Interview preparation is one of the most important things you can in your job hunt. You’ve nailed your CV, perhaps by following our tips on how to get yourself noticed by on the page and have now reached the next stage.
As it’s the first chance you get to actually speak to someone, this is your time to impress – meaning that the pressure can pile on. That’s why interview preparation is crucial. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail and we want all of our candidates to succeed in getting their ideal job.
Research the company
Probably the number one most important thing you can do is some in-depth research about the company that’s interviewing you. Not only will it show you’re interested, it will also allow you to tailor your skills and what you can offer, to what the company wants.
But just reading the “about us” section on a company’s website probably won’t be enough. It’ll give a high-level overview of what the company does, but you should go deeper. Look at the different divisions of the company, and look at what it’s been up to recently. It might have press releases about its recent activity on its website, or, if you Google the name of the company and hit the News tab, you’re bound to find something that the company wants to shout about. There’s a chance you’ll be asked about it in the interview, but if you’re not, it could then be something you use to ask a question at the end yourself.
It’s useful to know a bit about the person interviewing you. Don’t go creepy and find out their entire life story, but if they’ve worked at some interesting places or have experience in areas you know about, that could be a valuable talking point.
Something you can do before the interview is to think about the answers you might give to questions that are likely to come up. Perhaps more crucially, the important thing to do is remember a technique of how to answer questions. You don’t necessarily know exactly what the interviewers are going to ask (though there are some typical questions), but you can know a useful strategy for illustrating your competence.
That strategy is called the STAR technique, which stands for situation – task – action – result.
You can link these keywords together to form your answer, so that it will follow this pattern: “The situation was this and the task was that. The action I took was this and that was the result
It’s well-established that having questions to ask at the end of an interview is very important.
RedCat’s advice is this: Writing a few key questions is okay but don’t write an entire list of questions about the team and company culture in advance in your notepad. Stick to only noting answers to questions about salary and benefits. This will also help you to compare companies if you are interviewing at multiple places. You will have time to make notes about the culture and fit after the interview.
The final checklist
Here is a final checklist of everything you need to have or do for your interview preparation. Follow the list and you will be prepared!
- Have you researched the company in full?
- Are you following the company on social media?
- Have you viewed the profile of your interviewer, relevant colleagues and management?
- Do you have your route to the interview pre-planned?
- Have you allowed an extra 20 minutes for potential delays?
- Are there any issues with traffic or transport?
- Do you have the full name of who you are meeting?
- Got a copy of your CV and/or portfolio?
- Have you got a smart pen, notepad and folder for the interview?
- Prepared your outfit?
Preparation is one thing – you have to execute it next.