The interview stage of the job application process is, understandably, crucial. Whilst a good CV will get you noticed, and a good covering letter will let you get your foot in the door, it all amounts to nothing if you’re unprepared for the interview process. There are certain things you can do to prepare for an interview that will help to give you the edge over your competition.
Firstly, it is important that you do your research into the company you’re interviewing for. It’s not enough to have a rough idea of what they do and how they operate: you need to know and understand their ethos, their past achievements, and where they stand amongst their competition. The more knowledgeable you seem about the company, the more likely you are to impress.
Do take advantage of any resources at your disposal when it comes to preparing for interviews. If anyone in your family or social circle works in the industry you’re preparing to join, ask them for any tips or hints about how best to present yourself in the interview. Also, if you know anyone who is used to interviewing candidates in their role at work, do press them for information about the dos and don’ts they have noticed. Make use of online resources: (URL no longer active) and Blue Arrow don’t just offer adverts for jobs, they also provide sections with tips and advice for jobseekers.
When you feel sure you are exploiting all of the tools at your disposal, you can rest assured that you are preparing well for the interview process. It’s also important that you’re prepared to answer any awkward questions. If there are gaps in your CV, you may well be asked to explain them: make sure you have an answer that highlights your strengths rather than your weaknesses. It can also be helpful to have a number of experiences in mind which show your ability to deal with a variety of situations: challenges, organizational issues, dealing with deadlines, working as a team, etc etc…Having these to hand will mean that you’re prepared to demonstrate your assets at the drop of a hat.
Equally, it’s a good idea to have some questions in mind that you want to ask your potential employer. Choose these carefully – you want to express enthusiasm and interest in the business, without seeming unprepared or uninformed. However, not having any questions may result in the employer sensing a lack of initiative, so prepare well as you will inevitably be asked for any questions towards the end of the interview.
When you feel sure you are exploiting all of the tools at your disposal, you can rest assured that you are preparing well for the interview process.