Preparing for Interviews – A Guide for Candidates
There’s no such thing as being too prepared for your interview …
Job interviews can be a very nerve-racking time for the most of us. One of the key things to overcoming this and help you to excel on the day is preparation.
Putting time into planning and preparing for interviews will benefit you in so many ways. By influencing your chance of success and, most importantly, helping you stand out from other candidates.
We have compiled our NC top tips for you to follow. To help you get ready for your interview and bring your a-game.
Actions such as logging onto the Zoom meeting five minutes early or planning your route to the location beforehand may seem small, but they carry a lot of weight in an interview process and can help you stand out of the crowd.
For an in-person interview, you want to ensure you arrive with at least 10 minutes to spare. Not only will this give you time to settle and avoid any last-minute stress, but it will also reflect your punctuality and time keeping skills to the company.
- Being late is a BIG red flag, avoid it all costs.
- If you are going to be late, get in contact with the company at the earliest convenience to let them know.
As soon as you walk in the room your interviewer will begin making judgements from your appearance, to attitude, and how your hold yourself, thus making all these factors super important.
Dress codes in many workplaces are changing and have relaxed a lot over the last few years. But, that’s not to say dressing smart is no longer key for an interview, dressing appropriately for the role you are applying for can make a massive impact – particularly if you do it wrong! As a key pointer, stay away from jeans, T-shirts and clothing with logos or slogans. Smart and simple is safe but don’t hide your personality if this isn’t you, just be clear on the dress code in the company you are attending an interview for.
- Have a look on their social media pages to get an idea of the companies dress code.
- If you are still unsure, ask the person you are in contact with at the company.
Remember to be positive, enthusiastic, and most importantly, confident in yourself and your ability to succeed in both the interview and role you are applying for. A way to come across as confident is to show this through your body language – keep your shoulders back, hands still and maintain eye contact!
Prior to your interview ensure you research the company, so you have plenty of knowledge on them and their activities. The website, annual reports, trade brochures and social media pages are a great starting point for this.
You can take your prep further by completing research such as a SWOT analysis to view how the company is performing. Sharing your comments and observations on this in the interview can demonstrate your efforts to go the extra mile and your passion for the role / company.
Its very easy in an interview to politely say ‘no’ when asked if you have any questions but keeping the interview 2-way looks great.
Whilst hopefully, you will have naturally gathered some questions to ask at the end of your interview, this is not always the case, so it is a good idea to prepare some beforehand to ensure you come across interested and invested in both the company and process.
Use the job spec firstly, and most importantly, to form a clear understanding of the requirements and whether you feel this role is right for you. Following from this, use the spec to marry up your experience with both the personal and experiential requirements of the role, identify your strengths and weaknesses and use these in your favour.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more information if you feel the job specification and requirements are not detailed enough.
When it comes around to the interview keep in mind that your interviewer has limited time to recognize your relevance and suitability for the role. This is where you need to use your experience and strengths to sell yourself and highlight your appropriateness for the role… Sell, don’t tell!!
- Know your CV! Simple but key. You want to be able to always refer to your CV to sell yourself. Focus on your experience, responsibilities, and achievements.
With that said, don’t be afraid to emphasise what you have achieved, particularly as we mentioned previously, you have a limited time to impress the interviewer.
It can be a good idea to put together a simple document for the interviewer to keep which will re iterate the achievements you talk about. This can range from things such as company league tables, testimonials, specific examples of work and awards.
It can be impressive to help close the meeting, particularly when pursuing a sales opportunity. Use the opportunity to end with questions such as:
- What is the next stage of your process?
- What reservations, if any, do you have about me?
- How do I compare to other candidates you have met?
Unfortunately, after an interview there is very little you can do other than wait, and this can be an anxious time. You must avoid being overly eager or pushy as you don’t want to jeopardize any chances of getting the job.
With that said, following up after your interview with a short note can certainly work in your favour and leave a final positive impression.
Do this toward the close of day or in the following 2 days of the interview, by emailing everyone from the meeting thanking them for their time and confirming you interest in the role opportunity.
Finally, it is key to feedback to your consultant at the earliest possible time following your interview. This is extremely important, whether your feel your interview has gone well or not. It allows us to communicate with the client and gather their feedback too, which is essential to helping you move forward in the process.