How to prepare for an interview

How to prepare for an interview


No matter where you are in your career, a
job interview is often seen as a make-or-break situation which requires
careful planning. However time taken to prepare is time
well spent, so prepping thoroughly beforehand
should alleviate stress and help you feel more confident on the day. So, if
you’ve just been invited to interview for a new role, here are a few
preparation fundamentals to bear in mind. The best way to start is to get to know
the job description inside out. Read carefully through the
requirements for the role and start matching your relevant skills and
achievements to each point. Once you feel like you have a strong list of relevant
examples, write them down and practice articulating each one. If there are some skills you don’t feel
you possess, don’t panic. In reality most candidates will have
mastered some skills but lack of others. So be honest and prepare a response
which shows how you can improve these attributes and reference any skills you
do have which will speed up the learning process. Interviews can be hard to predict, but
there are standard interview questions so it’s essential to spend time
practicing how you might respond to these common questions without sounding too rehearsed. Whether you’re asked about your weaknesses or how well you work in
a team, the most common interview questions
generally fall into one of three categories. These tend to include ‘behavioural
questions’. The aim is to get you talking about how
you demonstrated a particular skill or handled a certain situation. The most common behavioural questions
will usually involve teamwork, leadership or handling pressure, so try to prepare a
suitable success story for each. ‘Hypothetical questions’ These are the ‘what would you do if?’
questions where the interviewer will try to test your problem solving skills in a
hypothetical situation. These questions might ask you how you
deal with an irate customer or how you’d go about selling an idea to a client. Just remember to reference any previous
experiences and explain how they will prepare you for this situation. ‘Stress questions’. These questions are
harder to prepare for but they usually try and test how you
think on your feet and respond under pressure. A common tactic is to adopt an
aggressive attitude and ask you directly about why you left a roll or why you
don’t possess a particular skill. They can also take the form of brain teasers
or puzzles – like ‘how many tires are produced in the
UK each year?’ – which randomly test your logic or numeracy skills. Here its
important to remain calm, refrain from being offended and, remember, you don’t always have to get the right answer. The more you can find out about the
company and your interviewer the better. So a large portion of your interview
prep should be dedicated to conducting thorough research. Your most valuable
resources will be the company’s website and social media channels where you’ll
be able to better understand the company’s activities and find recent
news releases, annual reports, marketing activity and other useful material. If you
want to find out more about who will be interviewing you, use LinkedIn and
Twitter to find out about your employer’s background, recent
achievements and any articles they may have written. This can give you an
advantage during the interview with material you can use to relate to the
interviewer and spark up a meaningful conversation. Its also important to
enquire about the interview format as this will have a huge impact on how you
decide to prepare. If its a panel interview its likely you’re going to have
to prepare answers for different interviewers. Whereas a group interview
will often involve an assessment of your leadership potential and teamwork skills. A recruitment consultant is best placed to
help you with preparing for different situations, so don’t hesitate to ask for their advice. Towards the end of the interview, most
interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask them questions. This is a great chance to show off your
enthusiasm for the role and find out more about the company. So try think of four or five meaningful
questions to ask. Avoid asking about pay or benefits but try
and prepare questions which are role specific or involve discussions about
the company’s direction or working culture. Our final tip? if you feel comfortable don’t be afraid to ask how you did at
the end of the interview. It shows that you’re serious about the
role. –

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