Receiving the good news that you have been invited for an interview is the first step in securing your dream role! The next step is to have a great interview and the key to this is to make sure you are prepared. Preparation will ensure that you are able to show all your best qualities and leave a lasting impression.
Here are our top tips:
1. Location of interview
Once you have the interview confirmed it is always a good idea to find out where it is being held, either searching online or going to the offices beforehand. That way you are not panicking on the day if you can’t find it. Make sure you leave enough time on the day and arriving early is always better than late as it is a good indication to the company of your time management and reliability. We would suggest presenting yourself at the location no more than 15 minutes prior to interview. If you are much earlier, find a local coffee shop or wait outside.
2. Who are you meeting?
On the interview confirmation the person conducting the interview should be noted, this will give you the opportunity to research them on LinkedIn and think about the questions that they may ask. Managers, owners and team members will all ask very different questions so that they can get varying information from you. The more information you can get on them, the more prepared you will be on the day. If the person who you are meeting is not specified, it is heavily advised that you request this information prior to the interview.
3. Background on the company
Obtaining information about a company and its history is usually accessible online. How have they grown, who owns them, how have they done financially, what do they do? It is always good to look at what the company does so you can apply what you could bring to the role and company if you were to be hired. For example if you are interviewing for a marketing role – what campaigns have they done, what were your thoughts and what if anything would you change.
4.Your skills and work experience
Make sure you read your CV. This may sound ridiculous but it is good to refresh yourself on all the elements, that way in the interview it will be easier to give examples. Also, it gives you an opportunity to highlight key skills and past successes that can be applied to the role you are interviewing for. On the reverse it also means you can think about situations where you would have done something differently or what you have learnt that you can bring to the new role. Know how long you were at previous roles and the dates you were there, it shows that you can remember information without having to look it up. It is good to have a copy of your CV with you to refer to during the interview and to have a copy to present to the interviewer in the format that you have created it. Some agencies alter CVs and this could eliminate a personal element of your CV that says more about you.
5. Difficult questions
There are questions that come up which everyone can find hard to answer for example:
‘What weaknesses do you have?’ – The answer to this should never be none – it is not a trick question. Take the opportunity to talk about a part of your role that you can improve, explain how and what you would do to improve on this in the future. It could be training or adapting how you work in a certain way to help in the future. Depending on the role, think about turning this into a positive, if you are applying for a fashion designer role a weakness might be your great attention to detail which may be critical to that role.
‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?’ – be realistic but also take the opportunity to talk about your ambitions. It is good to show that you have determination and the desire to progress in your chosen career and develop in the future. Don’t be afraid to suggest that you want more than what the organisation is offering you, but encourage them to see how their long term plans could include your ambition.
All these tips show that being prepared for an interview can be done easily and will mean you are the candidate that leaves a great lasting impression, so you are at the top of the list for the next stage of the process or even better the all-important job offer!