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Part 2: Preparing for an Interview

December 21, 2015

Interviews can be nerve wracking but that’s only if you make it nerve wracking. The best way to start off is to stay confident, show your personality and be yourself. One of the hardest things with an interview is the unknown but that’s normal to feel like that, hence why you should prep and plan before the big day.

 

I must say I have had pretty good practice with interviews as I have been on my fair share - where I have been interviewed with one, two or even three people at times. This can be very intimidating but don’t worry as I hope this post will help you.

 

QUICK TIP: make sure you know your CV inside out and have good answers regarding your experience so that you will be taken more seriously and won’t be caught out. I would also talk about your previous company and experience in a short and sweet manner. It is more important to talk more about why you have applied for the role and what attracts you to the company. Always stay POSITIVE in an interview.

 

Research

When you get an interview it can be very exciting BUT the first thing you must do is research the company as I have had this a few times in interviews where I have been tested - luckily I was prepared.

 

Key things to look out for:

Company about page

Company history

Company news

Find the location

Company values and ethos

When the company was founded

Team photos (it helps to know who might actually be interviewing you)

 

Depending on what industry you are going for it really does vary so for example if you were applying for a PR role you would need to research which clients they have on their books.

 

Enough skills, experience and qualifications for the role

Personally I think this can be a really frustrating topic as some jobs that are advertised are exactly what you are looking for and you think to yourself “yes I would love to do that but I can’t apply as I don’t have enough experience, skills or qualifications the company is looking for!” This can really limit your opportunities which sometimes doesn’t feel fair.

 

So the best way to solve this is to be realistic...

Know exactly what you want

Have the right skills, experience and qualifications

Career direction

Salary expectations

Location

 

Once you have summed up those key things this will make it a lot easier for you to make decisions, rather than wasting your time. All interviews are different and what I have learnt is that first impressions really do count. As long as you dress smartly, speak clearly and confidently, know about the company you are applying to and what the role entails then you will be fine. 

 

Prepare responses

I used to see an interview as someone getting to know you. This really helped me keep my confidence up and not be so nervous. Interviews are always about impressions so make sure you look the part. Obviously it is important to answer questions clearly, confidently and care about the opportunity. If you don’t know the answer to a question that the employer is asking you then don’t panic as the best thing to do is to be honest. Ask politely “do you mind repeating the question again”? There is nothing to be embarrassed about because if you’ve made a good impression in the first place then you will stand out amongst other candidates.

 

Plan what to wear and bring 

Dressing smartly and appropriately is a must. Whether you are a boy or girl you have to make sure you are fully groomed and looking your best. Always bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated, any documentation which could be a passport (only if requested) and lastly your CV (with references) just in case the employer forgets to bring a copy. This shows you have initiative and mean business. 

 

Follow-up

If you feel the interview went well whether you applied for the role direct or through an agency and haven’t heard straight way then it is always good to send a follow up email or phone call. Whether you got the job or not always stay professional. Never be disheartened as interviews are a great experience when it comes to growing confidence and if you received great feedback but didn’t necessarily get the job then look at it as a positive and do even better with your next interview. We all know that there is a lot of competition out there with other candidates but never let that get to you. Keep going and you will be fine!

 

 Photo: Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

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