How to Prepare for an Interview

Congratulations! You’ve secured an interview, but how should you prepare?

Here are our 8 steps to ensure you’re fully prepared and ready to ace the interview.

Step 1. Research the company

Review their website, their LinkedIn page, YouTube and other SM platforms, any news online, if they are a public company have a read of the Chairperson’s and/or CEO’s statement from their last AGM it will tell you lots about the company, their performance, their challenges, and their aims.

Ask yourself,

  • Do you know what they do?
  • How do they make their sales?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What do they specialise in?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • What are their current projects?
  • Have they been acquired / or acquiring other businesses?

Exercise – write down 2 or 3 things you like or admire about the company – they are bound to ask why you want to work there.

Step 2. Research your interviewer(s)

Look at their personal LinkedIn pages, connect with them, what do they comment on and ‘like’?

Where do they fit in the company, how long have they been there? Where did they work previously?

Based on this, what questions might you want to ask them? Remember this is a two-way process and you’re doing your due diligence on them too.

Step 3. Review the Job Description and evidence your experience

Your interview is for a specific role, ensure you know everything the interviewer and company need for that role, the full job description and person specification and skills required.

Identify your ‘selling points’ prior to the interview, make notes for you to refer to of all your experience against each role requirement, pull out experiences from your work history where you can demonstrate you have knowledge of each part of the role, ‘I have’, ‘my team achieved…’ ‘I saved x amount by doing…’ ‘evidence of my success in this area is …’

Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns and reservations. If you don’t have all the experience required look into that area more, how could you develop that experience, who could support you to learn that area. Be prepared if they question your lack of experience in that area and you can explain that it’s part of the reason you’re interested…”I’d like to get more exposure and experience into employee relations/recruitment/projects etc”.

Step 4. Prepare answers for their possible questions

Having reviewed the JD and Person Spec you will be prepared for this, but in addition find out the structure of the interview, how many stages? Is it competency based? Can you get examples of the type of questions normally asked for this type of role?

The interview is a chance to show your knowledge and skills but also your personality, so personal projects you’ve developed, or examples from hobbies or interests that are relevant to the role might be worth sharing.

There are some standard questions not related directly to the job, including, what is your greatest strength or weakness, try to avoid the standard answers to this, they are expecting you to say ‘I am a perfectionist’. Really think about this and tie it in to where you may need extra training, but don’t go too far, you don’t want to put them off!

Step 5. Prepare questions for the interviewer

You will be asked if you have any questions and it’s essential you have some ready for them! We’ve known candidates not be progressed due to not having some questions.

These show the interviewer you are interested and this is also probably the best chance you have to find out if this company and role is for you. Here’s some examples…

  • “What are the key objectives for this role?”
  • “How does the role fit within the wider organisation?”
  • “What are the longer-term ambitions / projects / plans of the organisation?”
  • “What does the induction look like and what are the ongoing training opportunities?”
  • “How would you describe the culture here?”
  • “What are the next steps in the process?”
  • “What’s your favourite part about working here?”
  • “What are the biggest challenges you have faced with the company?”
  • “Is there anything else you would like me to talk through or give more details about?”

Step 6. Do you need extra support?

If you need special access or additional materials to be arranged for your interview, let the client know prior to your interview.

Step 7. Plan what you’re going to wear?

The last thing you need is a frantic outfit hunt on the morning of the interview. Planning what to wear a few days beforehand will let you focus on the important things.

Step 8. Plan your journey to the company or their ‘virtual interview platform’

If your interview is in person you need to be early for your interview and not arrive flustered having had problems finding them. Make sure you know where you are going and how long it takes to get there. Add on extra time so you are totally covered.

If it is online, ensure you have a full battery and all the information to log on including passwords and any apps required, and log on 5 minutes before, they will ‘let you in’ when their ready. Extra points for using a cable, rather than possibly temperamental WiFi signal.

Good luck, you’ve got this!