When it comes to getting your dream job, we all know how difficult and tiresome the process can be. You will likely have spent weeks, or months, searching through job boards, speaking to recruitment consultants, and working through strenuous online tests. However, after all of this, the point that many fail to perform at and what lets them down in securing that prized role is, of course, the face-to-face interview.
Even after all the hard work you have put in up until this point, you can fall short in the interview for a number of reasons, be that a lack of company knowledge, poor communication skills or simply the way you highlight your accomplishments.
Much of the time, interviewees put this down to nerves or a lack of experience, but in truth, there is normally one culprit: poor interview preparation. So, to help you increase your chances of landing that dream job and taking a step up in your career, here is your essential guide to interview preparation.
Even before you step through the doors and speak to anyone in the company, there is much work to be done to get you in the best shape possible for securing the job.
No matter what industry you are in, or what role you are going for, every company is unique in its own way. If a company has no unique backstory and has nothing that makes it stand out, then there’s a good chance it wouldn’t be able to compete and you wouldn’t have been drawn to the role in the first place.
So during your interview preparation, it’s your job to discover what makes the company so unique and also what it is about the company that makes you want to work there. You have to be honest with yourself here because a lack of passion will be easy to see by the interviewer early on in your meeting.
Properly identifying the company will also help you ascertain why it is that you are the right fit for them, and what you have to bring that will help advance their goals. Finally, properly research the industry and any competitors they have. By showing up-to-date knowledge on current industry trends, you demonstrate a real passion for that line of work and can engage in meaningful and interesting discussion.
Make sure you carefully research the company website before the interview, particularly the About Us section.
There’s no better way to undertake interview preparation and to overcome nerves than by practising interview questions at home. If you are applying for some of the larger, more famous companies, then you will likely be able to search online and find sample questions that candidates are often asked. If not, find questions from similar companies in your industry and get friends or relatives to test you on them. There are also some great apps to help with your job search and interview practice.
The interviewer will want to see clarity in your answers, as well as a creative and passionate flair for finding unique solutions, so don’t stick to bog standard answers but, instead, offer insightful and detailed answers.
Common interview questions include:
Try our virtual reality interview course to practice answering questions in a realistic environment.
Your aim is to come across as professional, so make sure all clothes are clean and ironed beforehand. Also, take a shower and be sure not to wear too much heavy aftershave or perfume.
It is completely natural that you will get nervous during an interview for a role that you are particularly passionate about. This is to be expected, and hiring managers will understand minor nerves, but it is always best to try and compose yourself as much as possible and come across as strong and confident when meeting with them.
Read our 8 Elements of Confident Body Language.
To help you hide those nerves and display the best possible image, here are some interview tips to help you:
When it all comes down to it, the purpose of your interview is to know your stuff and you can be guaranteed there will be tough questions in place for you. However, there are some steps you can take to help remain calm and answer the questions in the best way possible.
You can use virtual reality to practice answering interview questions in a realistic environment using the VirtualSpeech app.
Good interview etiquette means waiting between 24 to 48 hours before sending post-interview correspondence. A common way of doing this is via email, or alternatively any other form of communication they gave you. Ideally, you want to contact every person who interviewed you and briefly thank them for their time and reiterate exactly why you are perfect for the role.
Keeping the message to the point is crucial so don't waffle about why you love the company and how much you enjoyed meeting them. Instead, clearly identify what it is that you possess that will benefit the company and why you are different to everyone else they have interviewed. This brief yet concise email will help keep you fresh in their minds when they make their decision and also give them points by which to discuss your case for working for them.
This will vary greatly depending on the role you are applying for, what stage of the interview process you are at, and how many people they need to interview for the position. Hopefully, the interviewer will give you some indication of how long you will have to wait and, if you feel you have built up enough rapport in your meeting, you can even ask at the end whether they require anything else from you and when you can expect to hear from them.
Really, it all comes down to patience and knowing you did everything you could on the day of the interview.