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How to prepare for your interview (Candidate Blog)

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The first mistake in any interview, (after the handshake!) is to turn up unprepared. An interviewer will very quickly suss out that you do not know enough about the business, industry or the job role you have applied for. If you get nervous in interviews, it is very easy to forget background information; however, if you do your research in advance and print off the main points that you want to remember, scan over them in the car or on the bus before you go into your appointment, this will ensure everything is fresh in your mind. Also, try not to complicate things, they will not expect you to remember the last five years turnover… (unless particularly relevant to your role of course!), try to pick out the important factors such as, when they were established, where they have a presence in the market, any relevant news recently.

Know the business and your interviewers

In today’s world, there is no excuse not to be prepared for this interview. A simple Google search will provide you with reems of important information that could be invaluable to your success.

Remember to search within the ‘News’ tab on google, take note of any recent news articles both in local papers or on their website. They may have had a recent takeover, or experienced significant growth which would be valuable information to know about prior to your meeting.

Linkedin is also a useful tool in getting to know your interviewers. Again, you don’t need to remember everyone’s career history however gaining an understanding of their background can be really useful in seeing how they came to be with the company. They may be newly appointed themselves therefore may not know the ins and outs of the company background so don’t drill them on the specifics, alternatively they may have been their whole career and progressed through the ranks. Looking at someone’s history can be interesting and you never know – you might even have mutual connections with people.

Know the job

Read and reread the job description, look for specific terms or clues that may help you pitch yourself correctly in the interview. If a role states that it can offer further education or will lead to move up into another role in the future, don’t say that you have no ambitions and just want a steady role.

You should be aware of these prior to your interview to ensure a correct fit however it is easy to slip up in the interview if you are not fully up to speed with all the information. Ensure that you ask the employer or recruiter for a full job description before your interview as the adverts posted are often just a brief overview of the role without much detail.

 

Be confident, and relaxed

An interview can be a really nerve racking experience but try your hardest to relax. The more relaxed you feel, the more natural you will be and your personality will shine through. Take deep breaths while waiting in reception and try not to tense too much.

Sit comfortably in your chair, the more relaxed you are the less you will need to think about these specific things but if you perch on the edge of your seat with a stiff back you will appear to be on edge and this can easily be reflected in the interviewer’s behaviour. In the same breath, don’t slouch and lean into the back of your chair like you are watching Netflix at home. Be respectful, sit comfortably but with an air of professional confidence.

 

Ask the interviewer

The recruitment market is more candidate led than ever so don’t forget that this is your opportunity to ask the interviewer questions to ensure that the role and company are right for you. The interviewer wants to gain an understanding of your personality, skills, abilities and ambitions – surely you need to know the same of the company? We have seen so many times in the past that a client holds one interview and is so blown away by a candidate that they offer after the first meeting. This is fantastic and shows that you have demonstrated your ability, but are you ready to accept a permanent role there? We would always recommend more than one interview stage however if you haven’t asked any questions at your initial meeting you will be none the wiser about what the company is looking to do or what they are expecting of you in the future.

Questions you could ask are:

                How do you see this role progressing in the next 3 years?

                What are the company’s ambitions?

                What do you foresee as the most difficult aspects of this role?

                What is the structure of the team?

                Do you have any concerns over my fit for this role?

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