Preparation for your interview

First impressions count. Your interview is one of the most important parts of the recruitment process.

And, because it’s so important, it can be a daunting ordeal for even the most experienced interviewees. It’s natural to feel nervous.

By thoroughly preparing in advance, you can give yourself the best chance of leaving a positive impression.

We’ve prepared these simple tips to support you.

Do your background research

Find out more about the business your interview is with. Visit their website and familiarise yourself with their ‘what’ and ‘why’.

In some interviews, you’ll be asked what you know about the business and why you want to work there. You’ll need to have done your research to be able to answer.

As a bare minimum, ensure you know what the business does and a little about its history.

Other things you might want to find out more about include:

  • Vision and Values
  • Recent achievements, awards or accreditations,
  • Senior members of staff.

You don’t need to remember everything you read. If you can recall just two or three key facts, you’ll have shown you’ve done your homework.

Get to know the job description

Take time to read through the responsibilities and requirements of the role you’re applying for. Making notes can help.

The interviewer will want to be sure you understand the position. If you they don’t think that you do, they could be left wondering why you applied at all – and whether you’re serious about the opportunity. Show them you’re informed on what your duties will be.

Knowing more about the job description and person specification can also help you to anticipate questions you might be asked. Especially around your skills and experience. If you can predict how your interview might go, you can prepare some responses in advance. This is a great way to relieve pressure.

Prepare for common interview questions

Some interview questions are easier to predict than others.

A quick Google search will provide you with many examples of commonly asked interview questions. While some will be role specific, others will be more general.

Research and prepare answers for these questions. It’s not about writing a script and trying to memorise it but making simple bullet points that will jog your memory.

Examples include:

  • Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
  • What has been your greatest achievement to date?
  • What are your strengths / weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why do you want to leave your current employer?
  • In many cases, you’ll be able to find suggestions online of ways to positively answer these questions.

Ensure you prepare a few questions you want to ask the interviewer too. You’re likely to be given the opportunity.

Plan your journey in advance

Aim to arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes prior, unless you’re informed otherwise. Turning up to your interview on time is vital.

Plan your journey well and allow time for any last-minute hiccups. There are few worse ways to start your interview than late and / or stressed.

You might even choose to do a practice run a day or two before your interview to be certain you know where you’re going.

If you’re driving, make sure you know where the best place to park is. If you’re in doubt, there’s no harm in asking.

Sometimes you might be late through no control of your own. Try to let your interviewer know you’re going to be late as soon as possible.

Although it’s not always possible, the interviewer may still be able to see you or they may be able to reschedule.

Be informed with your outfit choice

What you wear to your interview will depend on the role you’ve applied for. If it’s a more physical position, you might need to dress appropriately.

In some cases, such as factory-based roles, a site tour or work trial might be involved, so you could be required to wear something practical.

Smart office-wear is generally a safe option for office-based positions; however, some businesses might adopt a more smart-casual approach.

This is another case where the ‘if in doubt, ask’ rule applies.