The first stage of getting a new job is submitting your resume. If you’ve been lucky enough to receive an interview, you will have already passed this initial stage of the recruitment process. Congratulations!
But the work hasn’t finished yet! You now need to start preparing for your upcoming interview with the company’s hiring manager or recruitment team.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of top tips to help you prepare for a successful interview and, hopefully, receive a job offer at the end of it! These tips will be helpful whether you want to enter a career in music, law, construction, health, and more.
Steps to Prepare for an Upcoming Interview
Interviews can be intimidating. A group of strangers is assessing your answers to several questions and you’re hoping to receive a job offer for a role that lots of other applicants also want.
There is an increasing amount of competition nowadays too, which makes the interview process even more stressful. Everybody is going after the same jobs and most people have the relevant qualifications, making it hard for you to stand out above the crowd.
Preparation is key if you want to ace your interview. There are several steps that you need to take but don’t worry! We’re going to break all of these key steps down below, so keep reading.
- Find a smart outfit to wear to your interview
Your outfit is the first thing that your interviewers will see when you walk through the door. It’s what sets the tone for the rest of your interview and creates a strong (or weak) first impression.
It might sound insignificant but the clothing that you choose could make or break your interview and determine whether or not you get a job offer at the end of it.
Generally, you should turn up to an interview in smart clothing. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but wearing a professional-looking outfit is always the safest bet.
So, what does ‘professional-looking clothing’ mean? Ideally, you should wear a combination of the following clothing items:
- Blazer jacket
- V-neck cotton jumper
- Shirt or ladies’ blouse
- Smart pants
- Pencil skirt
- Pinafore dress
- Smart closed-toe shoes or small heels
- Simple jewelry, such as a watch, stud earrings, and a small necklace
Make sure to get your outfit ready the day before your interview so you aren’t rushing around at the last minute. You should also try on your outfit so that you can check if it looks presentable enough for an interview.
Regardless of what you decide to wear, it should be comfortable. When you’re answering a series of questions, you need to be able to concentrate on what you’re saying and not on how uncomfortable your clothing feels!
- Plan your route to the interview location
The hiring manager will expect every candidate to arrive at their interviews on time. Being punctual displays professionalism and excellent time management skills, and it sets your interview off on a great note.
To prevent lateness, plan your journey in advance. A few days before the interview, check online to determine the quickest and safest route to the interview destination.
Plan what time you need to leave on the day to arrive at least 10 minutes early for your interview. This gives you some time to calm your nerves and take a few deep breaths before you enter the interview room.
If you’re driving, give yourself some leeway to account for potential traffic. If you’re traveling via public transport, check on the morning of the interview that there have been no cancellations.
- Learn about the company
Hiring managers will want to know that you’ve done your research about the company. To assess your depth of research, they’ll ask you a few company-specific questions.
For example, they might ask you when the company was founded or want you to list its core values. They could then follow up by getting you to provide examples of when you’ve followed these core values in your previous roles.
You can find most of the information that you need to adequately answer these sorts of questions on the company’s website. It’s a good idea to take a look at their social media channels if they have any.
Consider reading through relevant news to show that you’re genuinely interested in the industry. You can integrate some of your new-found knowledge into your answers to impress your interviewers.
- Read through your application
The hiring managers will most likely have a copy of your resume and cover letter in front of them during your interview. They might pick out certain things that you’ve mentioned in your application and ask you to expand upon them.
For this reason, you should always read over your resume and cover letter during your interview preparation. Refreshing your memory means you won’t struggle to talk through the previous work experience or skills that you’ve detailed in your application. You can prepare for every kind of question that you might get asked.
Remember that the interview wants to hear why your work experience and skill set makes you ideal for the role. When you’re reading through your application, consider how the information that you’ve written is relevant to the role you’re hoping to get.
- Think of some questions to ask the interviewers
Most interviews finish up with the hiring manager asking, ‘is there anything you’d like to ask us?’. While you don’t necessarily need to ask them any of your own questions, doing so creates a good impression.
Asking a couple of questions at the end of your interview displays your enthusiasm and interest in the role. Think of at least two questions to ask at the end of your interview, such as:
‘Is there room for progression in this role?’
‘When will I hear back from you about this role?’
‘What are your expectations of me in this role?’