Interviews can be daunting and you really need to prepare yourself properly to make a great impression. To make sure you really impress in an interview it takes more than just a quick read through your CV and 5-minute look at the company website. In short Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! Below are my top 6 tips for interview success:
Prepare for the questions you may be asked. Firstly, really familiarise yourself with your CV, so you can speak fluently through this. Read through the job description fully, and check your experience off against the specification. Think of specific examples to provide from your experience, for all the duties/experience they are looking for – use the SOAR technique for this (Situation, Objective, Action, and Results). If you have not got something on their ‘check list’ do not just ignore this, think of an ‘objection handling’ response, as to why this should not be an issue, maybe it’s something you have had exposure to or something you have a passion for and you learn quickly etc.
- Know your CV
- Prepare examples of your achievements - SOAR
- Identify gaps in your experience and acknowledge
Research your interviewer on the internet and read any blogs they may have written, their company website profile, check out their LinkedIn profile, research as much as you can. This will help you for a couple of reasons - you will feel familiar with them, which should hopefully tame some of your nerves and it will help to build a rapport quickly. You will know the voice they speak in and can tailor your approach, there may also be information you could use as an icebreaker or perhaps something common you can bring up. Also, research the backgrounds of the wider team and the Director/CEO. You never know who may step into the interview or who may be bought up.
Research the company in depth – who they are, what do they do, their story, recent news, their values and their current marketing (adverts, social media, website etc). This again has multiple benefits for you; it will help you decide if you really are interested in the opportunity and you will know if it aligns with your values and goals. You can also add value by possibly giving some insight into their current marketing, how you would manage or improve on this or any compliments you can give on what they are doing well (in your eyes).
- Research your interviewer; calm your initial nerves, break down barriers
- Research the company; show your knowledge in context, prove your interest, demonstrate your compatibility
Plan your journey and your outfit in advance. It’s critical you dress comfortably, yet professionally, don’t try to be something you’re not. Show your personality, but ensure it is in context and aligns with the company’s values. Do not plan to arrive right on time, and it goes without saying, don’t be late! Be 30 minutes early, that way you can grab a coffee nearby and go over your notes or take a moment to get yourself into the right frame of mind. Around 10 minutes before your scheduled interview is the right time to arrive.
- Arrive with time to regroup and get your head straight
- Don’t be too early, never be late
- Wear something comfortable for you, yet professional
Practice makes perfect, or somewhere close to it. Practice your responses, ideally in front of a family member, partner, friend or even video yourself. Give them the likely questions you will be asked, not just the easy ones, but the ones you may also be dreading and answer as you would in your interview. It will help to highlight any areas you need to work on, as well as critiquing your body language or any habits you may have that you need to manage.
- Consider the questions you are likely to be asked
- Practice with someone
- Ask for feedback, practice again
Put it on a post-it, is something I have always sworn by for my interview success. Prepare, research, plan and then the week prior to your interview write the key points you want to remember on post-it notes. Put them up on walls, your fridge, your mirror – anywhere you will see them regularly. If you lack a bit of confidence in interviews as well, this is ideal for you to consistently remind yourself that you can do it, you can write post-it’s with quotes, or confidence boosting phrases. As they say ‘confidence is the companion of success’. I would like to thank the British Mentalist Derren Brown for this trick – subliminal brain training.
- Create reminders
- Key phrases, information you want to use
- Give yourself acknowledgement for preparing
Prevail! If you have spent time on the above, then you will be giving yourself the best shot at success, ‘Success always comes where preparation and opportunity meet’ – Bobby Unser.
- If you aren’t the successful candidate, don’t stress or be down on yourself - Prevail
- Review your interview, assess what you could change next time
- Draw your learnings into your next interview. Remember doing the same thing will deliver the same results
If you need any further tips on how to prepare for an interview, do take a look at our other blogs or get in touch with your iknowho consultant. It’s all about getting in the know.