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How to Prepare for an Interview

We've all been there. You've found the perfect job and applied, perfected your CV, passed the selection process with flying colors and have received that all important letter or telephone call inviting you to an interview. This can leave you feeling both extremely excited and proud but at the same time petrified and nauseous with nerves.

Many thoughts flood your head. Will I buckle under pressure? Will I be able to answer the questions effectively? What should I wear? Oh my god what if my mind goes blank? These are all just normal responses. After all a little nerves can be good and keep you on your toes.

Research

Ok, so first things first, when planning for any interview know exactly what you are getting yourself into. You need to research the company. This can be done either online or by contacting the company directly to ask for information. Try and find out what the company does and what products they are involved with.

Do some research into what markets they work for and know a little around how the company began and how they work. If you applied through recruitment agencies then contact them for information as they will have been fully briefed on the role.

Job Spec

The next important thing is to read and reread the job specification over and over again until you fully understand what it is asking from you. If there is no job spec or you don't understand what it says, contacted the company and ask for one or speak to someone who can advise you on the role.

Planning for the Interview

Planning for the interview is crucial. Don't think you can just go in and try to wing it. You must do some sort of preparation or you will just be wasting your time. Reread your CV and familiarize yourself with everything you have written.

Make sure that you can confidently talk about all your skills and experiences and be able to give detailed examples of tasks you have undertaken. In the interview process you will most definitely be asked about the previous experiences you have held.

The better you can do this the more impressed the interviewer will be. If you have properly familiarized yourself with the job spec you will also be able to talk about how your skills will match up with the skills required for the job.

It's worth sitting down and brain storming some potential questions that you think you may be asked and preparing potential answers. Some popular questions you may be asked in an interview may include some of the following:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What do you see yourself doing in five years time?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How would your current/previous boss describe you?
  • How would your friends describe you?

You must also plan out some questions to ask during the interview. It is almost a given that an interviewer will ask if you have any questions. If you have nothing this can reflect badly and may show a lack of interest.

Ask about anything that was unclear to you, how the process works, ask them to describe a typical day or about how you can develop within the role. Never ask about salary or holiday here as the employer may feel that you are only interested in the benefits.

Plan Your Journey

Please don't leave this to the last minute. The day before your interview map out your route so you don't get lost, follow the journey on Google street view so you can familiarize yourself with the route. Look into train times, bus journeys, traffic, parking or anything else that will have an impact on your travels in advance so you know actually what you are doing and remember to leave a little bit of extra time for delays.

It's much better to be early than it is to be late. Take the employers details with you, because if you do somehow get delayed you will need to contact them immediately and explain the problem.

Deciding What to Wear

First impressions can be extremely hard to forget so you want to get this one right. It's best looking into whether the company favors a more relaxed or a more corporate dress code. You don't want to be turning up either under or over dressed.

This will just add extra pressure and make you feel even more nervous. Once again check with the recruiter or employer to see if they have a preference on what to wear. Even if the dress code does say casual, this doesn't mean you can turn up in a pair of flip flops and an old tee shirt.

Stick to smart casual. At all times make sure your clothes are clean, shoes are perfect and your personal hygiene is up to scratch, make up and jewelry kept to a minimum, just remember less is more. Whatever type of interview you have in whatever industry you want to work in, you will most definitely need to prepare for your interview. Make sure you portray confidence, stay calm and just do your best.

By Guest Writer Harpreet Chahal

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