The first essential step towards a successful interview is your preparation. The short time you spend in an interview can dramatically impact whether you get the job and your career prospects. That’s why it’s so important to perform at your best and leave a great first impression. In today’s world, during this pandemic, it is more likely that your interview will be conducted digitally instead of the traditional face-to-face interview. Either way, it can be very daunting, especially if you are required to submit a pre-recorded video.
The more prepared you are for your interview, the more confident you are going to come across. You need to be able to sell yourself and the skills you can bring to the business. This may not come naturally for some people. So what can you do to prepare for an interview? We have the following tips to help you out:
- Go over the job ad and the position description
As part of your preparation, thoroughly read the Job Ad and the Position Description. Suppose the position description has not been included. In that case, you could either ask for it to be sent to you before your interview or Google the position you are applying for so you have a good understanding of the role and expectations. Align your skills and experience to the requirements of the role as you need to demonstrate to the interviewer that you can do the job.
- Do your research about the company
Do as much research as you can about the company. Take a good look at their website and social media platforms. Read up about their Mission, Vision and Values and who works for the organisation. Learn about their products and services. Doing your research will help you answer questions like “What do you know about our company?” or “Why would you like to work for us?” Understanding the company values will reinforce whether they align with your values and passion and whether you want to help deliver on those.
- Think about the questions you may be asked and rehearse your answers
Spend the time to think about the questions you may be asked and how you can confidently answer them. Through asking questions, the interviewer is trying to determine why you are interested in the job or the company, what you can offer them and whether you can do the job.
You won’t know the exact questions that will be asked, but make sure you can confidently talk about yourself, your experience – work and life experiences, employability skills, strengths, interests, etc.
Prepare a list of common interview questions and rehearse your responses out loud. Practice with a family member, a friend or in front of a mirror. The more time you spend rehearsing your answers, the more confident you will feel and will help you stay comfortable in an interview.
You may be asked behavioural interview questions where the interviewer wants you to provide a real-life example of a situation you were in, your responsibility, what action you took and the result or outcome. Again, you won’t know exactly what questions will be asked, but it’s a good idea to come prepared with a few examples you can use and adapt in the interview.
These types of questions can start with, “Can you give me an example of….” or “Tell me about a time when…” etc. For example, “Tell me about a time when you handled a difficult situation with a customer or colleague. What was the issue, and how did you overcome this?”
You will also want to refresh your memory on what’s included in your resume so you can confidently speak about previous employment, duties, responsibilities, training etc.
- Prepare questions to ask during the interview
Write down a list of questions you can ask and have them handy at the interview. Not only does this demonstrate your interest in the role, but it also allows you to find out if the role and organisation are right for you. Will this job or organisation give you the opportunity for the development and growth you seek? The job ad and position description may also help you come up with some questions you can ask at the interview.
- Have your references ready
Be prepared by having 2 or 3 good referees ready to go for the interview. Having these referees on hand will demonstrate that you are confident, organised and ready for the job.
Ensure you let your referee know of the job(s) you are applying for, so they are prepared for the phone call to give you a raving reference!
- Prepare your clothes the day before
The last thing you want to do is give yourself additional stress by working out what to wear at the last minute. Avoid this altogether by sorting out your clothes in advance. Being organised and having control over this will help your confidence.
Don’t forget, first impressions count. Ensure you have dressed appropriately for the role you are applying for. Even if it’s a video conference, dress as you were attending a face-to-face interview. Try to dress in a way that mirrors their business, as if you are already employed.
- Know the details of the interview
Know the exact time and place of the interview, the interviewers’ full name and their title.
If the interview is going to be conducted via Zoom, test the technology beforehand, so you know how to use the platform. Again this will help with your confidence by knowing how to use the technology. Plan where you will conduct the interview. Try to arrange to have the interview in a quiet place, without any interruptions and preferably not from your bed or on your phone walking down the street! Remember you want to leave a good first impression!
If it is a face-to-face interview, plan your trip and how you will get there. You don’t want to be late for the interview. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early so you can take a breath and compose yourself before you begin the interview. If you do happen to be late, ensure you have their phone number handy, so you can give them a quick call to explain the situation.
To be a stand-out in your next interview and gain a better understanding of the recruitment process, check out Keyba Careers’ Employer Engagement Program. We have all the information you need to help you succeed in your interview.