Preparing For An interview In 6 Simple Steps
As someone who has been to more interviews than I can count, I have the experience (hopefully!) to give some useful tips. I’ve been to interviews in small shops and cinemas, as well as big corporate companies, and honestly they all kind of want the same thing of you. So now you”re past that dull application form and you’ve got through to an actual interview with an actual person, how do you prepare?
1. Read up on the company. No matter where you go, people like to know you’ve done your research, so just spend half an hour researching the company. You don’t need to remember everything, but if you can just remember when the company started, what their biggest selling point is or how much profit the company ran at last year it’s a start. It will give you the upper hand over the person sat next to you who may have not done their research.
2. References. Provided they haven’t already asked you, the company may ask for your references. Get at least two written down before you head off to the interview. I tend to go for my former employer and one of my university lecturers. I’ve been asked this a couple of times and it just saves time and googling if it is already written down.
3. Prepare answers. There are a few main questions you can always plan for in an interview. Make sure you have your answers planned for these questions. The top four I’ve been asked are: “tell us your greatest achievement”; “explain when you used your leadership skills”; “what is your biggest strength/weakness” and “what do you know about the role”.
4. Dress to impress. Be it a shelf stacker or a CEO of a big brand company, make sure you dress to impress. You don’t have to go in your Sunday best, but I have seen people go to job interviews in a hoody, jeans and trainers which isn’t very impressive to employers. A simple shirt, trousers and proper shoes are fine and looks way more impressive than trainers.
5. Plan your travel. Make sure you plan to arrive at your interview about 10-15 minutes early. Any earlier you will just be a bit of a burden on the company; they want you to be keen but would you really turn up to work half an hour early? If you’re like me and seem to always be early then look into the closest coffee shop. But bring mints for your coffee breath! Make sure you know if you’re taking public transport, driving or walking to your interview. Even if you’re walking, there could be a closed footpath you don’t know about.
6. Be yourself. Yes, I am going to use that line. It is so true! I have got most of my positions by just being me – I am not one to sit there and pretend I know what I am talking about when I don’t. Be funny and charming. Companies want someone with a personality, so make sure yours shines through when answering.
Now take this information and go forth and get that job! And if you get a rejection, don’t let it knock you back. Keep going and you will get the job you want, even if it takes a little longer.