Wednesday, 2 May 2012

How To Prepare For A Job Interview



So, you’ve submitted your application and landed yourself an interview - congratulations! It’s not uncommon to feel a sense of panic set in as you realise you need to prepare for the all-important interview. But what exactly should you be doing in the lead up to the interview?

RESEARCH THE COMPANY

It’s important to research the company before the interview so you can prepare yourself to answer any questions. Adequate research will give you some insight into the various aspects of the company including its history, culture, aims, objectives and future plans.

There are a number of ways to research a company but by far the easiest way is via the company’s own website. Seek out as much information as possible eg. read the company’s annual reports, published articles, reports, conference papers and marketing materials. You can also research a company via social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ for example.

Identify:
·         Mission/vision
·         History/background
·         Products/services
·         Management/staff
·         Funding/income sources
·         Issues/challenges
·         Competitors
·         Projects/programmes
·         Customers/clients
·         Store/office locations
·         Plans for the future

If you know people who work for for the company or have done in the past, they’ll be able to give you a unique, insider’s perspective. Just be sure to ask specific questions aimed at extracting the information you need rather than general “What was it like working there?” types of questions. You should aim to ask practical questions such as challenges, advantages, working conditions/benefits, transport/parking, dress code, work culture, management style etc.

RESEARCH THE ROLE

Although you should have already researched the role you are applying for when preparing your application, it’s vital you revisit the role to be sure you have a good understanding of:

  • Tasks/duties/responsibilities (from job advertisement, position description, selection criteria and previous employees)
  • Position within the organisation’s structure
  • Key relationships and stakeholders
  • Physical location of where you will be working

RESEARCH THE INTERVIEW

You should find out the following before the interview:
  • Who will be interviewing you 
  • Where the interview will take place
  • Interview format and how long it will take
  • Travel time to the interview location
  • The most appropriate travel mode to use to ensure you arrive at the interview ten minutes ahead of schedule (is it best to drive and park or should you take public transport?)
  • What to wear (for an office job, you should choose business wear which means a skirt or trouser suit for ladies and a business suit for men. If unsure, ask your career/employment counsellor or agency.)

RESEARCH THE INTERVIEWERS

It’s important to understand who will be interviewing you and the role they play in the company. Getting to know your interviewers before the interview will help you understand what they will be looking for in a new team member. 

Visit the company’s website to learn about them including their role, responsibilities, skills and experience. You can also check out their public LinkedIn, BeKnown and other online profiles to find out more about them. 


FINE TUNE YOUR INTERVIEW SKILLS

No matter how experienced you are, it’s crucial to set aside some time to brush up on your interview skills. Develop some practice questions you think might be asked during the interview and if possible, have someone role-play asking you the questions.

This will enable you to practice your responses and delivery style. It’s also a good idea to develop a list of questions you can ask at the end of the interview. If you need some help, see our guide to the questions you should and shouldn’t ask at an interview.

Professional interview coaching is a highly effective way to prepare for an interview. An interview coach will create customised interview questions and take you through a mock interview for the role you will be interviewing for.

At the end of the mock interview, you’ll receive feedback on your responses and where necessary, be given suggestions on how you can improve your performance. This could be how to answer the questions more effectively, or how to adjust your tone of voice or body language for maximum effect. 

A good interview coach will also provide you with practical strategies to overcome nervousness, answer difficult questions (including behavioural/competency-based, case studies) and how to address an interview panel effectively.  

If you follow these tips and prepare for your interview well, you'll not only feel more confident at your interview but be more likely to perform well. Rather giving less than professional, knee-jerk style responses, you'll be able to answer your interviewer's questions with composure and flair.


Copyright © 2014 CareerWorx

Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(HumServ&Couns), DipCareerGuid,  MCDI/RCDP is a Career & Interview Coach at CareerWorx www.careerworx.co.uk. 

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