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9th Jun 2017

How to prepare for an interview

David Elliott

Congratulations!

Who knew you’d get as far as an interview? Not me, that’s for sure.

Anyway, you’re here now so you should really make sure you’re properly prepared.

You might think you know loads about the company you’re about to interview with, that you’re a dab hand at interviews and, really, you should be sitting on the other side of the table.

But slow down there buttercup, take that attitude and you’re sure to find yourself first in the interviewers’ “wish we hadn’t bothered” folder.

Instead of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style, take heed of the advice your mother was giving you when she told you to always wear clean pants.

Really she was telling you always to be prepared - even overprepared - for something which has only a slight chance of happening.

That’s what you should be doing before an interview.

Basics like finding out all you can from a web search (this was a lot more difficult in the days before t’internet, believe me) are expected as a matter of course these days so don’t forget to learn all you can.

Lookup news stories to find out what the firm (or department if it’s a public sector job) has been up to, good or bad, and try and build up an in-depth picture of what exactly the company does, where it buys its raw materials, who its customers are, what are its biggest challenges, what has it planned for the future.

Go to the Companies House website (it’s where all companies must file their accounts and again this was a tedious process way back in the day when you actually had to GO to the Companies House office) and find out whether it’s making money or if it’s struggling to break even (not necessarily a bad thing if it’s a startup in its early days).

Look on Linked In (you need to have a good profile if you’re serious about getting a job) and see if any of your contacts work there - Linked In even does this for you – and if they do ask them what it’s like to work for.

These processes aren’t rocket science but if you don’t show up at interview without an apparent knowledge of the firm’s heartbeat then you might as well not bother.

And take the same thorough approach to yourself.

Make sure you know every word and syllable on your CV and even get a friend to look throughout it to try and spot anomalies or anything that doesn’t look right.

Get that friend to mock interview you and put you under real pressure so you get a taste of what it’s like to face an inquisitor.

And I the immediate run up to the interview be sensible.

Get your interview outfit ready a couple of days in advance, make sure you know how to get the interview venue, have any paperwork you need to take with your primed and ready to go and plan to get there early.

Simple things, but things which mean you’re lessening the stress on you at interview so you’re better prepared to face the panel.

It might sound like obvious advice but it’s amazing how many people are properly prepared at interview.

So take the time and give yourself the best chance of success.

It could be the job you spend the rest of your life in, where you meet your partner or where you make millions.

Maybe all three, so be prepared.

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