Job interviews can seem daunting at first, however the right preparation can help you feel more confident and allow you to focus on providing the best possible answers on the day.
Know the job specification
The job specification outlines the key roles the recruiter is hoping you can fill. You should know this inside out and expect questions based on any of the skills listed. Showing a clear knowledge of the job spec proves you understand what is required of the position.
Research the company
While you might think you know about your recruiter, you should have a good level of up to date knowledge about the company. Look through their ‘About Us’ pages to get a feel for the company direction and culture, research competitors and similar business as well as being aware of any recent changes or projects the company has undergone. A great way to do this is to use the ‘News’ tab on google.
Use the STAR method – common questions
Be sure to prepare some answers to common questions, as well as any questions related to the job spec. Questions usually come in the form of:
Competency questions – These focus on uncovering evidence of your ability to do a task. Prepare a few real scenarios which prove your experience, being sure to use the STARS technique below to ensure you convey the positive results of your work.
Career Goal Questions – These let employers know where you want to be in the future. Tell the truth about what you want to do but ensure your goal aligns with theirs.
Classic Interview Questions – It’s worth preparing answers to a list of general interview questions that are likely to be asked. You can find examples here.
Practice makes perfect, and the more interviews you do, the better you’ll get. However this isn’t too helpful if your first interview is your dream job. The next best thing is to talk through the answers you have prepared. Perhaps get a family member or friend to stage a mock interview. Practising will not only allow you to refine your answers, but it will also help you gain more confidence.
First impressions are important and you want to make a good impact early on. When deciding what to wear to an interview, a good tip is to always overdress.
Be on time
Always aim to get to your interview at least 15 minutes early. Ensure you’ve checked your route and there will be no unexpected delays.
Use the extra time when waiting to try to relax. Visit the bathroom, grab a drink and remember that you’ve done all you can. You wouldn’t be there if they weren’t interested in you, so listen to the questions and answer them as best you can.
Always prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview. This shows that you are interested in the role and can help produce further discussion. Remember the interview is as much for you to find out about the company so feel free to ask more in depth questions about the role.
Do all of this and you will be in with a good shot at securing the position. Don’t forget that interviews are as much about you finding out if the company is the right fit for you. Be confident in your abilities and try and relax as best you can. Good luck!