Interview Prep 101: Back to Basics
Your CV has received great feedback, you’ve passed the telephone screening and finally been invited to interview. However it’s not time to celebrate just yet; there’s still a lot of work to be done before you land the job.
Job interviews can be stressful and nerve-racking but good preparation will make the process much easier for you. If you have an interview coming up, StandOut CV have created this useful step-by-step guide for simple yet effective interview preparation.
A few days before the interview
The days that lead up to your job interview are extremely important, as this is when you should be doing the bulk of your preparation work. Don’t leave everything until the night before, it’s not worth the risk.
Firstly you need to ensure that you research the company in detail, as 82% of interviewers will reject a candidate if they don’t understand the employer’s business at interview stage. You need to understand what products or services they offer, who their customers are, the company culture and who their key people are. You can use a number of channels to do your research including web searches, the company site and social media. If the role is being handled by a recruiter, you can also ask them for some inside information.
You also need to ensure that you fully understand the role being offered, because if you don’t there is only 5% chance that you will be offered the job. Study the job description and learn the goal of the role, who you will be reporting to, tools and software required and any product or service knowledge needed.
Once you are familiar with the company and the role, you need to understand what makes you a good fit for the role. Compare your CV with the job spec and make notes on how your experience, skills and knowledge match up. Doing this will enable you to answer any questions you may get asked around suitability.
Interviewers will usually be keen to ask about your weaknesses so take some time to learn your skills gaps and how you plan to work around them in the role. If you have a significant journey to travel to the interview, plan your journey a few days in advance and even look into back up routes in case there are travel delays on the day. If you have time, it may even be worth doing a practice journey, as being just 5 minutes late could cost you the job.
Practice answering some common interview questions so that they do not come as a surprise at the time. The 3 most popular interview questions are:
- Why should we hire you?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
These questions will definitely arise in some form or another, so make sure you have some answers prepared.
The night before the interview
The night before the interview should be fairly relaxed as you’ve done most of your preparation beforehand. Go over your preparation notes and the job spec to make sure it’s all fresh in your mind but don’t stress too much. Plan your outfit to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions in the morning and ensure that everything is washed and looks sharp. You should also pack a smart bag or folder with all your interview essentials such as your CV, the job spec and a pen and note pad. Most healthy adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep to perform at their best so get to sleep as early as you can once you’re fully prepared.
About the author: Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV writing service StandOut CV.