Five Top Tips for Interview Preparation

We understand how nerve wracking a job interview can be. However, if you put the right preparation in to the process you can go a long way.

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If you’ve secured a job interview at any point in your professional career, you will probably be familiar with the nervous feelings that build as the interview grows closer and throughout the interview process too. While we cannot take nerves out of the process, we can help you to prepare and hopefully give you an extra dose of confidence during your interview. We’ve put together this handy top-five guide to interview preparation, designed to help you perform the best you can in your interview. 1. Research the company
This one is always recommended but it never ceases to amaze us how much it’s underestimated too. Making sure you do your research on the company you are applying to work for. Research will not only allow you to show a company that you are keen to work for them but will give you added confidence in an interview situation. Researching a company can involve things like working culture, office locations, the company history and many other aspects of it too. You may even find that, upon doing research, the company isn’t the right fit for you – and that is just as valuable to find out!

2. Prepare! Review your CV, think through answers to standard questions, and brush up on your industry

Do not underestimate interview preparation. Just like preparing for an exam, taking an interview seriously and putting the work in beforehand can dramatically improve your chances of proceeding to a second interview or securing the role.

Review your own CV and think about your experiences. Practice using the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action Result. Review a list of the classic interview questions and think through your answers. If you need help practicing for your interview, which always helps ease your nerves, you can practice replying to more than 800 questions, with our partner Mockmate, here. If nothing else, preparing for an interview can give you the confidence you need to perform to the best of your ability.

Companies are always looking to hire the best talent and those who are at the forefront of new technologies, trends and approaches to work. Check the latest industry news. Ensure that you can speak with knowledge and insight about industry trends and outlook. If you can stand out as being an expert in your industry and at the forefront of it, that is a huge positive.

3. Dress to impress
Dress code has changed a lot over the past few years. The etiquette is constantly continuing to adapt too. If you have secured an interview through recruiters, then the best advice we can offer is to ask them about the dress code they would recommend. If you’ve managed to secure an interview on your own, then we would first and foremost recommend wearing a suit. Now, there are some exceptions and each company will have their own dress code and internal etiquette. Have a look at any videos online about a company’s culture, perhaps with interviews taken from within an office – this can be a good indicator. If it’s a younger tech start-up then a suit might not be the best approach. Don’t be too radical and ‘out there’ (except in perhaps the fashion industry). Play it safe.

4. Bring your CV, a notepad and business cards
Make sure you bring the right things to your interview – a printed copy of a CV can always be useful to have in your bag. More often than not you won’t need it but having a backup is important. A notepad can be a plus point too. Interviewers can sometimes forget that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. It’s okay to make notes and ask questions. Be honest about what you are looking for from them and make sure it is clear to you exactly what the role entails. If you have questions that aren’t answered on the job description, then a job interview is the good place to ask them. If you have business cards, then pack a few of those too. Finally, certain industries and roles will have additional requirements such as a portfolio and samples of previous work – don’t forget them if this applies to you.

5. Be confident – not arrogant
Having confidence in an interview can sometimes be the difference between a successful hire and unsuccessful candidate. What we mean by that is that in a lot of roles there are client facing requirements. If you come across as nervous, shy or retiring then it can be a big indication that you are not right for the role. Even if you are a naturally shy individual, try hard to be confident and perhaps explore the possibility of confidence training and coaching too. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance though. Accept that you do not know everything and don’t be afraid to make that clear. Arrogance can be a huge turn off and is likely to cost you the job. Friendly, approachable and confident. Not arrogant, showy and pretentious.

If you follow the above tips for interview preparation you should go a long way to successful interviews and job offers. Don’t be disheartened if you do not progress past the interview stages though. Each interview is a learning experience and can be a great way to improve future interviews. Good luck and remember, if you need additional support, mentoring, networking or opportunities you can click here to check out PushFar.

Interview practice? Try Mockmate!
We've partnered with the incredible Mockmate, a platform designed to help job seekers practice interviewing, and companies screen candidates faster using artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Click here to explore it today.
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