To secure an interview is fantastic and the first step towards success, but you must make sure that you are adequately prepared. You are likely to walk into the interview confidently if you take the time to prepare properly. The article below describes four tasks you should complete ahead of an interview. This preparation will take you approximately four hours and will be time well spent.
Extracted and adapted from Monster.com, authored by Doug Hardy and first published on 1 December, 2014
To prepare for an interview, find out as much as you can beforehand. Contact the person who scheduled your interview and ask the following: Who will you be talking to? Will you meet the manager you'd work for, or will you be meeting someone from HR? Try to find out what the interviewer's expectations are. You should also ask what the dress code is. We would advise that you dress more smartly than suggested and a professional suit is a wise choice. You'd be amazed how many candidates show up looking really casual and not presenting a professional image at all. Make sure that you have clear directions to the interview venue and plan to leave for the interview early. Make sure you have a contact number in case you are delayed for any reason that is out of your control. If you arrive late and stressed, the interview is very unlikely to go well. We would also suggest that you request a detailed job description to help in your preparation.
Take the time to do some research online which will give you something to talk about in addition to the job description. Have a look at the employer's website, or search the internet for information such as how big is the company in terms of annual sales or employees, what does the company say about its products or services, any company specific recent news (such as a new product, a press release, an interview with the CEO). This sort of research should take you about an hour.
Attempt to answer the interviewer’s questions by providing a story about yourself. To prepare, write down and memorise three achievement stories. Describe times you've really felt proud of an achievement at work or school. These stories will help you to demonstrate qualities like judgment, initiative, teamwork or leadership. Wherever possible, quantify what you've done, for example, "increased sales by 20 percent," "cut customer call waiting time in half," "streamlined delivery so that most customers had their job done in two days." Remember that non work related achievement stories are good to discuss too. If you volunteer for a charity for example, write down a time you overcame a big challenge or a crisis there or describe what you have achieved on behalf of that charity. Be sure to relate whatever story you choose to share directly to the question being asked at the time. Achievement stories can help to make you memorable.
Lay out your interview outfit the night before, get a good night's rest, and always get an early start. The last thing you want is to waste all of your interview preparation by arriving flustered and in a panic because you couldn't find a parking space.
Prepare well and you will start the interview feeling calm and confident. This is the first important step to success!
Author: Doug Hardy
Editor: Kim Elliott