Interview Preparation Tips

Interview Basics. Get your notes in order and find out

  • Which organisation is interviewing you? A recruitment agency or the hiring company?
  • The name and job title of the person interviewing you.
  • What is the postal address and nearest train station or car park?
  • What format will the interview take? Panel interview, psychometric or competency testing or a straight one to one interview?
  • How long do they expect the interview to last?
  • Is there a coffee shop nearby so you can arrive early and compose yourself?

Company Background. Who will you be meeting?

  • Re-read the job specification. If you simply responded to a short job advert, ask to see the job spec.
  • Look up your interviewer on LinkedIn to find out their job history. How senior are they? Do you know any of the same people?
  • Read the employers website. What products do they sell? How will your role fit in to the bigger picture? Do you agree with their business ethics?

List Building. Questions make you look interested

  • Build a list of questions that the employer is likely to ask you. Once you have at least ten questions, start rehearsing your answers so that you recall them easily on the day. Enlist the help of a friend if necessary.
  • Now make a second list of skills or knowledge that you don’t have, that the employer wants, and write out answers to those points. Remember they invited you for an interview so they want to meet you.
  • Finally, your third list should be all of the questions you want answered at the interview. These can be about the company, about the team you will work in or about your role.

Strictly Business-wear. Do you have an appropriate interview outfit?

  • The interviewer will judge you from the second they spot you in the reception area or interview room. Your hair cut, your shoes, your clothing, your scruffy old student satchel – everything you wear and say will be assessed to decide whether you are like them, or whether you will be a risk for them to hire.
  • Remind yourself the total value of this opportunity (your salary x the average number of years you typically keep a job). Then decide to prepare your interview outfit in advance of the interview day. Launder, press, polish and sew if necessary to ensure you are well presented and comfortable on the day.
  • If your old suit is straining at the seams a little since the last time you wore it, head down to the shops and find one that fits. There are some great machine washable and non-iron suits that you can pick up at great prices. Consider it an investment in your future.

Night Before. Early to bed, early to rise

  • The night before your interview decide what time you’re going to bed in order to be up bright and early in time for your interview.
  • Set your alarm and then set your mobile phone alarm for back-up.
  • Pack your bag and print off a copy of your CV for every person in the room and a map of the interview location.
  • If you followed steps 1-4 above, you will have done everything in your power to prepare to present yourself in the best possible light.