale slowly before the start of the interview to calm your nerves and help regulate your heartbeat.
It’s also important to treat everyone you meet with respect, you never know who you are speaking to and the interviewer may ask other members of staff for feedback after.
There are common interview questions that appear on every 101 job interview question lists that you should expect to be asked and have an answer prepared for. You can also do research into interview questions that are more common in your specific industry or job role and prepare answers for these too. Although you never know what you are going to be asked, the more you have prepared for the better equipped you will be. When answering questions you can also use the STAR model, Situation, Task, Action and Result. Writing your answers out to this model in advance will help you have great strong responses.
Practice, practice, practice
Try and have a few mock interviews in advance. Ask a friend or family member to ask you questions and do your best to treat it like it is a real interview. You can also ask them to ask you unexpected questions so you have to think on your feet.
Some people benefit from having very structured answers that they can learn and then use in the interview, however some people find that if the question isn’t worded exactly as they had planned they struggle to adapt their answers to suit. Working out in advance if this method is a benefit or hindrance to you is important, you don’t want to be in the interview struggling to answer questions if you’ve forgotten your verbatim answer.
Interviews are two way streets and it can help if you go in with the mindset of having a conversation with the other person(s). Not only does asking questions give you the opportunity to find out what you want about the job, it also shows the employer that you’re interested.