How to Prepare for an Interview

Even when you have got all the right qualifications, and have gone above and beyond to get the work experience you need to succeed in your chosen field; scoring an interview and making sure it is a success can be hard.

In the below guide we will show you how to nail your interview and make sure you are thoroughly prepared for every question.

What should you do to prepare for an interview?

Step One: It is important to understand the company you are applying to work for, and in turn, know the people who are interviewing you. That is why, you should always do some research on the company – their values, goals, products and services – and if possible, find out more about the people interviewing you e.g. their position and role within the company.

Step Two: Don’t be afraid to reach out to the company to find out more about their interview process. All questions you ask will help you to perform better on the day and be more confident, as there won’t be any unwanted surprises.

Step Three: Don’t leave working out the route or picking out your outfit until the day before. Instead, plan your outfit and journey early e.g. settle on the details. This will help to negate any nerves and stop you from obsessing over these points as you’ll already be more than prepared.

Step Four: In advance of the interview, try to prepare some questions for the interviewer e.g. about the company, your experience with the company and any potential job opportunities that may occur in the future. This will show them that you are genuinely interested in the company and are not using them as a means to make an income.

How can you improve your chances during the interview?

Okay, so you have done as much preparation as you can and you have followed all of the steps above – you’re ready. But how can you improve your chances during the interview? What steps can you take to improve your odds?

Step One: Strive to arrive too early at the interview venue. It is better to be too early and spend your time waiting in a coffee shop, than to arrive late and make a bad impression.

Step Two: Body language is everything, so try to introduce yourself formally; remember to smile naturally, and stop yourself from fidgeting. No matter how nervous you may feel, you need to come across as calm and collected.

Step Three: Upon meeting the interviewer(s), shake their hand and allow them to take the lead and guide you through the opening stages of your interview. In addition, remember to monitor your body language and make sure you come across as confident but not arrogant.

Similarly, you should use active listening techniques throughout your interview. So for instance, make appropriate eye contact; repeat significant details and ask questions about them to show you retaining what they are telling you, and remember that a simple nod will show them that you are paying attention.

Step Four: Linking back body language, it is also important that you sit well and don’t do things such as:

  • Folding your arms – this is a defensive pose
  • Sit too far forward – this can appear somewhat aggressive and overly forward

Instead, try to sit up straight in your chair with your legs crossed at your knees and with your hands resting upon your knees. This is considered a neutral position and will allow you to look calm, confident and welcoming.

Step Five: You should aim to answer every question that they ask you. Taking a beat of 10 seconds to answer can help you to work out your answer and prevent you from chatting about nonsense whilst you try to come up with something more appropriate to say.

Similarly, another reasonable delay tactic you can try is asking them to repeat the question. Obviously don’t use this tactic too much as this could impact on your negatively i.e. make it look like you aren’t paying attention. But occasionally asking them to clarify a complex, detailed or vague question, can help you to construct a better response.

NOTE: remember you can speak for as long as you need to showcase your skills and experience. Just make sure that you still answer their question.

 

Interviews don’t have to be intimidating nor do they have to be scary. With careful preparation and remembering to employ the above steps when you are interviewed, you can ensure that your interview goes well from start to finish.

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