1. Preparing for Job interviews
Success at job interviews comes from a combination of factors which ensure that potential employers see you at your best on the day of the interview. Assuming that you have the right skills and experience and you do well at the interview then you have every chance of being offered the job. However, there is nothing more frustrating than walking out of an interview knowing that you could have done much better or that you answered a particular question badly.
Preparation is the key to interview success and there are a number of basics that you need to address before every interview.
2. Location and Time
Get clear and precise details of the location and time of the interview. It is astonishing how many candidates either arrive at the wrong location or arrive late for an interview. Avoid this by checking the location and if necessary doing a dry run at the time of the interview so that you are sure that you know how long the journey will take.
3. Dress for success
This might seem obvious but, surprisingly, not all candidates for job interviews seem to think it is important. Even if the dress code is ‘smart casual’ the word ‘smart’ still applies and turning up for a job interview in scruffy jeans and an un-ironed T-shirt is never going to be a good idea. You need to look smart and professional at every interview.
4. Understanding the job
The best way to gain an initial understanding of the job is to carefully read the job specification or advertisement. If you have applied for the job through a recruitment agency they should also provide you with a thorough briefing on the role.
Remember that sometimes the actual job can be very different to the job specification. Try to find out some extra information either from the recruitment agency or from the press that will provide your with some inside information and maybe give you the edge over the other short-listed candidates.
5. Research the employer
As a minimum you should have answers to these questions:
• Who is the chief executive or managing director?
• What are their key products or services?
• Who are their major competitors?
• How are they performing?
All of this information will help you to build up a clearer picture of the background to the job that you are applying for. Don’t get caught out by the very first question at many interviews: ‘What do you know about us?’
6. Research the interviewer or interviewers
If you know the name(s) of the interviewer(s) try to find out as much as you can about them. Try putting their names into a search engine (or search LinkedIn) and see if you can find their profile. Use this advance information to check out any contacts you have in common and prepare answers to questions that will be meaningful to that particular interviewer. Don’t expect very technical questions from the HR manager and be prepared to have the right financial facts and figures if attending an interview with the Financial director.
7. Prepare your own questions
Most interviews finish up with a invitation to ask your own questions. Asking about lunch breaks and holidays is probably not a great strategy. Instead demonstrate that you have done your homework by asking some smart, well thought out questions about the job or organization.