‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ This saying seems to be very old hat but couldn't be truer for interviews!
It’s so disappointing to see someone who is technically perfect for a role, fail at the interview stage because they haven’t prepared. So, we hope this blog provides some helpful tips on how to avoid the obvious pitfalls.
The importance of a first impression
Studies show that a first impression is made within the first 17 seconds of meeting someone new. This means that before you have the chance to talk through your skills and previous experience an interviewer has already built an initial impression of what they think of you. So, it’s imperative to be clean, dress smartly and look and speak confidently.
Try to also arrive around 15 minutes before an interview, this will give you enough time to get settled and ready for the interview. Any longer, may look unprofessional and make you come across a little desperate.
These small changes can help make or break an interview.
The type of interview
It's important whether you are working with a recruiter or with the company directly that you find out exactly what type of interview you are going into. Interviews can range from an informal chat to competency-based interviews, as well as presentations or assessment tests.
By knowing which type of interview you are attending you will have a better understanding of what type of questions to prepare for and how long the interview will roughly last.
Competency based interviews are one of the most common types of interviews and involve questions targeting your specific skills or experience. A simple trick to help you prepare for these questions is to think of your skills and experience using the ‘CAR’ method.
Context: Describe the scenario faced, date and place
Action: Forms the main body and should be longest part of your answer
Result: The conclusion from the actions that you took
Do your research
In the modern world we have access to a world of information through the click of a button, so it has never been easier to gain a strong knowledge of a company. Most companies will have information about their services, their history, their values and their latest news on their website, so its important to spend at least half an hour looking at their website, their social media pages and their latest news.
Asking the right questions
At the end of most job interview the hiring manager will turn to you and ask “Do you have any questions?...”
Failing to prepare for this simple question can be detrimental, as it makes you look unprepared, uninterested and you run the risk of not having enough information about the role.
We often forget that job interviews should be seen as a two-way process, a chance for candidates to also find out if the role and company is right for them, not just the other way around.
In a recent blog we discuss some key questions to ask at the end of an interview, including ‘What are the day to day responsibilities of the role?’ ‘What are the biggest challenges in the role/ department?’.