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Everything you need to do before a job interview

27/03/2019
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Everyone gets nervous before a job interview, yet they’re so important for securing a role. How can you ensure that you’ll present your best self in such a short amount of time?

The key is preparation. 

Way before you meet the hiring manager, you need to start preparing how you'll approach your job interview
(Image via pxhere)

From the minute you secure your job interview, you need to begin preparing how you’re going to manage it. These are the four essential things you need to focus on in order to ensure you’re well prepared before your interview:

Think about everything you might be asked and plan out a suitable, concise answer for it
(Image via Pixabay)

Plan your answers in advance

While you can never know exactly what you’ll be asked in an interview, you can often make a reasonable guess. A few days before your interview, write down all the questions that you think you might be asked, then think about some effective answers to them. 

Begin with the most common interview questions, eg. “Tell me about yourself”, “Talk me through your CV”, “Where would you like to be in five years time”, “What are your strengths/weaknesses”. 

Then move on to some of the more technical questions that might be more specific to your industry or the role you’re applying for. Go through the job description thoroughly and take note of each point that the hirer says they’re looking for - these are the most likely things they’re going to ask you about. 

Write down short but detailed answers to each of these questions. Really consider how you’re answering: are you keeping to the topic? Are you mentioning all the relevant experience that you have? Are you getting across enough information without rambling?

In the run up to the interview go over these answers again and again so you can respond comfortably when they come up. Even if the interviewer throws in something unexpected, you’ll have set a reliable base of good answers, and your mind won’t be overwhelmed by coming up with off-the-cuff responses to anticipated questions.

Present yourself the way a sales person might sell a product
(Image via pxhere)

Work on your brand

While you’re preparing your answers to standard questions, it’s a good time to focus on yourself, and what makes you the right person for this role.

An interview is like a sales pitch for your own skills. You have to convince them that you’re better than anyone else they’ve considered. And just like a good salesman needs to believe in their product, you need to believe in yourself.

So go through your own personal story. What led you here? What skills have you gathered along the way. Focus on all the positives and write down each of the strengths that you bring. Develop your own story as a personal brand - what makes your brand successful and why should your interviewer buy into it?

Factor this into your prepared interview answers.

Learn everything about the company, the industry and the reponsibilities that come with the role so you can talk knowledgeably in the interview
(Image via Pixabay)

Research, research, research

Researching the company is the number one interview advice that everyone gives - but that’s only because it is so essential. If you walk into a company, claiming you want to work there for the foreseeable future but can’t name any of their products, projects or services - your interviewer’s not going to view you as a serious candidate.

Take some time to research the company, but don’t stop at the “about us” page of their website. Google news stories about their recent developments, follow them on social media and look back at what they’ve been promoting over the last six months. Charm your interviewer by talking about impressed you were by their recent product launch/marketing campaign/growth reports etc.

Just as you want them to buy into your brand, let them know that you’re a fan of theirs.

Following that - research the role. If it’s a similar move from your current job, then you should already know the ins and outs of it. But if it’s a step up, or an entry to a new industry, make sure you know what to expect before you interview. As well as familiarising yourself with everything on the job description, dig into what the common elements of the same role are in other companies. Connect with people with similar roles on social networking sites like LinkedIn to see what they’re saying - or even message them and ask for advice.

And don’t forget to sign up to industry newsletters and relevant websites to gain a fuller awareness of the latest developments and biggest challenges within the company’s sector. 

The day before the interview: pick out your outfit, plan your route, set your alarm, have a good meal and get a good nights sleep
(Image via Pixabay)

Make those last-minute preparations

Finally, after working on your answers and learning everything you can about the company, industry and role, you’re ready to head into the interview.

On the eve of interview day, it’s time to make your final arrangements so you don’t get caught out and flustered before you go in.

Prepare your interview outfit. From your research into the company you should have some awareness of the culture - is it a “suit and tie” kind of place, or a more casual office (if in doubt, it never hurts to send a quick email to the recruiter/hiring manager to just check how formal the interview will be). While you might not want to sit in a full suit while everyone else is in jeans and t-shirts, you should still aim to be smart and professional - opt for a plain shirt and smart shoes over trainers and a hoodie for example.

Pick your outfit out the night before and ensure it’s clean and freshly ironed.

Plan your route to the interview location - check Google maps for estimated travel times, then ensure you’re giving yourself a lot longer than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to turn up late because of a traffic jam or train delay.

Print off a fresh copy of your CV along with your job description, and put both in a neat folder to take with you. Most likely the interviewer will have a copy of your CV in front of them anyway, but it’s best to play it safe and take it in with you just in case you need to refer to something specific on it. This will also give you the chance to read through it just before the interview, so everything’s fresh in your mind when you begin.

Finally, have a good, healthy meal and an early night, followed by a decent breakfast. The best thing you can do before an interview is make sure you’re going in fresh, calm and alert. Being in your best frame of mind will make all the difference. Try to relax the evening before, knowing that you’ve done everything you can to prepare for this.

Ready to put these tips into practice?

Fircroft can help you secure your next engineering job in the Oil & Gas, Petrochemical & Chemical, ICT, Power, Nuclear & Renewables, Automotive, Construction & Infrastructure or Mining & Minerals industries.

Register with us today to receive job alerts on the latest opportunities for you. 

Recent Comments
Thanks for this guide
Ogbonna Isaac, 30 March 2019
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