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As forced as the saying 'if you fail to prepare then prepare to fail' is, it is quite apt for interviews. Those who prepare fully, wisely and calmly are far more likely to stand out and succeed than those who don’t and there is lots of job advice to help you to do this.
The most important tool at your disposal is research on the company you are applying to work for. There is an entire section on research – it is that essential.
Below are points that need to be considered at all times before an interview.
These are by no means fail-safe but should certainly help in the research department; many factors, both within and out of our control, make up a successful interview and the perfect candidate.
Think carefully about why you are applying to work for this particular position, in this particular company and in this particular office. Is it because you really want to work in this field and go down that career path? Is it because it may offer good career progression or a high salary? Whatever the reasons, make sure there is at least one strong enough to make you want to take the job.
If you walk in to the interview not knowing and unsure whether you even want the job, it is unlikely that you will get it.
The ultimate interview sin is tardiness. Never be late for an interview. Don’t even be on time. Be early.
Arrive well in advance having looked at directions and familiarised yourself with where the interview will take place at least the day before.
Some people like to do a dummy run in their free time to ease off even more pressure. With something as life-changing as a potential job, every hiccup you can avoid and all the help you can forge will really matter.
Eat a good breakfast and get a decent night’s sleep. It may sound silly, but being tired or hungry during an interview will only be distracting and hinder your performance. Don’t let something as trivial as a rumbling tummy disturb your chances of getting the job.
Bring an up-to-date copy of your CV with you to the interview. Yes, the interviewer will probably have a copy of your CV which they will undoubtedly have read but have a copy on your person. If anything, it just shows the employer that you are organised.
Reread your CV a few times before you go for an interview. Those two sides of A4 will be your prospective employer’s only gauge of who you are and what you have achieved.
If they ask you a question that relates to something you have written down and you don’t know the answer, all of what you have written could be cast in doubt.
Confirm that what you want from the job matches what they want from you. All the clues can be found in the job description. Read what they are looking for in a candidate and tailor your CV, application letter and interview accordingly to fit their requirements. Ensure you know what is expected of you in the role and be prepared to work in that role. Remember, there are likely to be plenty of other people who will also want the job. Make sure you fit the company’s ideas of what they need you for.
Prepare examples of work you have done where you have filled certain criteria or done a good job or exceeded expectations.
There is more on this in the practice interview section but this is especially appropriate for those applying to work in creative industries. If you are preparing articles or images you have designed, written or used in a business environment then spend time collating them.
Don’t sit there the morning of the interview with a pritt stick and masking tape, cursing about why this was not done weeks ago. Your portfolio is a great example of how good you will be and if it’s a rush job, you won’t get what you want and, like the CV you should enjoy putting it together.
Walk calmly to the interview and remember they have already read and, more importantly, liked your CV.
If you enter thinking you will never get the job, unsurprisingly you probably won’t. Similarly don’t go in thinking you are the best possible candidate and it will be a huge blow to the company if they don’t employ you because, again, you probably won’t get it. Find the balance between being confident in your abilities and the skills your CV demonstrates.
Try to think of it this way: there is a gap in the company’s workforce which needs to be filled; you have been called in because they think you might be the person to fill it and if they think you’re good for it then there’s no reason you shouldn’t too.