How to prepare for a great job interview
Congratulations! You have an interview – now it's important that you do all you can to ensure you perform well on the day. Here are some tips to help you.
What you'll need:
Passport, driving licence or other id
Details of parking or bus and train times
Directions and location map
Name and telephone contact of interviewer
Smart business suit
Shiny, polished shoes
Mobile phone switched off
Before you go to the interview, read the company website. Make a note of interesting facts or recent events that you may want to ask more about at the interview.
Prepare answers to standard interview questions. Be ready to state your strengths, your weaknesses, your main achievements, your aspirations. Prepare examples of times when you have shown skills relevant to the job such as leadership, initiative, resolving conflict or other skills required by the job.
Always wear a smart business suit to an interview. Organise your clothes a few days before so you have time to go to the shops if necessary. Check that your suit is clean, pressed – and still fits you! Polish your shoes – scruffy shoes can spoil an otherwise immaculate appearance and it is something people notice.
Aim to arrive 15 minutes early. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Check your appearance in a mirror just before you leave – you don’t want to leave with breakfast on your chin!
Your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. Walk tall, be polite, remember to breathe - and smile! First impressions count and your future boss could be in the reception!
Remember to give a good firm handshake when introduced to people. Make eye contact and smile. Make an effort to remember the names of anyone you are introduced to. It helps to say the name back as soon as you hear it - as in 'Good to meet you Mr Jones'
Be aware of your body language throughout the interview. Shoulders back, head up, make eye contact. Hands relaxed in your lap. Ensure you show interest in what the interviewer is saying.
Answer questions as fully as you can and do not be afraid to tell them how good you are at your skills and your job. Use the examples of your strengths and skills that you have prepared. The interviewer wants to know what you can do.
Towards the end of the interview you will probably be given an opportunity to ask questions. You may have something prepared from your reading of the company website. Or there may be something that cropped up in the interview you would like to know more about. These questions show your interest - and thay you have been paying attention!
On leaving, thank the interviewers for their time and ask when you can expect to hear from them if they have not already told you. If you are interested in the role, tell them. Enthusiasm and interest can go a long way.
Once the interview gets going, enjoy talking about your work and your career. Remember an interview is a two way process and they should be keen to make a good impression on you too.
If you are being interviewed by more than one person remember to speak to all of them as you answer questions.
If you are feeling nervous consciously breathe deeply and slowly, it will help to calm you.
Don't be rude about your past employers, it never looks good.
Make sure there is nothing on your Twitter or Facebook accounts that you would not want an employer to see.
Don't be late. If it is unavoidable, phone well in advance to apologise and let them know.