Many of our clients ask us about how they should prepare effectively for an interview. It is often the case that you are well qualified and knowledgeable, ticking all the boxes when it comes to the candidate profile but you fall short when it comes to the face-to-face discussion.
If interview nerves also get in the way, then the best way to avoid this is by being very well prepared. When you know what nothing can go wrong and that whatever questions are thrown at you, your answers will be spot on, and then nerves tend to quickly dissipate. In-depth preparation is often all that stands between you being offered the job or losing it.
So where do you start?
Begin by getting an overview of your skills and accomplishments, all of which should be shown on your CV. Research the company offering you the job and also look carefully at the specification of the role as well as the person. Practice some basic interview questions and make your appearance smart and professional.
So let’s assume that your CV has done the trick and that you have an interview lined up for your ideal job. You need to be ready to discuss things that you have shown on your CV, including talking about your experiences to date. Think about ways that you can match your competences against those that the employer is looking for. Whatever type of job you are going for, many interview questions tend to be used over and over again i.e. ‘Why do you feel that you are right for this position?’ ‘What are your strengths/weaknesses?’ ‘Tell us about a time that you helped a colleague at work and the outcome.’ When you are pushed to talk about past experiences, refrain from talking too much and do your best to tie the answer to the question into something related to the new job.
Look right for the role
You need to be calm and poised but also enthusiastic. When they ask if you have any questions for them, make sure you have a short list prepared. These should be related to your research on the company, thereby showing them that you have done your homework. Never ask about the salary or perks of the job!
Interview attire is fairly simple to organise. Depending upon the culture of the company, a formal business suit may not always be necessary. Sometimes just corporate casual is best. Be comfortable in what you wear, make it non-fussy and ladies should refrain from skirts that are too short or heels too high. It’s all about looking good but uncluttered. You want the person on the other side of the desk to remember you for a whole load of positive reasons, not negative ones.
It’s the first impression that counts
Finally, check the location of the interview and get there on time. It’s a good idea to take a folder with you containing a copy of your CV, their job description and a pad for notes. Be prepared, jot down a few notes if it helps but don’t go overboard. The most important thing is that you make a good first impression when you first walk into the room and carry that through the whole of the interview.
If they offer their hand as an introduction, make sure that your handshake is firm and confident. Do all possible to present yourself as the perfect employee for them.
If you have an important interview coming up and need some coaching in effective techniques, get in touch. We are here to help and advise and ensure that you get the best shot at securing the job of your dreams.