Are you a well-practised interviewee or a newbie on the hunt for your first job?
Whatever the case, preparing for an interview well in advance will ensure you have the best chance of success. Nerve wracking it may well be – but knowing your stuff will help calm the nerves and ensure there are no awkward blunders.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you through:
1. Research and plan
Interviewees who have not taken the time to prepare for an interview often get caught out, so make sure you study for the job by researching the role, and the business. Check out the company’s website and social media pages – and do a search for news items about the business. Knowledge is power so do not skimp here.
Think about some of the questions you might be asked and practice them; you could even ask a friend to do a mock interview, so you get used to the process. It is a good way to test how confident you are with the knowledge you have and gain some valuable feedback pre-interview. If you are working with a recruiter, you can ask what to expect from the interview process.
2. Check yourself out
Almost everyone has a public profile to some extent, but do you know what comes up when you search for yourself? As cultural fit becomes more important for businesses, employers may check out their prospective employees on social media before an interview. Surprisingly few of us take the time to look at what can be seen as part of our online social activity.
Take the time to search yourself and check that your privacy settings on social media are tight. Remember that it only takes minutes for a prospective employer to form an opinion based on what they see online – and that opinion could potentially affect your ability to secure an interview.
3. Arrive early
It can be easy to forget the basic courtesies when we are caught up in the daily grind but turning up late to an interview, or not at all, doesn’t bode well. Being late or ghosting is disrespectful so make sure you plan for the day of the interview. Allow enough time to get ready, check your setup if interviewing online, or allow additional time for travel if it’s in person.
4. Dress code is important
If you are not sure what to wear, check out the company’s website, news page or social media to see what employees are wearing. Check your appearance before you go online or to the interview, and make sure your mobile phone is turned off for virtual and in person.
5. Always ask questions
If you went into the interview armed with questions, wait your turn. In most interviews, the prospective employer will give you the floor towards the end so be patient. It’s best not to ask about things like salary, holidays, and perks until you have secured a second interview. Make sure you have some open-ended questions prepared that demonstrate your interest in the position.
6. Speak positively about others
Refrain from putting other people down including current or previous employers. Remember the adage, ‘if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all?’ Be mindful of this during all job interviews. Always be gracious – at the end of the day any negative comments will be the interviewer’s lasting impression.
Before you leave, it is okay to ask an employer when they expect to decide on a role – it helps both parties clarify timelines and is particularly helpful if you have applied for several jobs.
Once the job interview is over, give yourself a pat on the back. Interviews can be pretty taxing, but employers can usually tell if a prospective employee has taken time to prepare. Remember to thank the interviewer before you leave and make sure you are clear on any information you need to supply post interview. Lastly, let them know you are keen and interested in the role.