The first rule of job interview preparation? There’s no such thing as too much job interview preparation…
More than half of us admit to leaving a job interview feeling as if our preparation wasn’t up-to-scratch. And with so much to remember before the big day, it’s easy to see how some people can find themselves overwhelmed.
To help take some of the hard work out of your hands, here’s our comprehensive pre-interview checklist:
1. Research, research, research
Chances are that you did a fair amount of research on the company when you first applied for the job. However, it’s not just the general stuff a recruiter expects you to know. It’s time to get granular.
Do as much as you can to learn about the market the business is in, find out some specifics about your role, and even look up more about your interviewer if you’re feeling brave (on LinkedIn, not Facebook). Remember: you’re researching, not stalking.
2. Practice your route
Some people like leaving things to the last minute. Interviewers do not like these people.
That’s because it’s these sorts of people who will often leave the journey as an afterthought, usually ending up struggling to navigate their phone’s GPS as they make the mad-dash to arrive at the interview on time.
Find out how to get where you need to go, and practice the journey if you have time. Trust us. It’s worth every extra minute just to avoid the awkward chit-chat when you arrive 10 minutes late.
3. Polish your interview answers
Being caught off-guard by an unconventional interview question is every job seeker’s worst nightmare.
Unfortunately you can’t always predict what questions will come up. Luckily, we’ve gathered together some of the best, ranging from old classics like ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ time’ through to ‘what animal would you be, and why?’, to help you prepare for every eventuality.
Not sure any of these questions will come up? Don’t panic. We’ve got plenty more…
Download James Reed’s new book: Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again and learn to ace every one that comes your way.
4. Prepare your own questions
One of the keys to success at any interview is learning to treat it like a two-way conversation.
An employer doesn’t just want to see how you can stand up to their interrogation, but also see if you can give as good as you get. It also demonstrates how much you really want the role.
In fact, nine out of ten recruiters we surveyed agreed that candidates should come with some pre-prepared questions for every interview.
So think what you’d really like to know about the role, and write it down. Or you could just read our list of questions you should be asking. That too.
5. Get your outfit sorted
How you look at an interview plays a big part in giving out a good first impression.
Underdress, and you’ll look as if you’re not taking the role as seriously as you should. Overdress, and you’ll potentially stand out as a bad fit for the team.
Our advice is to go with something slightly smarter than the company’s everyday attire. And it doesn’t always mean a suit. If you’re struggling, call ahead of time and ask for guidance from someone in their HR team, or take a trip to the office in advance.
Just try not to hang around too long… (See: stalking).
6. All the extras
Think of anything else you may need to take with you to the interview.
For example, a copy of your CV is always handy if you need a point of reference for your accomplishments, and a pad and pen may be useful if any written tasks happen to come up.
Other optional extras could include, but are not limited to, the following: certificates or records of achievement, a reference from a previous employer, client testimonials, a bottle of water, breath mints (trust us), a small but particularly stylish umbrella.
Go with your instincts.
7. On the day
On the day of the interview, leave yourself as much time as possible to finish off your preparations.
Have a balanced breakfast/lunch/brunch/all of the above, take your time getting ready, leave the house in plenty of time, and arrive to the building early.
Once you’re in, there’s no turning back. Be as friendly and polite as possible from the outset, and greet everyone you meet warmly. You never know who the receptionist might be reporting to.
Finally, try your best to relax and enjoy the experience.
We know it’s often easier said than done, but the more confident you come across, the more likely you are to put your interviewer at ease.
And with the preparation taken care of, there should be nothing left to worry about…
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