Familiarise yourself with the company’s website. Look at the ‘about us’ section and understand what they do, the number of employees, office locations and company structure.
Read the recent news stories and try to remember one or two key stories. You may get an opportunity to mention these at some point during the interview to show you have done your research.
LinkedIn will give you additional information as well as an insight into the company’s culture according to what they are posting. This is a good way to see what the employees and your potential future colleagues may be like including the interviewer!
Twitter and Facebook are also good for the same reasons. You may be asked what you think of their LinkedIn or Twitter presence.. Interviewers sometimes like to use their interviewees as a way to get insights and opinions from a fresh pair of eyes.
Google the company’s key products and see what other companies come up. Aim to know of one or two direct competitors.
“Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.” Inadequate preparation will result in you lacking in that all important confidence before the interview. Knowledge is power!
Its good to compact your notes down so you have everything onto one page. Another way to do it is to try and think about what the interviewers will ask you. Most companies will have a list of 20/25 questions to ask candidates and will usually choose about 10.
Questions could be such as:
Why do you want to work for us?
What do you believe you can add to our company? How do you motivate others?
Write these questions out and then prepare answers. Even if you don’t get asked the exact questions you can still adjust and tailor the answers you have accordingly.
More abstract questions might be:
How do you stick jelly to the ceiling?
These questions you cant prepare for and they are usually to see how you react in
difficult situations. Give an answer, stay calm and don’t worry too much about the answer, there is probably no right or wrong answer.
Tip: In most cases, employers will want to see where you can ‘add value’ to the role immediately.
Tell them about you!
Read the job spec and tailor your experience to what they are looking for in terms of skills and what you will be doing in the role.
No doubt if you are applying for the role, you believe you are right fo ther role, and want the interviewer to know this. Make a list of important points about yourself that
you want the interviewer to know and then learn them, so on the day you can make sure you get these points across.
Make a list of your key strengths as well as weaknesses. Try to be more imaginative in the weaknesses than ‘I’m a perfectionist’. Its OK to have weaknesses and show them, it shows honesty and transparency in your character. A good way to answer this question is to give a weakness that is totally unrelated to the role. E.g Public Speaking
Think of your achievements: in either your business or personal life, list them and then try to convey these during the interview.
Be aware of what is on your social media. Your interviewers may search for you on various social media platforms to get more of an idea of who you are – if the impression they are left with is a party animal, you are already at somewhat of a disadvantage.
Check your CV for any grammatical or spelling errors. You may leave this with your interviewers after the interview and it will be what they remember you by.
Tip: If asked ‘tell me about you’ – be brief on the earlier years of your career and expand on the latter.
‘Dress to Impress’: You only get one chance to make a first impression!
- Suit (Dark Colour Ideally)
- White blouse
- Skirt (A sensible length, no higher than just above the knee) Jewellery – limited
- Neat hair – Ideally long hair tied back
- If painted nails – no chips
- Suit (dark colour ideally)
- Long sleeve shirt
- Dark socks
- Neat hair
Have everything ready the night before, nothing will add to your nerves more than running late or being rushed.
Night before checklist:
A print out of a map
The company address written down
Contact numbers in case you do get lost
Names and positions of your interviewers
All necessary ironing
A few printed versions of your CV/presentation, plus spares
Check your interview confirmation for any checklists of stuff you have to bring such as a copy of your passport, you will look disorganised if you fail to bring what is required.
Leave LOTS of time. If you are late, you have halved your chances of being successful before even walking through the door.
From the moment you walk through the front door, you will be making an impression. Be aware of the receptionist, your interview starts here! They, too will have a first impression of you and may well report back to the your interviewers on what thought.
- Good eye contact
- Firm handshake
- Speak clearly and slowly
- Positive body language – uncrossed arms
- No slouching
- Highlight your key attributes
- Most importantly: SMILE, RELAX & ENJOY!
- Your interviewers how they feel you match to the role and if there is anything theyfeel you could improve on. Asking for feedback shows a humbleness and that you are willing to adapt and learn.
- What the next stage is? When will I hear?
You’ve almost made it through the interview, but don’t be fooled into thinking your work is done, those final moments of an interview can leave a lasting impression.
Give a final statement/summary of why you really like the job, the company culture, the people – what it is you feel really passionate about.
- Remain positive throughout. Never be negative. Do NOT slate your old boss/company If you have a negative reason for leaving your last role, say so but in a diplomatic way.
- Backup everything you say up with practical examples. Its all very well saying you are a leader.. but how?
- Make sure you know your own CV. A large number of people have their CV’s produced for them by a third party so make sure you know all dates, duties, interests etc.
- Breathe and THINK. It’s OK to pause before you give an answer. If you don’t you will find yourself saying the first thing that comes into your head, rather than that planned answer you had.
- Try not to answer a question with just Yes or No. The more interesting your answers are and the better you back them up – the more memorable they will be.
- If you don’t understand an answer or hear it correctly, ask for it to be repeated. Much better than guessing and leaving your interviewers wondering what you are talking about.
- ]Be confident: it’s easy to get cold feet when going to an interview. Often we question whether we are not good/capable enough for the role. You must remember that you got this far and the company selected YOU to come in for an interview.
- Enjoy it. Your interviewers are have been in the same position as you many times before!
- Let your personality shine and be yourself: its important the interviewers see you for who you really are so they can judge your fit with the company culture and be right for the role. Being natural will mean you will be much more relaxed and confident in the interview too.
Typical interview questions
Competency based questions:
- Tell me about a time when you worked successfully as part of a team?
- Describe a time when you were successful in getting people to work togethereffectively?
- Give me an example of how you dealt with a difficult customer at work?
- Give me an example of how you dealt with a difficult situation that requiredextensive communication?
- Give an example of when you have lead a team to reach a goal?
Factual based questions:
- How would your current boss describe you?
- Why did you apply for this role?
- What do you think you will be doing in the role?
- Give me an example of one of your values
- What do you know about us?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- How long were you at your last company?
- What is your biggest achievement at XXX?
- What level of responsibility did you have at XXX?
- What motivates you?
- What has been your best ever achievement?
- How do you motivate others?