Interview Preparation Guide: 9 Steps to Job Interview Success
You’ll face multiple job interviews over your career, and it’s normal to feel daunted every time. But you can stand out and make a great impression no matter how nervous you are. It all comes down to the right interview preparation!
In this free interview preparation guide we will show you:
- 9 essential steps to thoroughly prepare you for your upcoming job interview
- 3 common interview questions (and how to answer them!)
- Plenty of tips and tricks for more efficient and effective interview prep
Keep reading to learn how to ace your interview and secure the job you want.
#1: Find out some extra details
It’s always better to ask for more information than you’re given. Call the person who scheduled your job interview and ask them:
- Who will you be interviewing with? Find out their name (including how to spell it) and their position in the company.
- How do you get to their office? Not just the street address but also the office number, which floor it’s on, whether there is parking available, etc.
- For a copy of the full job description, if you don’t have one already.
- Which phone number you should call if you need to speak to someone before the interview. If you get stuck in traffic and are running late on the day, or something comes up and you need to reschedule, you’ll be glad that you can easily get in touch.
#2: Review the role requirements
Read the job description and make a list of key skills and attributes required for the role.
Think about how you align with each, and come up with a few relevant anecdotes from your past that demonstrate your abilities and prove you’d be a great fit.
For example: What similar challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them? What achievements are you proud of that show you have the required skills?
#3: Research the company
Check out the company’s website (especially the About page), blog and social media profiles.
Get a feel for the company culture and tone, and be across any recent news about the company that you could discuss at the interview.
Pro Tip: LinkedIn can be an incredibly valuable resource. Use it to dig in to your network for relevant connections, find and reach out to people who work (or used to work) at the company, and get their personal insights.
#4: Practice answering interview questions
No matter what role you’re applying for or the industry you’re in, there are questions that will almost always come up in the interview.
It’s worth practising your answers to these three common job interview questions:
- What are your biggest weaknesses?
Turn this one into a positive by focusing on how you are improving. Even better if you can demonstrate this with concrete steps you’ve taken, such as joining a debate club to improve your communication skills.
- Why do you want to work here?
They want to know that you applied to the company for a reason, not simply because there was an opening. Show that you align with their mission and values, that you know what they do and why, and that you’re excited about it.
- Why should we hire you?
Keep this one short and sweet. Summarise your work experience, personal qualities and how the company could benefit from having you on their team.
Pro Tip: Practice answering these questions out loud in front of a mirror, or record yourself and watch it back. Analyse your body language and make sure you come across as comfortable, confident and attentive.
#5: Come up with some of your own questions
At the end of the interview, you’ll usually get the opportunity to ask the interviewer any questions of your own.
Show that you’ve given this some thought by preparing a few questions for when it’s your turn.
Consider these as a starting point:
- What are the biggest challenges in this role? How is the company helping you overcome them?
- What does a typical day or week look like?
- What would you like to see accomplished in the first six months and year in this role? How is success measured?
- What do you like about working here?
#6: Pack your bag or briefcase
Prepare everything you’ll need the night before the interview.
Even if you haven’t been told to bring anything in particular, you should make sure that you have a few extra copies of your resume on hand as well as your portfolio (if you have one), references, and a notepad and pen.
Pro Tip: Clean out your bag so you don’t look messy and unorganised. You don’t want to be rifling through old receipts and food wrappers to get to your resume.
#7: Pick your outfit
Don’t stress about this too much, but do make an effort.
You want to look neat, professional and well-groomed, so make sure your clothes are ironed and shoes are polished.
Consider your hair, jewellery, makeup and accessories as well.
Try on the entire outfit to make sure everything fits and matches, and lay it out the night before the interview so you’re not scrambling on the day.
#8: Plan the route
Know exactly how to get to your interview location beforehand.
Get directions if you’re driving, and if you’re going by train or coach, make sure you’ve checked the route and timetable.
It’s always a good idea to do a practice run a day or two before the interview, especially if the office is in an area you’re not familiar with.
Then you’ll know exactly where you’re going and how long it’ll take, so you can arrive with time to spare.
#9: Get an early night
Put yourself in the right headspace before your interview so you feel confident, collected and can do your best on the day.
Get a good night’s sleep, eat a proper breakfast and keep yourself hydrated. The only thing worse than going in to an interview tired and hungry is going in completely unprepared!
And finally, remember to relax, smile and be yourself. You’ve got this!
Some more guides to help you succeed…
- Numerical Reasoning: Numerical Reasoning Test Guide: 5 Proven Tips to Succeed
- Verbal Reasoning: Verbal Reasoning Test: What You Need to Know to Pass
- UKCAT: UKCAT Test Guide: 4 Secrets to UKCAT Success 2020
- Watson-Glaser: Watson-Glaser Test: Everything You Need to Know to Pass
- Mechanical Comprehension: Mechanical Comprehension Test Guide 2020