“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
It’s been drummed into our heads since we were at school “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Although we might be sick of hearing it, there is actually a lot of truth in that little phrase, especially when it comes to getting yourself ready for an interview. When it comes to your prep, here are 10 interview tips you can not afford to leave out.
Research the company
When researching the company you’re about to interview with, the first thing to do is go straight to the company website. Dig out their mission statements, vision, company values and general info. Find out how many employees there are in the company and globally if it’s multinational. Also, search for recent news and press releases to get clued up about what they’ve been up to in the past few months. You need to impress the interviewer with your knowledge and show him/her that you have put a lot of thought into why you want to work for them. You can find out more about this here.
Explore how you fit in with the job role and company culture
Read the job description very carefully before the interview because it will uncover what will be expected of you in the role. Spending some time thinking here can help you predict what type of questions will be asked in the interview. How? The interviewer will be looking at the job description and asking you questions based on the role responsibilities. For example, if your role will cover telesales training, then a question about telesales and coaching will most likely come up. Also, do some info-hunting about the company culture. If the management style is laid-back and the organizational structure is flat, make sure to explain and give examples demonstrating how you’d fit in with this type of culture.
Make sure your CV is tailored to the position
Although you should’ve already tailored your CV to the position when you applied, comb through it again before the interview. Pay extra attention to the responsibilities of your current employer. Most of the time the interviewer will have a copy of your CV in front of them. When they’re reading your CV they want to see that your current duties mirror those of the job you’re interviewing for. It will work in your favor because it shows that you’ll find it easy adjusting to a new role.
Know your CV inside & out
Be sure about every responsibility and every achievement you’ve listed in your CV. You could be questioned about a single bullet point on your CV so you need to be ready to elaborate on what you’ve written down. Another thing to remember: always stick to the truth in your CV. If you’re caught out during the interview you will come across as untrustworthy. Not a great way to start any relationship!
Research the interviewer
If you’re lucky enough to be given your interviewer’s name, stick it into Google and see what it comes up with. Has this person been in the news for their achievements recently? Or do they publish monthly blogs? Check out their LinkedIn profile so that you’re familiar with their professional background as well. Try and get a feel for who they are as a person so you can establish some common ground during your interview.
Plan questions to ask the interviewer
At the end of the interview, you will most likely be asked by the interviewer whether you have any questions for them. Although it may seem like you’re in the driving seat, the real test lies in which questions you choose to ask. The trick here is to come across as keen and interested, so you should always have something ready. You want to take this opportunity to show you’ve put some real thought into the role. We will cover what questions to ask during an interview in next week’s post, but a few examples include:
What opportunities are there for career development in the company?
What do you like most about working here?
How would you describe the culture within the company?
Plan your outfit
Plan your interview outfit well ahead so you’re completely prepared on the day. A good rule of thumb is to always dress more formally rather than informally. Having said this, with the advent of tech/creative companies, it’s becoming acceptable in some workplaces to dress informally. Consider the culture of the company first. Dressing in a full suit and tie might be appropriate at a law firm, but you may feel slightly overdressed if you’re interviewing at a creative agency. You could even drop your recruiter an email and ask them to advise on the appropriate attire.
Work on your body language
Did you know that 55% of our communication is non-verbal? That’s right; your body language is incredibly important and just as crucial as the words that come out of your mouth during the interview. Practice your body language before the interview. You could do this either with a friend or even in the mirror! As a basic guide, keep your arms/palms open, your hands still and make sure your posture is straight. This makes you appear more approachable and honest.
The early bird catches the worm! An ideal time to arrive at your interview venue is about 10-15 minutes before the starting time. Leave plenty of time to get to your interview so you can compensate for any unprecedented traffic/transport obstacles. If you arrive super early, go and get a coffee downstairs and do a little more prep. Arriving last minute will leave you in a rush and will distract you from being focused. Many people use timeliness as an indicator of your attitude towards life. You want to come across as organized and in control.
You’ve followed all of our tips, and now you’ve arrived at the venue. Remain calm and collect your thoughts before you’re called in. Also, remember to treat everyone in the office courteously. People talk, and you don’t want the secretary telling your interviewer that you came across as rude! Be professional and polite at all times.
When preparing for an interview, always have a positive mindset and focus on what you need to do to convince the interviewer that you’d make a real asset to their team. From the get-go, you should plan to present yourself appropriately, know what questions to ask and above all be ready to sell the reasons why you’re perfect for the role. Small details can make a big difference: following our simple tips will help you stand out as the star candidate.