Job interviews – 6 top preparation tips

If you’ve been shortlisted for a job interview, congratulations!  You’ve obviously put in a good application and have demonstrated, at least on paper, that you have the experience and skills required for the job.   Now you have to outshine the other shortlisted candidates and persuade the panel that you are the best person for the job.   The interview is your opportunity to make a positive impression so don’t blow it!   Preparation is key – here are six tips to help you get ready for the big day.

  1. Research the company you are applying to work for.  Look at the website and the annual report.  Do you know anyone who has experience of the company?  If so, ask them for some advice or information that might not be in the public domain.
  2. Think about what evidence you can provide which shows that you meet all of the job requirements.  Prepare some examples which demonstrate your experience and skills.  It is not enough to say ‘I am really good at dealing with difficult customers’.  Better to say ‘I dealt with a particularly difficult customer when I was at …….’; then give details of the situation, the action you took, and how the matter was resolved.  This is often referred to as the “STAR” technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
  3. Anticipate all of the possible questions the panel might ask and prepare an answer to each one.  You will probably find that, even if the question you anticipate doesn’t come up, the answer you have prepared will come in useful .    Ask a friend or colleague to give you some potential questions (in my experience friends often think of much better questions than the interview panel!).
  4. Who is on the panel?  It’s OK to ask for this information if you are not told.  Do you know anything about them?  Can you find out?  It’s useful to know something about the people interviewing you – if you are familiar with their particular interests or areas of expertise it might help you to anticipate the questions.
  5. Rehearse!  If you have been asked to give a presentation to the panel make sure you have rehearsed in front of a mirror.  Time yourself so that you use all the time you are given but don’t run over.  If you want to use power point, check in advance that this is acceptable.  Print handouts of the slides – if technology fails on the day you can talk the panel through the handouts.
  6. If you prepare well in advance you will feel confident and positive about the interview – and that is very important.  So don’t stay up late fretting and practising the night before.  Get a good night’s sleep and, on the day of the interview, concentrate on staying relaxed, confident and positive.

Good luck!

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