How to prepare for an interview
Interviews are some of the most important meetings we attend; they are the precursor to all the meetings you will attend in a company. While they can be daunting, the most important thing to remember is that you have been invited for the interview because the company is interested in meeting you. They have already shown interest. Knowing that your resume has impressed them, it's now your chance to impress them further in person.
Do your research
- Make sure you know exactly what the company does. What are their recent successes? What are the issues they're facing?
- Know the industry. Have there been any recent developments? Are there any issues?
- Know how you fit into the company. How do your skills fit in with what the company needs? How will your experience help this specific company?
- Try and find out exactly who's interviewing you. Know their name, their position and if they're who you'll be reporting to. This will help you get an idea of what they might want to find out. The HR manager would ask somewhat different questions to the person you will work for. Unless you're applying for a position in the HR department.
Enter the room filled with confidence
- Make sure you have planned your interview day in advance. You should know where the office is and exactly how you're going to get there. Plan to get there early, not just in time. If you can have a coffee nearby, you can go over your notes for a little while so that everything is fresh in your mind.
- Plan what you're going to wear. Should you wear a suit? The role and the kind of company should tell you whether you should wear one. Make sure your clothes are ready, it only adds stress to find out that what you planned to wear isn't back from the laundry the morning of the interview.
- Have a list of the key points you want to get across prepared and bring it with you. This list should include your achievements that are most relevant to the role. Go over these before you enter the interview.
- Bring any documents you might need with you. A copy of the job description, and a few copies of your resume.
Remember the interview works both ways
- Think of questions you want to ask. Asking questions shows that you have put some thought into the interview, have prepared, and are already thinking about the role. Asking the right questions can engage the interviewer, give them an idea of what working with you might feel like, and might just make them feel like you're already a part of the company. Also try to frame your questions so that they give you an opportunity to talk about your qualities or achievements.
- Gauge the interviewer and how the interview is progressing. If the interviewer is very relaxed and informal, you should empathize and engage them in a similar manner. If the interviewer seems like they're running out of questions, it might be time to ask more of your own or to offer to tell them how you see yourself fitting in and the value you can bring.
Like a presentation, preparation is key. The more you've prepared, the more confident you'll feel and the better you'll present yourself.