12 tips to prepare for your interview
Written by Catherine Nangle almost 2 years ago.
It’s important to be prepared for a job interview, and with so many things to remember, it can be unnerving. You need to make a good impression and ensure you’re ahead of the competition, all in a short space of time.
We spoke to Paul Davis, an experienced Resourcing Consultant who works in our in team in London.
“In my job, I’ve covered a variety of different areas in the bank across the years. From interviewing hundreds of applicants, I believe these 12 tips are the key to interview success. You’ll really improve your chances of getting noticed, by demonstrating your skills effectively and making sure your answers show your abilities well”.
1. Do your research
It’s really important to do some research on the company you want to work for. Learn about the organisation’s history, their core values and what their future ambitions are as a company. By knowing this, you’ll appear prepared, and will show you're serious about working for them.
Write down your key points for your answers, how do you wish to come across? Practice discussing your career interests, know your skillset well, and think of some past achievements to highlight. It’s also good to try practicing in the mirror, or doing a mock interview with a friend to get some useful feedback from them. You could even try recording it on your phone then playing it back to yourself.
3. Be there on time (or even better, early)
Make it an absolute priority to be at the right place at the right time. If you’re unsure, contact the company and double check the time and location beforehand. If you can, you may want to have a look around the area beforehand, to see if there’s parking if you need it, and check how long it takes to get there. Make sure you know who you’re meeting, and smile and shake their hand on your arrival.
4. Look the part
Make sure you dress smartly. Think about how you want to appear, look professional and tidy. It may be useful to plan your outfit the night before.
5. Be ready for questions
Even with all the preparation in the world, you won’t be able to predict the exact questions you’ll be asked. However, it’s always good to think of some useful and adaptable answers to use. Answer any questions about yourself confidently; make sure you can tell the interviewer about your future goals, as well as your past achievements.
6. Have your own questions
Using your research you did earlier as a guide; ask some suitable, relevant questions. It’s important you take a strong interest in the company through your questions about them, like asking what their working culture is like. This will show you’re really interested, and that you’re keen to be a part of their organisation.
7. Watch your body language
Smile, relax and try to keep calm. Worrying won’t help, and your interviewer will see you’re uncomfortable from your body language. If you feel too nervous, pause, take a deep breath, and carry on. Be positive, try and rationalise the situation, so you can look forward to your potential new job!
8. Make eye contact
You need to be willing to engage the interviewer, so always maintain eye contact. Eye contact is especially important when you introduce yourself, this way you’ll appear friendly and confident.
9. Listen carefully, speak clearly
Be engaged and interested, nod and respond to what your interviewer is saying. Be a proactive listener, focus on what’s being said, and don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat themselves if you missed something. Take a moment to think of what you’re going to say before you say it. It’s better to pause and have something great to say than to jump in and have to backtrack. When speaking, be calm and confident, with a positive tone of voice.
10. It’s okay to make mistakes
When you’re asked a question about where things have gone wrong, or mistakes you’ve made in the past, it’s okay to talk about these. The key is to make sure you tell the interviewer how you solved these problems, and how it’s shaped you to go on to improve in the future. Show you’re resilient, and ready to take on any new challenges this potential job could bring.
11. Don’t focus on the negative
Don’t focus on the negative aspects when answering questions. Be enthusiastic and positive about your old job, even if you didn’t like working there. After all, without those experiences you wouldn’t have been invited to this interview. Remember, it’s okay to admit where you can improve, just make sure you don’t go over the top with self-criticism.
12. End on a positive note
When the interview ends, smile and thank the interviewer for their time. You want to leave a lasting impression in their minds of your positive attitude and commitment to working for them.
“Remember, always highlight your achievements and the things you’re proud of that will make you stand out from the crowd, as this will really show your desire for the role. Good luck in achieving your career aspirations!”
If you’d like to explore the topic of interviews a bit further, why not take a look at our blog on 6 questions you might be asked at your next interview, here: