You’ve managed to climb the first mountain; you have been asked to attend an interview. Your résumé must have presented your credentials sufficiently for them to want to know more about you. They may already have taken up references if you offered any at that stage. Now you have the most difficult stage. You might have just one opportunity to present yourself the best way you can to secure the position available – even if you later decide you do not want to work there and turn down any offer they make.
Your preparation at this stage is vitally important.
Research the company
You need to know a lot about the organization before you decide which outfit to wear for your interview. Understanding the business will help your self-assurance before and during the interview.
If you go to the interview feeling as though you can answer the inevitable question – what do you know about us? – you will be able to deliver a perfect answer which will show the organization you are interested enough to research them thoroughly. It will allow you to impress by asking questions about them based on the facts you have researched.
You will need to know:
• Who are their customers?
• What do they do?
• What do they make, sell or offer?
• Are they local/national/global?
• What work would you be expected to carry out?
• You know your skills – how do they match the organization?
Planning your interview
Preparation is key to any interview. The more prepared you are, the better you will be able to answer their questions and present yourself and your skills to best match their needs.
If you need to let them know about your visit in advance – perhaps you have a disability or other special needs – they will be able to accommodate your request making your arrival go smoothly, rather than increasing the stress count.
Find out who is going to interview you. One person; or a panel? Think about how you will react and control the different types of possible interview.
If HR is meeting with you, they will be looking at a more organizational fit with you, but if your new immediate boss is meeting with you, they will be looking to see how you fit in with their working methods and practices and how you would fit into any team environment.
Knowing the length of the interview will tell you how detailed it will be. If a test is involved, you must know in advance.
On the day
Prepare your journey so that you arrive with plenty of time to spare. You don’t want to be running into the building, in a sweat, ten minutes or more, late.
You need to consider:
• Public transport availability
• Your vehicle and the roads you intend to travel on
• Wearing the right clothes the organization expects of you
• Copies of your application and résumé so you can check details if questioned
• Notes of questions you wish to ask
• Licenses, references and certificates
• A copy of the organization’s advert
• A copy of their audited accounts – if you feel brave enough to show it
Consider all of the questions they might ask you and practice perfect answers so they are clear in your mind. This will help you appear confident and relaxed.
You will be nervous. Practice normal breathing just before you enter the interview room.