How to Prepare for Interviews

Interview preparation should fall into 3 categories – yourself, the company and the process. Use the information below and our “Interview, Now What?” template to help guide your preparation

Yourself

You have to know yourself inside out. This sounds like common sense, but it’s often harder than it first seems. You have to be able to line yourself up against the job specification and critically analyse where your strengths and weaknesses are. Take time to think and practice clear and concise answers to address each.

You also have to make sure you can comfortably talk through your work history – when you’re changing industry, it’s important that you not only tell the interviewer what your roles have been before, but how they relate to the position you’re applying for. You may think it’s obvious, but there’s the chance your interviewer knows very little about your previous role, so spell out the similarities. Don’t leave them guessing.

Additionally, you should be able to give a confident overview of yourself in 5 minutes, many interviewers use this as a way of beginning an interview and letting you settle down – be aware of what your key points are.

The Company

Before you set off for an interview, you need to gather as much information as possible. You have to be able to show that even though you’ve not done this specific role in this industry before, you have a good idea of what it is and what it involves.

Have a look at the company’s website, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and talk to anyone who knows something about the company. What you’re after is a well-rounded view of the company, what they do and how they function. Not only does this help you look prepared and confident to the employer, it also helps you decide that this is a company you would enjoy working for.

Asking what you know about the company is often one of the opening questions in an interview – take the opportunity to do more than just relay a list of facts. Tell them why knowing this makes you want to work for them, what makes you a good fit or what can you add to the pursuit of their company goals. You can easily use this question to get an excellent start to your interview.

The Interview Process
Don’t be afraid to ask about the process – you’ve got to know what you’re preparing for

  • Are you only meeting one interviewer?
  • What is their position within the company?
  • Is there a set structure to the interview?
  • Will there be any assessments or psychometric tests within this interview?
  • How long is the interview scheduled to last?

Preparing effectively will give you confidence going into that all important interview. Even if you’ve asked all the above questions, expect the unexpected! Remember that no two interviews are ever the same and you can’t guarantee any part of it. So be sure make the most of every opportunity given to you throughout the process and be clear on the key things you want someone to know about you.

Also ask about the rest of the process

  • Are they making a selection based on these interviews alone?
  • Is there a second stage of interviewing?
  • Are there tests/assessments to do on a separate occasion?

These are all things you are perfectly entitled to ask and should be – having a clear idea of the process lets you confidently focus best on each task in turn with no surprises.