"The separation is in the preparation" - Russell Wilson, American Football Player.
As a football player, you are expected to train before a big game in order to win. The same logic applies to everything worth having in life: investing time and effort increases the chance of success, and an interview is no different. How you conduct yourself shows a lot about your character, so a little preparation goes a long way in proving that you are interested and committed to the role you're applying for. Read the guidelines below to ensure effective preparation.
Research the company
If the interviewer asks “what do you know about our company?” prepare yourself with 3-5 core facts. Look further than the website homepage, scroll through their social media, research the interviewers on LinkedIn and take note of exciting new projects on the horizon.
- The year it was founded
- Company values
- Awards and successes
- Latest news
Find out exactly where it is you have to go for the interview and what site you will be working at (if relevant). Make sure you have a map or directions as well as information on parking or the nearest railway station. If possible do a ‘dummy run’ as satellite navigation systems can sometimes be misleading.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview; it is not a good first impression if you turn up late. If you are going to be late, contact your consultant and the company to inform them of your expected time of arrival.
Dress smart, be aware of the company culture and ensure you dress to impress. Decide what you are going to wear the night before to avoid making the wrong choices or having a last minute panic.
Re-read the job specification. Think about questions you may get asked and write down a strong answer for each one, tailoring it to the job specification. Here is a list of possible interview questions:
- What has been your greatest achievement to date?
- What can you offer to your new team/company?
- Why are you looking for in a new position?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- How would you describe yourself?
Statistics indicate as much as 93% of what contributes towards a successful interview is non-verbal, made up of how you sound (tone and inflection), how others see you and how you make others feel.
- Greet the interviewer with a smile and a strong handshake
- Maintain good eye contact levels
- Look and act alert, interested and enthusiastic
- Be mindful of your body language and avoid slumping or slouching
- Don't talk too much. Answer the question thoroughly but without rambling or going off on a tangent
- Try not to cross your arms or legs; sit upright and lean forward slightly, keeping an open posture
- Don’t talk negatively about companies, managers or colleagues you’ve previously worked with
- Carefully listen to the questions asked and don’t rush your answers
- Match your responses to company values where you can
Show a real interest in the position and the company, perhaps based on the information you previously received about them. Ensure that you leave with enough information to make an informed decision on whether or not you wish to proceed. Aim for questions that indicate an interest in their line of work or products and your enthusiasm and interest in the role itself, rather than holiday entitlement, pensions, etc. Some typical questions are:
- What are the company's future plans?
- What is the likely career development pathway in the next few years?
- What possible training could I receive in this role?
- How would you describe the culture of this company?
Ask for feedback
At the end of the interview, if the opportunity arises, ask them how they felt the interview went. Also, if you are interested in the position, it is important to tell them. If the interviewers highlight any gaps in your knowledge of experience, you may be able to expand on and alleviate their concern. This is the opportune moment to ask this before they make a decision.
Finally, ask what the follow up procedure is and when you could expect to hear from them. Thank them for their time.