How to prepare yourself for a job interview
Being interviewed does not have to be a daunting experience if you prepare yourself well in advance.
With most interviews, preparation is key.
Practice being interviewed by friends or family members. You could go one better and have a professional person you know interview you. You will be surprised by the kind of questions you could be asked. This method will help you become more relaxed, get your mind working and help you to work on those difficult questions.
Follow this guide to prepare yourself
1. The day before
- Get your outfit ready. Make sure it’s clean, smells good and is ready to wear.
- Research the company you are applying to work for. Head to the companies website and look for reviews on whether they are good employer. Good sites to find reviews about UK companies are Glassdoor and Indeed. You could check the background of the person interviewing you if they have a profile on LinkedIn.
- Read through the job specification given to you by your recruitment agency so that when you are asked questions in the interview, you can say exactly what they need to hear.
- Read through your CV. See where you can point out similarities in the job spec in your CV. Highlight those similarities with a pen. You can always refer to this during the interview.
- Print off your CV and the job specification. Put them both in your bag/briefcase.
- If you need to bring ID with you, put your passport or driving licence in your bag/briefcase.
- Put a pen in your bag/briefcase (you may need it).
- Plan your route to the interview (if at all possible physically rehearse the route so that you know exactly how long it is going to get there. Check there is available parking if you decide to drive). Make sure you have change for a parking meter if need be.
- If travelling by London Transport check that there are no works planned on your route.
- Charge your mobile phone.
- Go to bed early and get a good nights sleep.
2. The day of the interview
- Get up early, shower and dress yourself well. Put on your best suit/interview attire, have clean nails and hair and make sure you look well.
- Check that there are no issues with London Transport (if this is how you are travelling) and/or check that there are no problems with your route if driving.
- Double check you have your documents/ID with you.
- Leave 15 minutes earlier than you normally would just in case you do encounter any issues on your route. It is always better to get to the interview at least 15 minutes earlier than expected. It shows enthusiasm and that you are well prepared.
- If you have time, read through the job specification again and any reviews of the company. You can do this on the train or in the 15 minutes before your interview.
3. When you arrive at the company
- Take off your coat and bag. Place them both over your left arm (if you are right handed or on your right arm if you are left handed). This enables you to greet the person with a handshake without it being an awkward exchange.
- Smile and shake the persons hand firmly but not too harshly. This shows confidence.
- When you take a seat, sit comfortably. Do not slouch, sit forward slightly. This shows that you are interested in speaking with the interviewer.
- Before you speak, take a breath and think very clearly about what you want to say. If you find yourself rushing and babbling, stop, be calm and continue. If you need to, you can always apologise and say you are slightly nervous.
- When prompted (or not prompted) ask at least two job based questions. Two good questions would be “what was the previous person like“, “where will I be situated in the office“, “what will the person I will be working for expect of me as a [insert whatever job title you applying for]“
- Ask when and how you will be advised of the outcome of your interview.
- At the end of the interview make sure you take the time to thank the person interviewing you. You could say “thank you for meeting with me today“.
4. Following the interview
Call your agency straight away to give them feedback as to how you feel the interview went. The agency will then call the company for their feedback and they should come back to you. Do not be afraid to chase the agency the following morning for a response. This shows your interest and enthusiasm about the position you have applied for.
If you interviewed with the company direct and not through an agency, call them 24 hours after they have finished interviewing all candidates. This shows your interest and enthusiasm about the position you have applied for.
If you got the job
Well done! You will now need to formally accept the position either over the telehone or by email/writing. You should expect an offer letter to sign and send back to the company with your start date and salary details. If there are any problems with the contents of this offer letter, you must raise this with the company before you accept the position. Once you sign and return it, you are committing to this start date and the salary stated on the letter.
If you didn’t get the job
Ask the agency or the company for feedback by email. The agency or employer should be able to tell you why you was not successful. It could be because you were too nervous or that you didn’t come across very well. Whatever the reason, work on it. Keep your chin up and go for more interviews, practice makes perfect!
Please recommend this article to anyone you know who may be going through the same process.