Planning for a Job Interview
Planning for a Job Interview

Have you just spotted your dream job? Or maybe you are getting back into work after starting a family? Once you have the job interview confirmed (congratulations!), you now need think about interview preparation.

From researching the company you’ve applied with to scrutinising your own social media accounts, prep is everything. They need YOU, remember, so be the best you can!

Firstly, there is more than one type of interview. The main three are a face-to-face interview, telephone interview and a video interview.

Preparing for any of those is all similar, and the first step is to do your research.

Research

There will be plenty to look into. Find out as much as you can about your potential employer. This could include just what it is they do, who their target audience is and the size of the company. What will your role involve? What is the job description? Look at how your skills will fit that role and ensure you have a decent understanding of how the business works. Check their social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like etc. which will help give you a good idea of the personality of the company and if it suits your personality too.

Employers and social media

Not only can you use social media to view a company, but they will likely use the same to suss you out too. How confident are you that you are projecting your best image? At risk of sounding obvious, it is better if all settings are set to private. Just be aware that this won’t necessarily deny access to friend’s photos that you are tagged in.

It may be worth digging around to untag yourself from items such as the extremely drunken video taken of you a couple of years ago. Employers may be put off by boasts of how much you can drink and then passing out.

Likewise, they’re not that fond of bad language, inappropriate behaviour or reference to drug use. You should never post something you wouldn’t want anybody to see.

As an extra precaution, you can check your social media score with your Notty Account It will highlight most used words (not profanity you hope!), how you look to someone else and gives you an idea of your personality, plus so much more. What’s not to like about that?

What to wear

Plan your outfit in advance- wearing a new ill-fitting suit doesn’t bode well because you have had no time to exchange it. Similarly, buttons missing from a shirt or muddy shoes won’t look great. First impressions are huge!

If you are unsure of the dress code, just remember that overdressed is better than underdressed; better a smart outfit than jeans and a t-shirt. Keep your hair neat, or tied back if long, ensure your fingernails are clean and don’t overdo it with the jewellery and fragrances.

Presentations

If you have to do a presentation, get a good idea of what is required within it and to whom you are presenting it. Keep it simple yet memorable.

Always proofread any work you do, silly mistakes are just that and not necessary.

Ask the company what equipment may be available so that you know what you will and won’t need to provide yourself.

If you are supplying handouts, present them after rather than before. It is all too easy to skim through a document and expect what is to come. Keep their attention by keeping them ‘in the moment’. And above all, practice!

What to take

There are a few essentials that you need with you. These include:

  • Photo ID- you may be asked to prove who you are
  • An updated CV, more than one copy if necessary
  • Any certificates, recommendations or work examples that apply to the role
  • Pen and notepad
  • Fully charged laptop and mobile phone, particularly if doing a presentation
  • Money for transport or parking
  • A bottle of water
  • Any notes you have taken to aid the interview process
On the day

Try and arrive approximately 10 minutes early. Plan your journey in advance and allow for roadworks that may slow you down or public transport running late.

By now, you will have planned as much as you can. When entering the meeting room, be polite yet confident and greet the interviewer with a firm handshake. Smile, keep eye contact and sit up straight, don’t slouch and no badmouthing your previous employers. First impressions last!

You may expect interview questions such as:

  • “Tell us about yourself.”
  • “Why should we hire you?”
  • “Why do you want to work here?”
  • “What can you bring to the company?”
  • “What are the achievements you are most proud of and why?”
  • “What are your strengths?”

Keep any answers clear and concise and take time to pause if you need to, before answering.

And not forgetting the questions you may have for them. An interview is for both sides- for them to see if you will be an asset and for you to find out if it is the job you hope for!

At the end of the interview, be polite to the interviewer or panel. You may ask when they will inform you of their decision. Make any notes while the meeting is still fresh in your mind, particularly any questions you may feel are helpful for future interviews.

That’s it- let’s hope that you secure that much-wanted job and rest in the knowledge that you have done your best!