Interview Preparation Guide
If you've managed to succeed at getting an interview you're well on your way to getting a job. You've passed the agency keyword filtering, you've made it past HR filtering, you've even passed the specialists cursory examination of your CV. Now it's time for the real stuff.
Below we discuss various interview preparation techniques and top tips collated from our experts over the years.
- Many interviewers don't decide YES straight away, but they often do decide NO quickly if something doesn't click.
- If the interview is going well, the interviewer will be thinking YES in their head. This is great, but be aware that this can turn into a NO - e.g. if they discover that you lied about something considerable on your CV. This does not happen the other way around - they never think NO and then turn that into a YES based on anything else you say.
- Commonly, interviewers have signals they give each other if the interview has turned into a NO so that they can finish the interview quickly and save themselves time.
- Be prepared to answer at depth about everything you have put on your CV.
- Talk favourably about your previous employers.
- Demonstrate passion for your chosen career.
- Show that you understand yourself - What are your biggest strengths? What are your biggest weaknesses? How do you work with others? Understand that your strengths are commonly linked to your weaknesses - this is useful when it comes to turning weaknesses into strengths e.g. if your weakness is the administration side of things it will be likely that your strengths are in keeping focused on the core of the problem at hand. Demonstrating with examples from previous positions how you understand this and how working together with others in a team you overcome your weaknesses and accentuate your strengths to the benefit of your prior employers will be a big plus in your interview.
- Provide evidence for how you are continually learning. If you are lacking in a particular skill they are looking for then use an example of another skill which you are now proficient in and how you learned that skill quickly from team mates.
- When they ask you about your weaknesses don't ever say "I'm a perfectionist" or "I work too hard". I've read on other sites people suggesting this but it's not a good idea - what it demonstrates to the interviewer is a lack of understanding of yourself and how you work with other team-mates.
- Try and highlight your strengths and demonstrate how you've overcome your personality weaknesses successfully in similar positions in the past as early as you can. The more interviews your interviewers perform the more they will get a feel for people and what strengths and weaknesses they likely have. e.g. if you come across as quiet, this could be considered a weakness for the role and you should quickly demonstrate how in fact you choose your words carefully and prefer to write things down in a careful and considered way. Use an example to demonstrate how this has been beneficial in the past in team situations involving other more vocal employees.
- Remember what the employer is looking for - likely a selection of the following: key skills for the role, a willingness to learn, the ability to focus, team-working skills, passion and an understanding of yourself so you can work well with your manager or other managers. This last - an understanding of yourself - is what often translates into potential.
- Ask two or three good questions about the company or the role. You should have some left over from your company selection preparation or some may crop up in the interview itself.
- Try and wear clothes one level up from what you will be expected to wear to work on a daily basis.
Check out our interview questions forum.
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