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Preparation for an interview is essential when looking for a new role. You have your foot in the door by securing an interview, now all you need to do is impress your potential employer!
First of all…
A very important part of preparing for an interview is research. This will give you knowledge of the role and company you are applying for, and will also give you added confidence during the interview. You will need to do your homework on the company you are interviewing at. Your recruitment agency will do their best to give you as much information as they can, including job spec, location, website address and the name of the interviewer. Use this information wisely and couple this with some Internet research. Spend time going through the company website with a fine-toothed comb and work out exactly what the organisation does as a whole. Most company websites will give an overview of themselves in the ‘About Us’ page and often there is a ‘Meet the Team’ page too. These pages within the website can be a fantastic tool for you to make notes and get a better understanding for exactly what you are interviewing for.
Take the time before your interview to look at the job spec you have been given, review it and look at how you can use your already-developed skills within the role. You will need to understand where your potential job fits in within the company’s structure. Of course, you may face areas within the job spec which you feel may be weak points for yourself. You can use this to your advantage too, and work out the areas you will need to work on to ace this role.
You have done all you can by looking at the job spec and website for the company, so, what next…?
Prepare some questions you may wish to ask your interviewer. You want to appear attentive and interested in the position. Yet it is also extremely beneficial to ask questions which may help you thoroughly understand your potential position within the company. You may want to ask them about the structure of the company and about the role on a day-to-day basis.
Be careful when answering questions – it does not hurt to pause for a moment. It is better for you to think through your answers in an interview, rather than blurting out an answer which essentially could be completely irrelevant to the original question asked. An interviewer will expect you to be nervous, so take a deep breath and think about your answer.
Do you know your route?
It is a great idea to look into your route for getting to your interview. Remember that you cannot always rely on public transport to be on time. It is so important to get a train/bus/tube a little earlier than required to avoid any delays. Practice your route from the bus stop or train station before your interview. This way you will have the confidence on the day to head straight there without difficulty. When practicing your route, head towards the building to work out the entrance, and assess exactly where you will need to go on the day.
Ensure that you are punctual for your interview. Try to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled interview. By arriving early, you will be less flustered and more confident. However if it does get to that point where you feel that you are going to be late, call ahead to inform and apologise for your lateness as a matter of courtesy. A company will appreciate that you have taken the time and consideration to inform them that you are running a little behind schedule due to a transport matter out of your control.
A great tool for planning your route to your interview is the ‘Citymapper’ app. This free app can advise you on how to get from one location to the next. It will suggest the best bus, train, cycling or walking routes, as well as showing the prices for each journey option and the estimated time it will take.
The night before
The more you can do on the night before your interview, the better. Ensure that your interview outfit is washed and ironed ready for the following day. Take it out of your wardrobe and hang it out ready to put on in the morning. Set your alarm slightly earlier than you would need to get up to make sure that you do not oversleep and miss out on a great new job opportunity!
It is crucial that you get an early night prior to an interview. Essentially all of your interview preparation will be wasted if you sit in the seat yawning and struggling to pay attention. Body language is very important when interviewing – you will need to sit up straight, never slouch and act disinterested, it will only waste both yours and the interviewers’ time.
Pack your bag the night before. Take all of the essentials with you: a pen, your diary (in case you are asked to come back for a second interview there and then!) and a small notepad should you feel the need to take notes.
With all of these tips, you should enter the interview feeling prepared and confident. Best of luck!