How to properly prepare for a job interview
For many, job interviews can be uncomfortable, nerve-wracking or even frightening experiences. Sitting in an unfamiliar room with new people being asked complicated questions that ask you to recall tiny, minute details about previous jobs that you may have left years and years ago… Even the coolest of cucumbers is likely to get a little rattled! But is there any way to avoid it? While you may not be able to completely eradicate all your pre-interview jitters, getting as organised as possible beforehand is sure to help waylay your anxiety, even if it’s just a little. As the old adage states – prior preparation prevents poor performance! So what steps can you take to help make sure you’re walking into that interview as confident as you can possibly be?
Plan your outfit, and dress to impress!
Sometimes an interview can catch you off guard and you’ll only have a day or so to prepare. A lot of the time, however, you will have a week or so before you’re asked to come in, so take advantage of that by taking the time to plan your outfit. Don’t just assume you have something to wear and realise at the last minute that it’s got a huge stain down it or shrunk in the wash! This will also enable you to shop around if you do need to buy something new, which avoids the pinch of potentially spending more than you wanted because you don’t have time to find anything else. Taking the time to put an outfit together that suits the job, suits your budget (if you need to get anything new) and makes you feel good will make the world of difference in how you feel about yourself when you go into that interview, which is key to presenting yourself positively and confidently.
Do your research and learn some key facts by heart
It might be your worst nightmare, but the reality is a lot of interviewers will open by asking you what you know about the company, and if you’re not prepared it will no doubt get your interview off to a bad start. It can be overwhelming when trying to research a company from scratch, and with so much to take in, prioritising what to remember and then successfully recalling it in a stressful situation is no easy feat. To narrow things down, try to find out some information that pertains to your prospective role or department within the company. It’s also a good idea to try and remember when the company was formed and what its values or company ethos are. The important thing to remember is that interviews are not a memory test. Generally, if you spend enough time reading up about the company you will naturally take in information that you might recall without even realising within the interview. It will be clear that you have put in the effort to know your stuff, which is the most important thing.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and start a conversation
What many people find most uncomfortable about interviews is the basic question and answer format they tend to follow. Remember – an interview is the company’s chance to get to know you, so if you’re curious about something and want to know more – ask! This will also go a long way to starting a conversation, which is a more natural way of communicating, which should help calm your nerves and put you at ease. During your company research, if you want to know more about something, write it down and ask it at the end of the interview. Showing genuine passion and interest will set you above other candidates who have potentially been more reserved or not done enough research. It’s inevitable during more consultative based interviews that the question and answer format will form part of the overall interview process, but being more at ease and relaxed will enable you to more confidently answer these more difficult kinds of questions.
Plan your journey in advance
There’s nothing worse than doing everything you can to smash an interview, but being let down by a late bus or a lift that was promised but not delivered. No matter what mode of transport you take – PLAN! Check the bus times and take an earlier bus, you might have to hang around a little, but you’ll be on time! If you’re taking a taxi, book it the day before and ensure you’ve researched how long the drive could take and allowed enough time. This is the same if you’re going to drive yourself in. The bottom line is there is no exuse for any lateness if you get organised, except maybe an act of God, but the company will likely forgive you if you get struck by lightning on your way to the interview.
The point here is simple – don’t wing it, plan and prepare and that interview is your oyster! Good luck job hunters!