Being unprepared for an interview can severely jeopardise your chances of succeeding. Your nerves will only get worse, you could get stumped on questions and you will definitely not represent your best self. Here are a few ideas to help you feel organised, composed and give yourself the best opportunity.
What do you know about the company and the job?
You need to educate yourself enough to understand what the interviewer is talking about in regards to the company, its structure and also about the job requirements and its position within the company.
What do you know about the interviewer and the selection process?
You should know the job title of the interviewer and where they are in regards to the company. You should also know what else will be expected of you for the interview process, for example personality testing and reference checks.
Have you prepared an answer for the “tell me about yourself” question?
As this is a great way to break the ice for an interviewer, this would be the most common first question. You should have a maximum of 30 word response about yourself so you can list exactly why you think the employer should hire you and what you can contribute to the organisation. Everything else you say in the interview should strengthen your statement.
As you prepare your statement, also prepare a list of unique points about yourself, achievements that the interviewer would be interested in and any supporting facts that are relevant.
What are the possible problem areas in your application and how can you spin then positively?
Most people have things in their history that could be considered problem
areas by employers. The important thing is to address these before you enter the interview and think of ways in which you learnt from them and what positives you took from them.
For example, what is something you would identify as a weakness? How can you turn this into a positive?
What are some questions I will ask the interviewer?
It is always good to ask a question that demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Asking firstly and only about salary doesn’t really send this message, so it’s best to worry about that later.
What impression do I want to leave?
This needs to be thought about before you interview, particularly if you need practice with different parts of dialogue.
- Are you capable of walking in with confidence?
- Can you manage to maintain eye contact?
- Do you have appropriate clothing for the meeting?
- Practice holding yourself and speaking with confidence, particularly in areas of difficulty or uncomfortable subjects.
- Practice the entire interview process with someone who can honestly tell you where you should improve.
- Make sure you plan what you are going to wear, and ensure your shoes are shined, your suit is clean and your hair is appropriate.
Have you prepare what you are going to carry into the interview?
Do you need to take any examples of your previous work? Were there any pre-interview forms that needed to be completed? If it is late afternoon do you need a hairbrush or chewing gum?
If you have prepared and are still nervous, just remember one thing – a big smile goes a long way!