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How to prepare for a job interview

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So you’ve submitted your CV, made it through the screening process and finally landed an interview for your dream job – well done! 

But with so many other applicants interviewing for the same position, how do you ensure you stand out from the competition?

There are many other factors that need to be thought about before going into an interview and the way you handle yourself will be key. Don’t rely on your CV and past experience or qualifications to get you to the next stage of the process.  Your CV will undoubtedly have helped you land the interview in the first place but you will need to do much more than simply talk about your qualifications to ensure you stand out from the competition.  

In most cases, the key to interview success is preparation!

1. Do your research thoroughly

Besides the job itself, what does the company actually do? Is there up to date and relevant news about the company in the press? Have they recently had any mergers or been in talks about a merger? Have they recently opened new offices? 

Having done in-depth research on the company is something that will definitely make you stand out in the market compared to those who turn up knowing the bare minimum. Don’t simply look at the website as this is probably what every other person is doing, dig a bit deeper to make yourself stand out!

2. Prepare a solid answer to the question “Why do you want this role?”

You need to go into the interview knowing exactly why you want the position and why you are the best candidate for the job.  Find good, solid reasons to explain why you want to work for that company/carry out that role in particular - if somebody turns up saying that they want the job because of the convenient location this wouldn’t be good enough and would not give you an advantage over the competition.

Practice and prepare your answer in advance to ensure you have the best chance of impressing the interviewer.  You can make use of the research that you have done on the firm already and include this in your answer.  For example, have they won any awards recently? Has their revenue risen from previous years? Are they a market leader in their field? Incorporating these facts into your answer shows the interviewer that you have done some in-depth research, again making you stand out.

Don’t forget to also state the obvious when asked why you are interested in the role i.e. that you really enjoy the duties within the job description and you would like to pursue this role as a career!

3. Look the part

Even if you know that the firm has a dress down policy, don’t turn up wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  Making the effort to look suited and booted leaves a great first impression and shows that you take the interview process seriously. 

Along with dressing smart, a strong hand shake when you meet the interviewer and leave the office as well as maintaining eye contact can make all the difference – all of these little things add up to a great overall first impression.

4. Ask your recruitment consultant for insider advice

One person who can help you immensely in getting you prepared for any interview is your recruitment consultant, so don’t be afraid to ask them for advice! They will have insider information about the people that you will be meeting at the interview and this can be invaluable.

Your recruiter also knows exactly what the client is looking for and may even know some of the questions that could come up in the interview, so it’s well worth taking the time to meet up with your recruiter beforehand.   Having this extra information means that your preparation will be hugely relevant and this will give you the edge over other candidates.

5. Be yourself

Yes, you need to make an effort and portray the best version of yourself, but don’t go overboard and act like someone you are not.   Just as it is important to go into the interview looking professional and acting professional, it is equally as important to be true to yourself and let your personality come across as team fit is something that most line managers are looking for.

Remember, you want to be happy in your new job too and ensure that the company is a good fit for your personality.

6. Finally, ask questions!

Don’t forget to ask your questions at the end of the interview to show how interested you are in learning more about the role, the team and the firm. Prepare at least 3 questions in advance to ensure you have something intelligent to ask.  It’s always worth having a few back up questions as well just in case one of your prepared questions have already been answered during the course of the interview! 

Good luck! 

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