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Why being prepared for an interview is key to success
Job interviewing never seems to get any easier, even when you have been called for more interviews than you can count. Before the interview, there are several things you can do to give you the leading edge over other applicants. Being prepared is often so simple and so obvious that sometimes we don´t pay enough attention to it. This can be the difference between securing and losing your ideal job.
There are two types of research that you can do before attending an interview:
- Deep research about the company and interviewers
- Deep research about yourself
Researching the company/Interviewer
An early job interview question, asked to assess how much you have researched the company, is: “What do you know about this company?” or “Have you heard about this company before?”. A rapid answer to this question is critical as it determines their first impressions and can determine the ‘tone’ of the rest of the interview.
For this reason, I always recommend you find the answers to some of these questions, and you do as much reading as possible about the interviewers and the company ahead of the interview.
- First of all you need to clearly understand what type of interview it is: is it a competence-based interview? Is it a group assessment? Will you need to solve case studies? Ask as much as you can of the recruiter or the person who called you; you need to know exactly what will be requested from you during the interview.
- After this, I suggest that you learn as much as you can about the interviewer/s. Linkedin is very useful for this purpose, as is asking the person who called you lots of questions. Using their names and background during the interview can be impressive and will show that you are genuinely interested in the job.
- Now carry out as much research as you can about the company and industry. Below are some questions that can help you do this:
- What does the produce/what services does it offer?
- What countries is it based in?
- Who are its main competitors?
- What’s the company’s image in the market?
Navigate the company’s website in order to get clear information about it, do not overload with information that you don’t understand. Having the correct answers to the questions above can make the difference between you and other candidates.
Now that you’ve got enough information about the company, you should also carry out some self-assessment about the person you are and skills you have. Then think about the answers that you will provide to typical interview questions.
Be prepared for the type of interview you are attending, e.g. if you are going to be presented with a numerical or logic test, do some practice ones online.
Some questions that you may want to be able to answer before the interview are:
- Why are you here today?
- Tell me about your experience briefly. (Practice telling the interviewer about your resume – you should be concise and concrete and should highlight the transferable skills applicable to the specific position they are interviewing you for.)
- What is your biggest weakness/strength?
- When have you had to deal with a difficult customer?
- When have you failed and how did you manage the resulting situation?
- Can you give an example of when you had to work as part of a team to meet tight deadlines?
- Can you tell me about a time when you came up with a new idea or approach to your work?
- Why do you want to change jobs?
- Do you want this job? Are you interested?
Now that you know how and what to prepare, you should also remember that it’s very important that you look spontaneous and fresh for the interview. You should look confident and calm. You should also pay attention to punctuality and your appearance. Make every effort to dress appropriately, and to be on site at least 5 minutes before the interview: rushing to get there may put you in a stressful situation that won’t be beneficial for your performance.
Our post on how to get the interviewer to like you might interest those of you looking for some more help.
All the best for your next interview!
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