A recent poll we conducted among our Learners on how best to prepare for a job interview yielded some surprising results. Our survey revealed that the most popular form of interview preparation was, in fact, researching the interviewer (33%). This was followed by googling interview questions (32%), memorising your CV and achievements (22%) and meditation (13%).
What’s so surprising about these results is that the two most popular preparation methods focus on the interviewer and the interview format, as opposed to the most pivotal element of the interview process – the interviewee. That means you!
While being interviewed for a job can be daunting, you need to concentrate on the aspects that are under your control, and that includes quite a lot. Rather than focusing on things you can’t control (like the interviewer and their questions), it’s important to place yourself at the heart of your interview preparation.
The fact that most respondents didn’t focus their preparations on themselves shows a lack of confidence when it comes to interviews. However, if you’ve made it to the interview stage of the hiring process, then that means the employer sees you as someone who can add value to their company. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have made it this far. You need to remember to bear this in mind and take confidence from it.
To help you prepare for your next job interview, we’ve compiled the ultimate interview checklist to make sure you do everything right and give yourself the best shot at securing that new job.
Before the Interview
- When researching the company you’re interviewing for, it’s important to focus on how you see yourself fitting into the organisation. The people interviewing you are going to know more about their company than you ever will, so don’t worry about memorising basic facts about the business. What’s more important is showing the interviewer that you already have ideas in mind about how you can improve the daily operations and running of the company.
- The same goes for researching the role you’re applying for. Study the job description so that you can find ways to align your experience and qualifications with what the employer is looking for. Make the job description work for you.
- Compile a list of common questions you might expect to answer during the interview. When you’re writing up your answers, make sure to always emphasise your commitment and desire for the job, and why you’re the perfect fit for the company. Once you’ve prepared your sample answers, make sure to study them inside out.
- The most important preparation for a job interview is to practice the interview process. By doing mock interviews with family or friends you’ll be able to:
- Acquaint yourself with the “interview feeling” of being the focus of attention. The more comfortable you can feel “on the spot” the more natural your answers will be.
- Make sure your voice and body language are confident.
- Get used to giving the answers you’ve prepared and make them sound unrehearsed.
- Learn how to think on your feet. Get your mock interviewer to throw you a few curve ball questions to get you thinking!
- Come up with some intelligent and insightful questions for the interviewer. Include questions about the company that show that you really know what you’re talking about. Also don’t be afraid to inquire about salary.
- Make sure to print out several hard copies of your CV and bring them to the interview.
- Decide in advance what you’re going to wear and make sure that you have everything organised the night before. The last thing you want to stress about in the morning is having to iron you clothes! It’s important to take care over your appearance and to look your best for the interview.
- Know exactly where your interview is taking place (down to the room if you can!). Have your travel arrangements made in advance and arrive early. Give yourself plenty of time as turning up late is not an option. (If your interview is taking place online then make sure that you’re familiar with the software.)
During the Interview
- Maintain eye contact with your interviewers. Be professional and friendly, as you would with any other colleagues.
- Be confident about your accomplishments when asked about them. A job interview isn’t the time to be overly modest. You want the interviewers to feel like you’re the perfect candidate.
- Maintain a calm and confident body language. Be at ease in the space and don’t fidget.
- While you’ll mostly be thinking about what you’re going to say next, make sure to listen to what the interviewers are saying! Don’t just listen out for the next question, take in everything they tell you.
- If there is more than one interviewer, be sure to address them all at various points. Don’t just stare at the person asking the questions.
- Last but not least, thank the interviewers before you leave! Final impressions can be just as important as first impressions.
After the Interview
- Once the interview is over, make a note of what you were happy with and what you were unhappy with. Which elements of the interview went well? What did the interviewers respond well to? Regardless of how the interview goes, it’s important to always learn from your experiences so that you can improve on your performance next time.