Putting Your Best Foot Forward: How to Prepare for an Interview

An interview is an opportunity to sell yourself.  How you go about this will depend on your personality and the type of role you are applying for, but some simple rules apply across the board.

Make sure you know the basics so you can put your best foot forward.

Preparation:

  • Check the location of the interview before the day and explore alternative options of transport.
  • Read through the job specification and know where your role will fit into the organisation.
  • Expect the interviewer to do a CV walk-through. Spend some time going through your CV, making sure you re-familiarise yourself with your previous roles, projects and key dates.
  • Be prepared for any technical questions that could arise from reviewing your CV.

Research:

  • Find out as much as you can about the company you are applying to; their products and services, scale, structure etc. In addition to the information your consultant will supply, you can find this out by reviewing:
  • the company’s website
  • annual reports
  • company directories
  • company brochures
  • LinkedIn
  • Google News.
  • Best of all, if possible, speak to someone who works for the company – this is always a useful source of information.

Day of the interview and arrival:

  • Plan to arrive ten minutes early, and always leave plenty of time to get there. Assume you are going to be held up and check traffic reports if necessary.
  • Don’t arrive too If you arrive more than 15 minutes before your interview, wait outside.
  • Take a pen and paper with you.
  • Dress to impress – wear a suit even if the dress code of the company you’re visiting is casual. Ensure your personal presentation (shoes / suit / shirt / tie / hair) is perfect.

During the interview

  • Act positively and confidently, and give a firm handshake.
  • Be prepared for different interview styles, including:
    • competency-based
    • panel
    • technical
    • formal / informal.

Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

  • This is a good time to find out more about the role.
  • Some questions you could prepare:
  • How do you see this role developing over the next two years?
  • What are the company’s growth plans?
  • What are the three most important things you expect the successful candidate to deliver in year one?
  • What does success look like within this role?
  • How do you like to manage?
  • What are the biggest challenges to be faced in the first six months?
  • What is the company culture like?
  • What new initiatives or technologies have recently been implemented?
  • What is your policy for learning and development?
  • At the end of the interview, it’s fine to ask how the interviewer felt it went and when you can expect to hear from them. You should re-affirm your interest in the role and thank them for their time.

 Other important notes

  • Don’t apologise constantly. If you’re late, apologise once.  If you don’t know something, don’t apologise; answer by explaining how you would go about finding the answer.
  • If you have more than one interview, remember what you have said to each interviewer. It’s fine to duplicate information across the interviews, but make sure you don’t repeat yourself to the same person.  Sometimes interviewers may have a short chat between interviews, and the second interviewer may be given the task of probing a particular area, so expect some repetition.
  • Never say negative things about your current employer or reasons for leaving. Try to keep this brief and professional.  Focus on the future, not on the past.
  • Always call your agent after the interview with feedback.
  • Never ask about remuneration – your agent will handle this. If you’re asked, feel free to answer appropriately if confident; otherwise, say you’d rather they spoke to the agent on that topic.

 The Rowben Consulting Team – Recruitment Specialists