Congratulations on being selected for an interview. You’ve already spent a lot of time preparing your resume and filling out application forms to get to this point. Now it’s time to ace the interview. Whilst interviews can be very daunting it’s something that almost all job seekers have to experience.
The preparation leading up to your interview will play a major role its outcome. Being well prepared will help calm your nerves in the moments leading up to the interview and will leave you better equipped to answer difficult questions.
Below you will find some strategies and techniques you can use to help with your interview preparation.
Research the organisation/business
These days almost all organisations will have a strong online presence. It is important that you have a good foundation of knowledge regarding the organisation. This is because you’re trying to sell yourself to the organisation and show you’re well prepared. A good starting point is to use the ‘About us’ and ‘Careers’ section on the organisations website. A general rule is that the more information about the organisation that is available the more you need to know.
You should acquire an understanding of the organisations structure, current market conditions and trends, competitors, and employee specific information (employee benefits, work/life balance, company culture etc). All this information acquired will help you to effectively answer questions during the interview that are specific to the organisation. Examples of such questions can be found here.
Research the role
Read, then re-read the initial job ad to ensure you fully understand the requirements and responsibilities of the position. Consider how your previous experience and educational background aligns with the current vacancies and be prepared to sell yourself in alignment with this. You can also predict the interviewers key focus areas. A well written job ad will be jam-packed with the company’s desired soft and hard skills of the successful applicant. Identify such desired skills and prepare structured responses addressing your experience in the key focus areas.
A general rule is that soft skills e.g. leadership will be addressed through behavioural based questioning where as hard skills e.g. Microsoft Excel are addressed through situational questioning, and experience verification questioning. Prepare structured answers that you can call upon during the interview. You can read more about this here.
Research the interviewer
It is always a good idea to spend a few minutes researching your interviewer. You can do this by researching their LinkedIn profile. This can be a good way to better understand the person you will be meeting – specifically their career background and current position at the organisation. This can also allow you to tailor specific questions to ask the interviewer based on their career history and experience within the organisation.
Practice, practice, practice!
Once you have done your research, it’s time to practice. If possible, get a family member or trusted friend to do a mock interview with you. You can find a list of interview questions here that you can use to practice. Try and treat the mock interview like a real one and therefore practice your posture, gestures and mannerisms.
Also make sure you are speaking in a clear and positive tone and be mindful of how quickly you are speaking. Ensure you’re providing structured and succinct answers to the question. Seek feedback after the mock interview and address any answers that may need improving.
Prepare your questions
At the end of the interview you should be given to opportunity to ask your interviewer some questions. Use this time wisely. It is a great opportunity to further demonstrate your interest in the role and organisation as well as learn more about the role and organisation and address any other queries you may have.
Make sure you prepare at least 5 well thought out questions you would like to ask at the end.
- Know your potential employer
- Know your resume
- Know the role
- Know about the interviewer
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Prepare questions to ask at the end