The good news is that you have got an interview! What’s amazing is the number of people that fail to prepare for their interview and as a result blow it.
Preparing for Interview
The advice here is based on my time as an HR Director, the experience of preparing our career coaching clients for interview and feedback from numerous recruitment companies. All of these sources combine to generate this list of top 10 tips:
- Get the job description or person specification and make sure you read it. This will tell you the kind of questions you are going to get in the interview. Most of these list the essential and desirable attributes required from a candidate. So if it says that experience of leading a team is essential you can be fairly sure you will be asked about your experience of doing this
- Research the company so you know what they do, their organisation and their financial performance – this is basic and very important.
- It is also really helpful to research widely so you know about their challenges and market competitors – this always impresses the interviewers and demonstrates your interest in the job
- The first question you are asked in 99% of interviews is to run through your CV. You need to practice doing this in 4 minutes. You should make sure you are able to highlight how your experience matches the requirements of the job. So practice doing this so you are fluent. This means you will have a really positive start to your interview
- Ask who will be interviewing you – is it one, two or more interviewers? This will give you an idea of the kind of questions you will be asked. If the line manager is there it’s likely you will get a few technical skills type questions. If it’s just HR they are more likely to question you about your background, motivation for the job and behavioural competencies
- Ask if the company has a competency set. Often companies will send out their list of competencies to candidates if they are asked.
- Make sure you have a good example of each competence for the job. Write it out and practice giving the answer with a friend. This link will tell you how to prepare answers to interview questions in much more detail
- Check out the route to the interview location and how long it will take you to get there. If you are going by car is there nearby parking? It can take 15 minutes to find a parking space and another 10 minutes to walk back to the office. So make sure you leave enough time.
- When you get there be pleasant and polite to everyone – you are on stage!
- Make sure you go to the toilet and check out your appearance before going into the interview
If you follow these 10 tips you will perform significantly better than most of your competitors. Doing this kind of preparation will reduce the worst of your interview nerves. Your competitors will not do this kind of preparation and will expect to be able to ‘wing it’ on the day. This rarely happens and they end up looking ill prepared, nervous and hesitant which are generally not good characteristics for the person a company wants to hire!
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