How to: Preparing adequately for an interview

Different jobs have varied interview processes. The interview process also varies from one employer to another. Before or after the interview, some employers will choose to screen the candidates by inviting them to take psychometric tests or prepare a case study.

Regardless of the process employed, it’s important to make effort in completing all the steps in a manner which will impress your prospective employers. If your application and test results, if any, make a good impression, you’ll definitely be invited to interview. At this stage, you need to prepare well in order to be successful.

Getting started

It’s not strange that a good number of people go through interview phobia. Here’s some information that may help you successfully overcome the hurdles of attending an interview. Some of these things may seem obvious, but these are often the things we overlook or forget.

It’s not a walk in the park to know what you need to prepare. However, preparing a checklist of the things to consider can help put your mind at res. A sample checklist:

  1. Research on the company
  2. Look up your role
  3. Find the company address
  4. Think of some potential questions your interviewer may ask
  5. Prepare some potential questions you could ask at the end of the interview

Before the interview

Preparation for an interview is key process, and it’s often the thin line between your success and failure. Good preparation not only gives you an insight into what you expect during the interview, it can also help you in developing some important confidence.

So, what specific things should you focus on as you do the preparation?

Company research:

What is it expected of you? Interviewers will expect that you are well versed with their organization’s operations, target market, competitors, etc. With such information, you’ll be better placed to conduct an impressive interview because you’ll be able to put any details you’d discovered ahead of the interview into context.

Having adequate knowledge of the also shows that you really want the role.

Role research:

Just imagine how the interview would be like if you didn’t fully understand the job description. It would also be fatal if you didn’t understand how the role fits into the overall structure of the company. In case you have queries about the role, be prepared to raise them before or during the interview.

Try to think about what key skills would be relevant to demonstrate, with the aid of examples, during the interview.

Interview research:

It’s important you get to know what format the interview will take – it could be a standard interview or psychometric tests or both.

It would also be a plus if you find out more about your interviewer(s). Know who they are, what roles they play in the organization. You can get this information on the company website, or from professional social platforms like LinkedIn.

Personality points:

The aim of interviewers is to know more about you and your personality. It’s therefore important to approach an interview with a list of important points about yourself.

For instance, you might want to list your key achievements during your previous roles. It would also be wise to list your personal experience and related knowledge in your target industry.

Each question you address will be an opportunity to provide some of this information to the interviewer.

The day before the interview

Get everything you would need for the interview ready, so that the following day you can just grab your things and go. This would include what you’ll be wearing, your CV, your relevant certificates, and a map of the location.

In case you’re not sure how to get there, try and make a pre-visit the day before (if possible). Note that being late because you lost your way doesn’t send out a good first impression. Also, it would raise your stress levels.

Always take important things, or rather information with you. For example, taking a pack containing your CV, cover letter, examples of your work and any certificates of merit or qualification levels is well worth it.

Even if some of these things will be irrelevant during your interview, you’ll not only be prepared – you’ll look prepared too. Also, they are a great point of reference when demonstrating a point (or if you get stuck).

On the day of the interview

Take special care to dress appropriately – most of the time smart business dress will be appropriate. On some rare occasions, smart casual may be appropriate but ensure you err on the more formal side.

Finally, always make sure you’re punctual – try to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time. If you’re going to be late for any reason then make sure you inform the interviewer as early as possible.

Once you’re fully prepared for the interview, it’s time to start thinking about the interview itself.

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