In the fourth of a series of Love Your Career articles, we share some top tips for preparing for an interview.
An interviewer aims to get to know you and your motivations (values, interests, personality and skills) and is interested in hearing examples of how your experiences relate to the requirements of the job. It is natural to be nervous about interviews but remember being invited to an interview is proof that the employer already believes in your potential.
There are many types of interview, including telephone interviews, initial screening interviews, in-depth individual interviews, panel interviews, assessment centres and online video interviews.
- Preparation for the big day is essential. Key to this is knowing yourself, knowing the job and the company. Your application form or CV has been successful in getting you to the interview, so review what have written focusing on your experiences in college, work and extracurricular activities.
- Provide examples of how your personality, skills, strengths, interests and motivation make you suitable. Think of relevant stories/events/experiences that indicate you can do the job; will do the job and will fit into the company culture.
- Be aware of the company's products and services and their competitors. Research the company website, brochures, reports and accounts, policies, mission statements and online press releases.
- Talk to people who are in the types of positions that you are seeking and make a list of potential questions and possible responses.
- Organise a mock interview with your Careers Advisor. This will help to draw out issues that you may not have considered and will enable you to get useful feedback to improve your performance.
- Practice with friends and get them to ask you the questions you expect to be asked
- Appearance and personal hygiene are important. Be sociable and friendly. Arrive on time. Try to relax and speak clearly. Avoid fidgeting and using phrases like "you know" and "I mean".
- Most employers are looking for applicants to demonstrate a specific set of skills and competencies essential to the job, for example, teamwork, communication, problem-solving and time management. Prepare to give specific examples of situations when you have demonstrated those competencies.
- Your questions at the end of the interview are important. Following questions would include those concerning personal development, further study and promotional opportunities.
After the interview
If you are not successful, always call and ask for feedback on why you did not secure the position. You may get some valuable tips on how to improve your performance next time out.