How to prepare for an interview
Written by Dominic Regan on 07/07/2016
So an employer loves your CV and wants to get you in for an interview? Great! An interview is your chance to prove that you are as good in real life as you are on paper. Successful interviews are built on preparation and a lack of preparation can be the downfall of even the best candidates. If you are sufficiently prepared you will be able to relax and be yourself on the day of the interview.
Research the Company
Your potential employer will want to know that you understand and have an interest in their company, so it’s a good idea to ensure you’ve done your research before attending an interview. The first port of call should be the company’s website as you may be able to find company-specific research and market information.
- What is the company turnover?
- Is the company listed on the stock market? What is its share price?
- What are the company’s recent successes? Have they won any awards?
- Have there been any changes recently such as a merger or acquisition?
You should also have a strong understanding of the sector the company operates in.
- How is the industry performing as a whole?
- Who are major players?
- Which companies are close rivals?
- What is the key demographic?
Understand the role-specific requirements
Your interviewer wants to find out whether you have all the attributes necessary to excel at the job in question. As such, it is good practice to ensure you fully understand the job specification so you can answer any role-specific questions.
- How will your previous experience aid you in the new role?
- What skills do you have that make you perfect for the position?
Before the interview
- Certain questions such as ‘tell me about yourself’ and ‘where do you see yourself in five years’, appear regularly in interviews and thus it is beneficial to have rehearsed answers so they don’t throw you off.
- Prepare your interview outfit ahead of time and ensure that it is well-presented – shirts ironed and shoes polished.
- Plan your route in advance and make sure you have more than enough time to reach your destination. It is much better to wait in a coffee shop before your interview than to turn up late!
During the interview
There are no rewards for firing back answers as quickly as possible, so don’t be afraid to take a moment to think of a reply before responding. It is common for interviewees to speak quickly when they are nervous, so try to slow down if you think you are going too fast.
It’s good to remember that an interview is a two-way process so ask your interviewer any questions you may have about the role and the company. Questions regarding career progression show the interviewer that you are ambitious and see yourself at the company for the long term. Steer away from questioning along the lines of pay and holiday. At the end of the interview, ask when they are likely to contact you. This will put your mind at ease if it usually takes the company a couple weeks before giving interview feedback.