- Research the company before your interview (company website, internet, local library etc.). Try to find out who they are? What they do? Who their competitors are? What products they sell? , company values & ethos. The last thing you want to do is get stuck when the interviewer asks you a question about the company. You need to speak positively and enthusiastically even if it’s for a brief moment. The interviewer will be impressed knowing that you have gone to great lengths to find out about the company.
- Read the interview letter carefully. If there’s something you are not sure about, ring the company. Find out how long the interview will last? Whether there are any practical exercises you have to prepare for? If the letter doesn’t state what type of interview it is i.e. one-to-one, group interview etc., find out if there are any specific selection methods being used. Find out if you need to take anything with you i.e. proof of ID, certificates etc.
- Make sure you know the exact time and location of the interview; know how long it takes to get there. If you’re travelling by car, find out if there’s suitable parking near the venue, cost etc. If you’re going by public transport, copy maps, timetables etc. I would recommend you do a dummy/practice run the day before so you can familiarise yourself with the route and the venue. Listen to traffic updates to check for accidents, road works and other disruptions. If there are any, leave adequate time for your journey. Aim to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before the interview.
- Examine the person specification and your CV/application forms and think carefully about what type of question they will ask you. Prepare answers for the main questions that you think the employer will ask. I’ve compiled a list of interview questions for you to practice with. Note down three or four points for each answer.
- Mock interviews are an effective way of strengthening your all round interview skills. Get a family member, friend or work colleague to carry out a mock interview with you. Use the list of interview questions and the mock interview evaluation sheet to assess your responses to questions and receive feedback on your overall interview performance. You can also do a mock interview in front of a video camera (assuming you have one of course). Most mobile devices these days have video recording facilities so don’t worry if you don’t have a video camera, use your mobile. Do more than one mock interview if you have to. The more you practice with your friends, family or work colleagues, the more natural and relaxed you will feel during the real thing.
- Prepare 2-3 questions you would like to ask the interviewer. Use them as an opportunity to find out more about the role and the company. Asking a few relevant questions also shows the interviewer that you are enthusiastic about working for them.
Questions to ask at the interview
Questions to avoid asking at the interview
- Prepare a list of things to take to the interview (e.g. interview letter, CV, list of questions you might like to ask, copy of certificates, proof of ID, pen/pencil & writing pad, copy of application form etc.) Try to put all your documents in a folder rather than a carrier bag or a Polly pocket. It looks untidy and unprofessional and I’m sure that’s not the image you want to portray.
- If you have a disability, call the employer in advance to discuss any additional support requirements that you may require.
- Get your outfit or clothes ready the night before. Decide on what shoes you are going to wear and make sure they are nice and shiny. Wear black shoes with dark socks and a nice tie. For women, it’s advisable to wear closed shoes and if you decide to wear heels then make sure it’s no more than 2 ½ inches. It’s not necessary to wear a suit and don’t feel you have to. As longs as you are clean, tidy and presentable, you should be fine. Remember, on the day of the interview, you’re personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
- Be careful what you eat. Avoid the usual things like too much alcohol or foods containing garlic. An interviewer will not be impressed if they can smell garlic or alcohol in your breathe.
- Lastly, avoid having a late night the night before the interview and make sure you have plenty of sleep. If you don’t then it’s likely you will feel tired and when you’re tired, you will not perform at your best.
What to do on the day of the interview?
What not to do on the day of the interview?
What to do after the interview?