How to prepare for a job interview

An interview is a daunting experience and one that many people do not like. However, if you want a job you are going to have to attend an interview, and it makes no difference on what sort of job you are going for. In order to be at your best during an interview you are going to need to plan and prepare.

The first thing you need to do when preparing for an interview is to research the company you could potentially be working for. Most companies have a website so this is the best place to start. Take some time navigating around the site and try to get a feel for the company and its culture. Start at the home page and then look at the “about us” section, if there is one of course and the “history section”. Have a look at the key personnel and staff and see who they are, what they look like, what qualifications they hold and what experience they have. Looking at the personnel is very important after all you may be working with these people in the very near future. You should also become familiar with the goods and products the company sells or the services it provides, after all you may be tested on these in the interview.

As well as looking at the company’s website have a look on some business intelligence sites in order to see where the company sits in the market place. Download some accounts and information from company intelligence sites and swot up on the company. This may seem a bit excessive but you need to get as much information as you possibly can about the company in order to answer questions that are going to be asked during the interview.

During an interview you are going to be asked many different questions and you have to be prepared for these. There are specific questions that are asked time and time again, regardless of the job or the company. These standard interview questions will be asked and it is important you have prepared for these when preparing for an interview. The person conducting the interview will expect you to be prepared, so you need to make sure you don’t disappoint. When preparing for the interview you need to note down all the standard questions, note down your response and then learn your answers rote fashion. You need to recite the answers over and over again so when you are asked them during the interview you can simply regurgitate them without any awkward silences.

As well as answering questions the interview provides the opportunity for you to ask questions about the company and its culture, the personnel, the job advertised and anything else you want to know. Whilst there is no such thing as a ‘stupid’ question there are some obvious questions that if asked will clearly demonstrate you have not researched the company at all, and the person conducting the interview may see this as a lack of interest. When preparing for an interview you need to think about so good questions you can ask. Try and avoid questions about salary, pay rises, benefits etc. and focus on things like career development, what is expected of you and other questions that show you are genuinely interested in the business and where the position can lead in the long term.

When preparing for an interview you need to ensure you know exactly where the interview is being held and who will be conducting the interview. When preparing for the interview you need to arrange transport so you get to the location of the interview in plenty of time. There are no excuses for being late for an interview so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. When preparing for an interview it is worth doing a practice run, which involves going from your home to the interview location during the time of day the interview is being held. This practice run will make sure you know exactly where you need to go for the interview, let you know how long it is going to take you to get to your interview and gives you the opportunity to find the best way of getting to your interview.

Preparing for an interview involves selecting what to wear and making sure it is ready to be worn at the interview. You need to dress to impress and look smart and professional. You should always wear a shirt and tie to an interview, even if the job you are being interviewed for is manual and you are going to be in overalls all day. Get your jacket dry cleaned, iron your shirt, press your trousers and polish your shoes well before the day of the interview.

So, the five important steps in preparing for an interview are;

1) Research the company and the job you are being interviewed for

2) Note down the standard questions and answers to those questions and practice them

3) Prepare a list of good questions to ask at the interview

4) Make sure you know where the interview is and perform a practice run in getting there

5) Make sure you dress to impress. Wear a shirt and tie, make sure your trousers are pressed and that your shoes are polished.