How To Effectively Prepare For An Interview

Kat Heague our consultant managing the role
Author: Kat Heague
Posting date: 4/7/2020 9:11 AM
If you’re preparing for an interview, video or otherwise, it’s important to think beyond Googling ‘common interview questions’ and scanning the company’s website. It’s important to make a great first impression and by preparing properly, you’re in a better position to achieve this. Plus, you’ll feel more confident and will be able to give more convincing answers that will help prove why you’re the perfect fit for the role.

With that in mind, here are our recommendations for how to best prepare for an interview:

Find out what type of interview it is


Even if a company isn’t working entirely remotely, it’s likely you’ll face a variety of interviews throughout a their application process. Most processes last between two and three stages of interviews, any many vary in how these are conducted. They could be:

Face to Face – Expect these to last between 45 minutes and 2 hours. The questions will be likely be strengths- or competency-based.
Phone – This is often used early in the process, we’d expect these to last approximately 30 minutes and are designed to get a feel for your skillset and experience.
Video – These are becoming increasingly popular with employers, and can be live or pre-recorded. They tend to last around 30 minutes.
Assessment Centres – You’ll attend these with other candidates and take part in a variety of tasks presentations, team exercises and psychometric tests lasting a full day.

Get to know the company 


Don’t just look at their About Us page. Read about them, their clients and their products or services. This will help you learn about what they do but also learn how they see themselves as business and what they feel makes them different from their competitors. This will help your interviewer understand you ‘get’ them and understand their business.

Research the team 


As well as getting to know the company, we’d recommend taking a look at your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and seeing what they’ve posted and where they’ve come from. Also, take a look at the “Meet the team” pages on the website to gain an insight into who you may be meeting throughout your process. Glassdoor is a good place to go for company reviews but take them as a guide not fact as they’re anonymous reviews by current or former employees. 

Prepare your own questions


It’s likely your interviewer will ask what questions you have for them. This is a great opportunity for you to get the information you need to figure out if this is a job you really want and can see yourself doing. Think about what you really want to know about the position and the company. Things to think about could be: What are the biggest challenges in this position? What would be the expectations of me 3/6/12 months in? Could you describe what a typical day is like in this position?

Not only does this help you build a bigger picture of what this job would look like, your questions show a deeper engagement in the role and company, much more so than asking basic questions such as “What’s the salary? What is the holiday allowance? What are the working hours?”. 

It’s perfectly normal to write down your questions and take them into your interview to avoid forgetting any questions you wanted to know the answers to, so don’t feel as though you can’t do this. 

Re-read the job description


Spend time highlighting the responsibilities in the job description and thinking how your experience equips you to meet these. Try to prepare concrete examples from your past that back up why you’d be great for the role. How have you dealt with challenges or what successes have you had that you can link to how you’d be successful in this role? Try to come up with at least 5 solid examples or stories to talk through in the interview.  

Write down questions you’re likely to be asked


There are some questions you can almost guarantee on being asked such as “tell me about yourself” or “what is your biggest weakness”. It’s also likely you’ll be asked questions around your interest in the role and the company and why you applied. Be prepared to talk about numbers, in particular any significant impact that your previous projects have made on a business. 

For each question you think of jot down a few notes or bullet points to build upon instead of writing out an entire answer and trying to remember it word for word. 

Practice saying your answers


Practising your answers out loud and looking in the mirror will help you clarify your answers and make you more comfortable during the interview. Try doing a mock interview with a friend or family member to help polish your delivery and boost your confidence in what you’re saying. 

Dress accordingly


Figure out what to wear to the interview by asking what the office dress code is before the interview. If the business has a business casual or business dress code, it’s appropriate to wear a suit for males and females to dress in smart business attire. 

Make sure your outfit and shoes are clean and your bag/briefcase is emptied of any rubbish and packed with interview essentials: pens, a notepad, a copy of your CV, list of questions, mints, business card. These may seem obvious, but employers do take note and still make judgements based on how you present yourself. 
If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, or if you’re looking for help with your next hiring process, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

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