Getting yourself interview-ready involves so much more than printing your resume, putting on a suit and planning your journey. Interview preparation involves time, energy and initiative. Research shows that most candidates don’t prepare properly for interviews with only 1 in 4 candidates thinking about the type of questions they might be asked before they attend an interview*.
So with a little work you can make sure you out-shine your competition. Just follow these steps to make sure you’re ready for interview:
What does the organisation do and what do they want to achieve in the future? Have they been in the news recently?
Tip: Note down what you don’t know but want to know – add it to your list of questions to ask in the interview.
It is extremely difficult to prepare properly for an interview if you don’t know what the role involves.
Tip: Get a second opinion from a friend on how they interpret the role.
Make notes about what the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate.
Tip: Use the job advertisement, selection criteria and your experience to help you do this.
Will it be an informal chat, a group assessment or a panel interview? How long should you allow for the interview?
Tip: Don’t assume you don’t need to prepare for informal chats.
Make sure you know where you’re going and plan your route, mode of transport and departure time. Allow plenty of extra time for unexpected travel delays.
Tip: Take a map and contact numbers with you just in case you need them en-route.
Select an outfit that is appropriate for the role and organisation. Remove or cover personal items that may give a less than favourable first impressions like tattoos and piercings.
Tip: If in doubt, choose smarter rather than more casual attire.
Prepare, personalise and practice
Interview questions are your opportunity to shine. Giving ‘model’ answers to questions, waffling and whingeing are just some of the common mistakes that will see you cut from the selection process pretty swiftly. Prepare and personalise your interview performance by asking yourself:
Be clear on the reasons why this job and organisation is the right next step for you.
Tip: You need to be very specific here to show you’ve really thought about the role and why the match is right.
It’s not all about you. For this new relationship to work there needs to be something in it for the employer. Make sure you’re clear on what you have to offer and how this will benefit you in the role and, therefore, benefit the organisation.
Tip: Make links where possible to the selection criteria but DON’T make up a list based purely on the selection criteria without considering how you personally operate.
What is it about you that makes you a stand out choice?
Tip: Think about what you have that others might not.
If you don’t have all the listed skills, experience or qualifications, prepare yourself to talk about these gaps and how you will overcome them.
Tip: If you can take even small steps to bridge any gaps before your interview this will show you are proactive and committed to your learning and the job in question.
Make a list of past professional experiences or achievements that will help you prove your skills and suitability for the role including your ability to meet the selection criteria.
Tip: Use impressive examples. Times when you have overcome challenges are great.
Based on steps 1-3, make up some likely interview questions and prepare some responses. If you don’t know how to do this, check my blog for a guide.
Tip: Don’t shy away from those questions you don’t want to answer!
Prepare some questions to ask in the interview; ones that will help you work out whether the job is right for you.
Tip: It’s fine to take a list of questions in with you to the interview.
To gain more confidence practice responding the questions and talking about your skills, experience, attributes and achievements out loud.
Tip: Stand in front of a mirror to do this or record yourself on your phone and then play it back.
* Source: http://www.michaelpage.co.uk/news-and-research/media-releases/job-candidates-failing-to-prepare-beyond-first-impressions