Get ready to shine at interview time
Great news – you’ve been selected for an interview! Your CV has done the trick, and your covering letter clearly wowed the employer. Now for the next step – the interview.
You can never be too prepared for your first meeting with your potential employer. The first thing you need to establish is the type of interview which you’ll be having. It will fall into one of a few potential categories:
• One-to-one interview
• Telephone interview
• Video interview
• Panel interview
• Group interview
While the one-to-one scenario is the most likely, all forms of interview will require you to be ready to make a stunning first impression.
Prepare anyone you’ve listed as a referee, letting them know that they may be receiving a request for a reference. Some employers like to collect these before you go for interview, and you’ll want your referee to be ready to give the best reference they can.
Have another look at the job description for the role you’ve applied for. Be absolutely sure you can tell your interviewer how your interests, experiences and skills make you the right person for their job.
If there’s something potentially problematic on your CV, such as why you left an employer, or a gap where you weren’t working, think about how you will explain that to your interviewer.
You can’t beat reading the company’s website for learning more about them, but don’t forget to see if they’ve got any other online presences which might be useful. Are they on Facebook or Twitter? What are people saying to them, and about them? While you’re there, look for things like any financial reports, or strategies on community involvement or social responsibility. These will be excellent talking points.
Some of the most important things to prepare for are the questions and consider the best way to answer. Google is your friend here, particularly if you’re going into a competitive industry. There are a lot of websites which list the current popular questions asked in each industry. Some of them are very unusual, so giving yourself a head start will give you an edge on other candidates.
Should this be your attempt to break into a new industry, make sure you know plenty about it – its history, big names, any competitors to be aware of and news reports detailing key events. Even if you’re already involved in the sector, it’s a good idea to keep on top of current trends and predictions for the future.
A lot of interviews finish with the interviewer asking if you have any questions for them. Why not turn this around by thinking of some questions to put them on the spot – “What do you like about working here?” or “What opportunities do you offer for professional development?” It will give you the chance to make more detailed judgements about the company and how it treats its staff.
Re-read your CV to remind yourself exactly what you’ve told your interviewer about yourself, and so you can give examples of your skills and achievements.
Get a good night’s sleep before the big day. Pack all the items you think you’ll need, such as notebook, pen, photo ID and any official documents which have been requested. Avoid excessive drinking, no matter how nervous you are, and make sure you know your route to the interview, whether that’s by public transport, taxi, or your own vehicle. Allow plenty of extra travelling time, because you’ll want to arrive at least ten minutes early. If you go in prepared for success, you’re far more likely to achieve it!