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Preparing for an interview can be a daunting task, especially when you’ve been out of practice for a while. Below, one of our experienced Recruitment Consultants, Decland Wren, outlines key things to keep in mind when undertaking your preparations.
The interviewer is looking for someone who is interested in the company and can genuinely demonstrate that they want to be there. The best way to prove this is to research the company as much as you can. This will encompass the history of the company, the management team, who their customers and competitors are, and any relevant ‘latest news’.
You’ll find conversation with the interviewer will flow a lot easier this way and you can add more value to the discussion. Demonstrating your knowledge and interest in the company will convince the interviewer that you’re a good cultural fit and reinforce that you would add value to the business.
Study the job description carefully and identify the aspects which you will be able to talk about the most. In your preparation, it’s useful to draw comparisons between your past experience and the role you’re applying for, so that you are prepared to highlight these during the interview. Also, determine which aspects of the role you’re unsure about or would like clarification around, so that this can be addressed in the first interview stage.
A lot of times a job title can mean different things for different companies, that’s why it’s important to do some research into the specific role you’re interviewing for and understand the nuances of how the role fits into the business.
Know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Always have a backup plan in case of an emergency and set off roughly 30 minutes early just to be on the safe side. Worst comes to worst, you can always grab a coffee or cup of tea and revise your key points if you’re early.
Being late for an interview doesn’t make a great first impression, so it’s best to try and avoid it. Equally, if you’re running late, it’s likely that you’ll be flustered and uneasy, which isn’t a good start to the interview either.
Firstly, find out what the culture of the office is. More and more companies these days have a relaxed office culture and are promoting casual dress codes. That being said, even if it is a casual office, it’s still best to dress smart and professional, even if it is just for the interview.
Organising what you’re going to wear beforehand gives you enough time to relax in the morning and reduce unnecessary stress – instead of running around trying to find the iron 10 minutes before you’re meant to leave.
It’s impossible to know exactly what is going to be brought up in the interview. However taking clues from the job description, your resume, and some light online research, should enable you to sufficiently prepare. Look over the core aspects and responsibilities of the role, and brainstorm examples of when you have undertaken similar responsibilities in the past.
More and more interviewers are focusing on Behavioural Based questioning, whereby the interviewer asks you to describe a situation where you have encountered a certain problem and explain how you dealt with it.
There are definitely moments in which you’ll have to think on your feet but preparing answers and examples prior to the interview, will leave you feeling more prepared.
It’s important to prepare a list of questions that you can ask the interviewer at the conclusion of the conversation. In case no additional questions come to mind throughout the interview, it’s great to be prepared with questions beforehand. It’s imperative to leave the interview on a positive note and to reassure the interviewer of your interest.
These questions could be as simple as ‘What would a typical day in the life of this role look like?’, ‘How would you describe the culture at this organisation?’ or ‘What are the team like?’.
Sending a thank you email is a great way to reaffirm your interest in the role and highlight your eagerness to hear back from them. Either this email will make you stand out, if no one else sends a thank you email, or it will put you on an equal playing field, if everyone else sent a thank you email. Either way, there’s no harm. It signifies that you genuinely want the job and are well-mannered and enthusiastic.
This is also a good chance to determine when you should expect to hear back from the company – if you didn’t get a chance in the interview. As this will help you identify an appropriate time to follow up.
Ultimately, the key to succeeding in an interview is being well prepared and knowledgeable about the company and role. You need to be able to accurately articulate why you would be a good fit and how you would add value to the business. Additionally, confidence, punctuality, and kindness, also go a long way.
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