A job interview can be the most nerve wrecking experience to go through. But you can make it just a bit less daunting if you prepare well. Good preparation guarantees you feel confident on the day and that you are able to manage even the unexpected. So, what are the essential things to do to prepare yourself for an interview? Here are five things you should sort out before the interview happens.
1. Learn about the company and the role
Never show up to a job interview without a proper understanding of the company you are applying to be part of and the role you are seeking to fill. You need to have a full understanding of things like company culture and mission, as it can help you feel more confident in your answers and ensures you know what you are getting into. Likewise, by understanding the role, you can practice answers that highlight why you would be a good fit for the organisation and the specific role. You’re probably going to have to answer questions like “How would you improve our company?” or “What do you think would be your strength in the role?” and you can’t provide a good answer if you don’t know anything about the company or the role.
2. Prepare questions you want to ask
Of course, you won’t be able to know everything you want to know about the company simply by browsing their websites and talking to current employees. Indeed, you shouldn’t attend an interview without any questions to ask. Not only can asking questions ensure you are more able to make a judgement whether the company and the role are right for you, but you also showcase your knowledge and enthusiasm for the business.
3. Alert your references
Although some companies might contact references before they invite you to a job interview, most do it after the interview with candidates they are actually considering for the role. Therefore, it can be a good idea to send a quick note to your references and alerting them to the fact that you have landed an interview. You can thank them for the past (for example, if they were your professors) and say which company and role you are interviewing for. It doesn’t have to be a lot of information, but it can be another positive they will mention to the employer.
4. Pack your bags
You shouldn’t just show up to the interview empty-handed. There are some essential items you want to bring with you – these will ensure your journey and the meeting go smoothly. You need to pack the following items with you:
- A small bottle of water and a protein bar to get a small boost in energy
- Gum or mints to freshen your breath
- A printout of the address and the map of the area (just in case your phone dies!)
- Contact details for the person you’re meeting (again, write them down as well as having them on your phone)
- Required paperwork: a copy or two of your CV, the covering letter, exam or study certificates, the job description and role specification, and any other paperwork you might have to support your interview and your past experience
- A photo ID, such as driving licence or passport
- Pen and notepad
- Some money, take cash and card to ensure you’re covered
- Your mobile phone, check out wireless chargers from Argos to guarantee your battery won’t die
5. Sort your looks
You need to focus on two things before an interview: your wardrobe and your general appearance. First, you need to have a shower before an interview! This might sound like an obvious tip, but unfortunately, people don’t always realise the importance of a good, smell-free appearance. Furthermore, don’t just wash up, you also need to focus on the details. Grab a few deals on shaving products from Shavers.co.uk for cheap and sort out the messy beard and your hair. Shave or trim your beard and get a proper haircut beforehand. If you colour your hair, don’t’ show up with the roots showing. A polished look will give a good first impression.
Once you’ve sorted out your appearance, you need to turn your attention to the clothing. Make sure you research the dress code of the company and wear the right things – you don’t want to look formal in a non-formal interview, but you also don’t want to be underdressed. A good middle ground is to opt for business casual. For men, a clean suit or trousers, shirt and blazer. For girls, trousers or skirt with a collared shirt or a beautiful blouse. Combine it with a blazer and you’re done. For affordable, yet stylish clothing, shop with retailers like H&M, Zara and Marks&Spencer.
If you take care of the above essential things, you’ll be well-prepared to nail your job interview.