Women Talking

How to prepare for a job interview

Put your best foot forward

3 minute read
Women Talking

Going for a job interview is like running a marathon – you can be confident you will succeed but, if you go in unprepared, there is a high chance you will trip before the finish line.

There really is no winging it for interviews that you are serious about.

The more prepared you are for a job interview, the lower the likelihood of getting stage fright, forgetting your name during the initial introduction process and proceeding down a slippery slope.

Be prepared for a job interview from the get-go

My Career Professional Founder and Principal Consultant Kevin Wiley suggested preparing yourself before the interview, as well as gathering all the necessary information and questions.

“The worst situation is rushing around at the last minute, arriving late and hot and bothered for an interview,” he said.

“Check the time, date and location of the interview and the name of the interviewer where appropriate.

“Keep the phone number of the company handy, so if problems arise you can call.

“Plan travel arrangements and complete a dummy-run in advance if the location is unfamiliar."

“Find out how you might be expected to dress, as not all expectations are the same, and have what you are going to wear ready in advance.

“Plan to get to the interview no earlier than 20 minutes before the interview time, anticipate delays and build contingency plans.”

Do your research

When researching and preparing for an interview, you should leave no stone unturned to ensure you are comfortable and confident throughout.

“Researching an employer beforehand allows you to achieve a better understanding of their business and provide you with any prominent information that may require further research,” Mr Wiley said.

“This knowledge should be the cornerstone of your interview platform.”

According to Mr Wiley, along with researching the company and how it is performing, it is also important to research the job you are applying for and try to find out a bit more than the actual job specification – make sure you have read and understood the job specification and how it relates to your skills and experience, and have a few questions prepared in advance to ask at the end of the interview.

“It is always a good idea to have questions prepared for an interview,” he said.

“It shows that you have thought carefully about what the job entails and you are genuinely interested in it.

“I advise my clients to close out the interview with a final question, like whether they have any concerns about their experience, education or suitability to the role, if there is anything else they can do or provide to help with the decision, or an example of how they would be collaborating with their manager.”

As far as what not to ask, Mr Wiley advised to stay away from questions regarding pay until it was brought up by the interviewer.

Something we do not see often is an individual bringing notes into an interview. But, why? Are we afraid it makes us look unprepared? Does it look like we don’t have a good memory?

Mr Wiley is dispelling the myth about not being able to bring notes into an interview.

“When coaching our clients, we teach them a strategy that enables them to take their notes into an interview,” he said.

Mr Wiley emphasised that the interviewee should be confident in what they could bring to the role and should remember that every interview was a two-way process.

“Understanding your personal brand and what your key areas of expertise are is important,” he said.

“You have to develop an appropriate dialogue that clearly explains the benefits of recruiting an individual such as you.

“At all times, you should be assessing the employer just as much as the interviewer is considering you.

“Both parties need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.”