Preparing for an interview primarily means taking time to thoughtfully consider your goals and qualifications relative to the position and employer. To accomplish this, you should perform research on the company and carefully review the job description to understand why you would be a good fit.
Let’s look at the steps to preparing for an interview.
Carefully examine the job description
Before you apply for any position you must ensure you meet the minimum qualifying criteria. During your preparation work, you should use the employer’s posted job description or advertisement as a guide. The job description is a list of the qualifications, qualities, and background the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. The more you can align yourself with these requirements, the more the employer will be able to see that you are qualified. The job description may also give you an idea about questions the employer may ask throughout the interview.
Always work on the 80/100 principle, in short, this means printing out the job advertisement and highlighting the criteria that you feel you meet, if you meet 80% of the minimum requirements, feel free to apply.
Consider why you are interviewing and your qualifications.
Before your interview, you should have a good understanding of why you want the position and why you’re qualified. You should be prepared to explain your interest in the opportunity and why you’re the best person for the role. Remember to ensure your CV or resume showcases your skills and expertise. You can also use keywords from the job advertisement in your CV or Resume.
Perform research on the company and role. Researching the company and role as much as possible will give you an edge over the competition. Not only that, but fully preparing for an interview will help you remain calm so that you can be at your best. Here are a few things you should know before you walk into your interview. Research the product or service they provide.
Even if the role isn’t directly related to the company’s product or service, you’re still looking to be part of the team. It’s important to learn all you can about the product or service the company produces and promotes. The Companies values and mission should align with your values and mission for your career.
They might be interviewing you for a position but you are also interviewing the company to see if this will be a mutually beneficial business relationship.Often your first interview is with a Recruitment agency, this is a bit more complicated because you do not know who their client is thus making it difficult for you to research them. Our advice here is to prepare for common interview questions. Use family or friends to do a mock interview.
Research the role and responsibilities. It’s important to read the job description carefully and make sure that you understand all the requirements and responsibilities that go along with it.This will not only prepare you with thoughtful, targeted questions about the position during the interview, but it will ensure that you’re truly qualified and prepared to tackle and master the responsibilities. If possible, research similar positions and read reviews from individuals in those positions, so you can get an idea of what the day-to-day activities will be.During the interview, ask for clarification or details about the role, so you can be sure you’re ready should you receive a job offer. Researching the role before an interview will also help you to decide whether or not the position is right for you.
Research the company culture. Modern companies usually have social media accounts and blogs that discuss their company culture and industry. This information can give you an impression of the tone and personality of the company, as well as what they value. No matter how good a job seems, it’s important that you fit within the company culture and share a similar personality and values. Think about questions about the workplace environment, culture, personality, or values, be sure to ask during the interview. These questions can range from the software and tools used by the company, to their human resources policies. Remember that the interview is just as much about you finding a good fit for your own work environment as it is about the company finding a good fit for the role.
To ensure a happy professional life it is important to know that your values align with that of the company. The interview is the perfect opportunity to find out more about the company and show the interviewer how you’ll fit.
Consider your answers to common interview questions
While you won’t be able to predict every question, you’ll be asked in an interview, there are a few common questions you can plan answers for. You might also consider developing an elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are, what you do, and what you want. You should also prepare to discuss your salary expectations, just in case. If you’re unsure about what salary is appropriate to ask for the position you’re applying to, visit Indeed’s Salary Calculator or PayScale to get a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry, and experience.
Let’s work through a couple of examples of common interview questions:
Why do you want to work here? The best way to prepare for this question is to learn about the products, services, mission, history, and culture of the company. In your answer, mention the aspects of the company that appeals to you and align with your career goals. Example: “I’d love the opportunity to work with a company that’s making a difference. Finding a company with a positive work environment and values that align with my own has remained a priority throughout my job search, and this company ranks at the top of the list.
”What interests you about this role? Employers or Recruiters ask this question to make sure you understand the role, and to allow you to highlight your relevant skills. It can be helpful to compare the role requirements against your skills and experience. Choose a few things you particularly enjoy or excel at, and focus on those in your answer. Example: “I’ve been passionate about user experience design for most of my professional career. I was excited to see this company uses Adobe products because I’m well-versed in the entire suite. Also, I’m a huge advocate for applying agile workflows to design. I think it’s the most effective way to tackle large projects. I was able to successfully build and launch an agile process in my previous role as an Office manager, and we saw considerable improvements in Office Operations.
