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Preparing for Interviews

When I think of this the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin comes to mind – “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Although, we do not know exactly which questions will be asked in any interview, preparation is KEY if you really want to show your potential employer that you have the right skills, knowledge and achievements fit for the company.

In this current market, the number of people looking for work is at an all-time high, so when you are called in for an interview you should be proud and excited. However, do not be complacent and think that the hard work is over, as you only have one chance to make a great first impression during an interview!

So how do you prepare for an interview? Read on to give yourself the best chance of getting that next role.

Know who you are

If you have been following us for the past 7 weeks you would have gone through the extensive process of truly understanding who you are – your passions, drive and motivation. In addition to, knowing what skills and knowledge you possess (and any gaps), your achievements and competencies, your personal brand, as well as, your goals and vision for your future career. Having a clear understanding of this will be beneficial when asked questions like why should we hire you? How can you add value to the role? or tell me a bit about yourself. It is also important to note, that you should always have examples mentally prepared to demonstrate your value and achievements and out of the box experience related to the job. Provide depth to you answers but be concise. The most informed candidates also understand their shortcomings and demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow.

Research the company

Start off by having a look at the company website. Review the content on their homepage, in particular in the about us, services and blog sections. This will provide you with the core understanding of the company, their history, the team and any latest news. Next, have a look at the company online presence. Do their posts match their brand and the image they are portraying on their website. Google the company, looking out for any third-party views, Glassdoor reviews from employees, look for news articles or information that may be of use when developing questions at your interview. The research on the company may prove invaluable at your interview and may actually impact whether or not you choose to work for the company.

Understand the role

It sounds simple but my one big piece of advice to you is to always have a look at the job description and advert prior to your interview. This will ensure that you have a complete understanding about what the role entails, such as, what are your day to day responsibilities, who you will you be working with and what decisions would you be making. Furthermore, having a look at the job description will allow you to identify which hard and soft skills you need to highlight for your potential employer in the interview and ensure you have STAR examples ready.

Prepare questions around the job role and practice answering these questions. You want to make sure you share your specific understanding about the job and briefly relate your specific skills to the role. This way, the manager will see your specific interest and how you are uniquely qualified for the job.

Prepare for the environment

Familiarise yourself with where the interview will be and give yourself plenty of time to arrive so you can get your thoughts together and calm the nerves! The informed candidate will know the type of interview that is forthcoming. Is it a panel interview? based on competency questions. More on this next week. Get to know the interviewers, have a look on at their online presence, the types of businesses they have worked in, their career history. See if there is any connections you can bring out in an interview.

Know the industry

All industries have their own unique terminology and trends. Familiarising yourself with industry-specific terminology may help during your interview. Although you may not have the sector experience you may be able to talk about how this knowledge applies to the work you’ve done in previous positions. Also, another way to impress your potential employer is to show your understanding of the market and any upcoming trends that will potentially affect them as a business. You can be sure that your interviewer will be impressed.

Informed candidates are well prepared. They not only prepare to know themselves like the back of their hand, but they also prepare on the future role, the prospective company and familiarise themselves with the marketplace. Additionally, they review the sector and understand the future prospects and business challenges for the prospective employee. The market-savvy candidate will prepare questions to ensure they too would be happy to work for the new company, as they recognise its a mutually relationship which will benefit both parties.


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