One of the MOST stressful parts of looking for a new job is the interview!
If you have been successful in getting shortlisted to the interview stage, you need to take just as much care (if not more!) of how you handle the interview. The interview is not just about the actual appointment itself - your performance at the interview is what can make or break you!
The interview is your opportunity to shine! It is your chance to showcase your skills, abilities and your unique personality. So what sort of preparation should you be putting into the interview?
There are 3 main areas you need to focus on:
- before the interview
- on the day
- at the interview (and follow up afterwards)
As there are a few requirements for each, we will feature them all in their own blog posts! So this week, we will discuss:
Before the interview
Firstly you should research the company you are interviewing with. I suggest checking their website, or in the absence of one you could ring and ask the receptionist if there are any company brochures or reports you could access. Investigate the company's size, products and/or services and their employment and staff policies. Before the interview you should feel that you know the company and what they do and you should be well versed enough to be able to ask questions about anything you are unsure of and converse with the interviewer about their company. Almost always the interviewer will ask you what you know about the company; have prepared a short 2-3 sentence answer to show that you have done your homework, but don't talk too much as one important piece of advice I can give is to let the interviewer do some of the talking - by asking THEM questions you demonstrate your interest and help them to feel comfortable with you!
You also need to be able to articulate to the interviewer the skills and experience you bring to the role and the company. So you need to understand the job functions required and have thought about how you could perform them. If you are unsure of any ambiguities, or have any questions about the tasks you would be required to perform, prepare these BEFORE the interview! Make sure that you know the skills and experience you had listed in your resume (you can likely bet that the interviewer will have checked your resume before the interview), you don't want to give any conflicting information! This is especially important if you change/tailor your resume for each job application - know which version of your resume the interviewer has seen! I always ask the interviewer what they feel would be the skills and attributes of the perfect candidate, this can be very informative and will give you a good feel for what exactly they are looking for!
You should also prepare for the types of questions you will likely be asked, eg:
- what are your strengths,
- what is your previous experience,
- why did you leave your last job,
- how do you handle problems,
- what are your weaknesses.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and in different situations they can be helpful or unhelpful - BUT it is important for the interviewer to know that you are self aware and able to adapt!
Have some of your own questions! Know what you want - do you want flexibility, or assistance from subordinates, or mentoring from senior staff. Do you really understand all that the company does or what will be required of you? Taking the time to have some genuine and pertinent questions always goes over well with an interviewer!
Finally you might want to have a family member of friend help you with a mock interview (or tow or more!), so you can be aware of your body language, your responses, your questions and your reactions. You don't want to be hesitating or umming and ahhing in an interview and likewise you don't want to sound rehearsed and fake - practice so that you are comfortable and able to conduct yourself with poise and polish!
Remember, there is a good balance of you talking and you asking questions and letting the interviewer talk - practicing interviews with others before the real deal is a FANTASTIC way to make sure you are fully prepared!
Have you got any interview tips and techniques you can share with us? Drop us a comment below - we'd love to hear from you!! And remember to look out for our next post "What to do on the day of the interview"