Well done, you got yourself an interview! Your CV clearly made an impact and now it's up to you to make a lasting impression in your interview. So all that is left to do is to put in a bit of preparation prior to the interview and then it's your time to shine and nail that interview!
Here's my list of the 8 best ways to prepare for your interview:
1. Know your CV
Yes, you would think you would know what you have done, but the amount of times people are asked about something on their CV and hit a complete blank or they can't remember what it is the interviewer is referring to, is honestly a little worrying. So make sure you know your own CV back to front. Be prepared and go in expecting that you could be asked on any element included in your CV. Whether it is a gap in your working dates, a course you took years ago, or a question about something you did in one of your earlier jobs. Know it all and be prepared to explain where necessary.
2. Know the job spec
Knowing the specs of the position shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the position and are the kind of person who makes an effort. Read over the posting of the job you are being interviewed for and make sure that you understand the various expectations and requirements of the position you will need to meet. If there is anything you are unsure of, make a note of it and ask your interviewer in the interview.
3. Look at the company's website
Finding out more about the company which the position is for, is really important. Learning what the company is about, what they do, the size and where they are based will help you determine whether it's a company you could see yourself working at. If the company interests you, then your enthusiasm will come through in your responses during your interview. Furthermore, if you have some insight of the company going into the interview, this tells the interviewer that you really are interested in the position and are likely to be a candidate with initiative.
4. Prepare your own questions
It is also almost guaranteed that, towards the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions about the company or the position. So prepare a question or two beforehand. Structure your questions to show that you did your research but are interested to find out more. Asking questions is your chance to establish whether the company is the right culture fit for you and whether the job prospects meet your expectations. For example, (if it is not included on the website) how many employees work at the company? What is the working environment like? What is the management style of your new boss? Is there room for growth within the company? What are the biggest challenges in the role? Who are the company's main competitors? Asking questions like this shows your genuine interest in the position and leaves a good impression on the interviewer.
If researching the company leaves you feeling that it is not the job for you, then you have the opportunity to cancel the interview. Don't go ahead with an interview for a company or job that doesn't excite you, as you are wasting time that you could be using to find the right job.
5. Practice your answers
Although every interviewer has their own style of asking questions, almost all interviewers will cover at least some of the more typical interview questions you always hear about. Preparing your answers to these types of questions beforehand will leave you feeling confident and prevent you from stumbling over your words to the most simple of answers.
6. Know your interviewers name
Find out who it is that is going to be interviewing you ahead of time. Going into an interview with a firm handshake, warm smile and greeting your interviewer using their name shows that you are a confident, warm person who is organized and prepared.
What you wear says a lot about you. Upon meeting, your interviewer will immediately form their first impression of you based on how you carry yourself and what you are wearing. Looking neat, tidy and professional has a huge impact on your interviewer's first impression of you.
Decide on your outfit a few days ahead of time so you can make sure it is cleaned and ironed and you have no last minute "I have nothing to wear" wardrobe moments twenty minutes before you need to leave the house.
But remember, your outfit extends to more than just your clothes. So besides making sure your shoes are cleaned and your outfit is professional and appropriate to the type of job you are applying for, there are a few other things you need to make sure are on point too. Hair and makeup should be simple, nails neatly trimmed – and clean, and remember your smile! It will be your best accessory :)
8. Be on time
Work out how much time you need in order to get to your interview location. Then add an additional 10 – 20 minutes (or more) to account for any unforeseen traffic – even if it's the middle of the day, there is always the chance that road works or an accident could happen on your route.
Look at a map at least a day before and make sure you know exactly where you are going. If you think, it looks complicated or you are unfamiliar with the area, then add an extra 5 – 10 minutes on.
Then add an extra 5 minutes for arriving early. Arriving early shows that you are organized and reliable and will give you a chance to sit and gather your thoughts and breathe before you go in for the interview. If you are 20 minutes early, rather sit in your car and wait – because as unprofessional as it is when someone is late, it is just as unprofessional when someone is incredibly early. Your interviewer might be busy with another applicant and may have to interrupt their interview to let you in.
So pre-empt for any delays, know your route, arrive early and if you are too early, just relax in your car and go over your answers to some potential interview questions until 5 minutes before.
If you implement these 8 ways to prepare for an interview, you will go into your interview feeling a lot more confident, determined and calm. By removing all the unnecessary additional stress of being unprepared, you can focus your energy on the task at hand. This will shine through in your responses, demeanour and the ease with which you interact with your interviewer.
And trust me, any good interviewer will be able to pick up immediately if you are prepared or not and this will most definitely affect their overall impression of you.
Now go out and crush it!