”What are your greatest strengths? This question allows you to talk about both your technical and soft skills. When an interviewer asks you to describe your strengths, share qualities, and personal attributes and then relate them to the role for which you’re interviewing. Example: “I’m a natural problem-solver. I find it rewarding to dig deep and uncover solutions to challenges – it’s like solving a puzzle. It’s something I’ve always excelled at, and something I enjoy. Much of product development is about finding innovative solutions to challenging issues, which is what drew me to this career path in the first place.
“Practice your speaking voice and body language”. It’s important to make a positive and lasting impression during the interview process. You can do this by practicing a confident, strong speaking voice and friendly, open body language. While these might come naturally to you, you might also want to spend time performing them with trusted friends or family or in front of a mirror. Pay special attention to your smile, handshake, and stride.Prepare several thoughtful questions for the interviewer, Recruiter, or Hiring Manager. Many employers feel confident about candidates who ask thoughtful questions about the company and the position. You should take time before the interview to prepare several questions for your interviewer(s) that show you’ve researched the company and are well-versed about the position. This will show the Recruiter or Hiring Manager that you have put in the effort and will leave a lasting impression.
Some examples of questions you could ask include:
What does a typical day look like for a person in this position?
What qualities do your most successful employees have?
I ’ve really enjoyed learning more about this opportunity.
What are the next steps in the hiring process?
What do you wish to achieve in this position in the next 3, 6, and 12 months?
Print hard copies of your CV and Certificates
Most employers ask for digital copies of your CV with the application, but they may not have easy access to it during the interview itself. Having copies to present to multiple interviewers shows that you’re prepared and organized. You should have at least three copies to provide for multiple interviewers, plus one for yourself to follow along.During your preparation, read over your CV and rehearse explanations for any gaps that may appear or other oddities. For example, you may have taken time off work to care for a child or family member, switched careers, or had other legitimate reasons for employment gaps.
Prepare your travel arrangements
Job interviews tend to be stressful for most people for many reasons, but getting to the interview can be a challenge in itself. If your interview is in an unfamiliar area or even an entirely new city, it can be a source of anxiety to find your way around and make sure that you show up on time. To avoid becoming too anxious for your commute, prepare yourself to ensure everything goes smoothly on the day of the meeting.
Leave early: This may seem obvious, but it’s better to leave with plenty of time to get to your interview, even if it means arriving way too early. Fifteen to twenty minutes is sufficient. As you wait, you can observe employees coming and going, which can give you some insight into the work environment.
Save the interview contact information:
Even with plenty of time for your commute, sometimes situations out of your control can still cause you to be late. Make sure you have the agency or Companies contact number in case you need to let them know that you are running late.
Search the location in advance: Most interviews are scheduled days or weeks in advance, so you have time to research the location. I suggest going to the location and ensure that you are on time and at the correct location.
How to match your outfit to the workplace
Because you’ve already researched the company, you should have a sense of the workplace and what level of formality is appropriate. Look at photos on their social media sites to get a sense of what people wear at the office.For more casual workplaces, professional-looking casual job interview attire is appropriate.
For women, this could mean:
Dark jeans, a blouse, and a cardigan.
A knee-length skirt and button-down shirt or blouse.
Both options can be worn with flats or heels, avoid open-toe shoes.
For men, this could mean:
Dark jeans or slacks and a button-down shirt or polo
Any closed-toe shoes that are neat and clean.
For a business casual environment, you’ll need to dress up a bit more.
For women, this could mean:
Black or navy dress pants or pencil skirt
A button-down shirt and cardigan or jacket
Flats or heels are appropriate
For men, this could mean:
Black or navy dress slacks with a belt, button-down shirt, and tie
A blazer is optional
For a formal workplace, wear a dark-coloured suit.
For women, this can be a tailored dress with a matching jacket or suit pants or skirt with a matching jacket.
For men, this means suit pants and jacket with a button-down shirt and tie.
Get ready to follow up after the interview
After your interview, you should prepare to follow up with the employer. Doing so reminds the employer of your conversation, shows them you are genuinely interested in the position, and allows you to bring up points you forgot to mention.
Here are a few steps you can follow when crafting a follow-up note:
In the first paragraph, mention the specific job title and thank your interviewer.
In the second paragraph, note the company’s name as well as a conversation point and/or goal that seemed especially important to the person you spoke with. Connect that point to your experience and interests.In the final paragraph, invite them to ask you any additional questions and close by saying you’re looking forward to hearing back.
You can copy and paste this thank you email:
Good day [Interviewer Name], Thank you so much for meeting with me today. It was such a pleasure to learn more about the team and position, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to join [Company Name] and help [bring in new clients/develop world-class content/anything else awesome you would be doing] with your team. I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps in the hiring process, and please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide additional information. Best regards,[Your Name]