Know the role
Read the advertisement many times to be familiar with what the employer is looking for. Be familiar with the vocabulary of the advertisement. Reading through the advertisement will also give you an idea of the questions that might be asked, and the areas of your C.V. that you should highlight.
Know the company
Know three things about the company. Show that you have done your research, give figures or statistics. Avoid fake flattery; this is something that employers don’t like. Saying things like; your company is one of the best and a great place to work lets the employer know that you have not done your research. Researching the company and having key information will show this employer your interest and eagerness for the role. Try to find out the mission and vision of the company and show the employer how this matches with your values and goals.
Know your C.V.
Know every detail of your CV. Be prepared to talk the employer through your CV. Employers may have not had a long time to look over your CV. It is up to you to know every section of your experience and relay it to the employer in a passionate way.
Prepare for the worst
Think about what you least would like to get asked and prepare for that. That is the best way to settle nerves before an interview, as you know that even if they ask you a sticky question you will be ready. Be ready to explain gap years and change of career. If there is an area of the role that you are not familiar with, be ready to show how you dealt with unknown areas in previous roles.
Prepare your answers
Interview questions are nearly always the same, though they might be asked slightly differently, research the most popular interview questions and prepare your answers for these.
Prepare your examples
Always give specific examples in the interview, this will show the employer what you will be able to do in their company. Pick different examples showing your competencies i.e. communication, organisational, planning, prioritisation, time management, teamwork, conflict management, decision making and problem solving skills. Make sure your examples are detailed. When giving an example it is really important to use the star technique. Mention the situation, (When I worked in …) task (I had to ……), action (I did…….) and result (This is how it was resolved). Spend most of the answer on the action as this will hold the most important information for the employer.
Prepare your achievements
Have achievements and points you want to make prepared, and make sure to work these examples into the interview.
Know what you are going to wear
Get your clothes ready before the interview, know what you are going to wear and make sure that they are clean and ironed and that shoes are polished.
Plan your route
Find out where the interview is going to be. It is so important to be on time for the interview. Ideally you should be there 15mins in advance, anything earlier than that is a bit too early and can be awkward for the employer, anything later than that is late!. Plan the route know which bus or train to take or how long it will take to walk there. It is a really good idea to do a dummy run of the journey in advance, to know exactly how long it will take.
Have two questions prepared that show you have done your research and that you are really interested in the role. This is your last opportunity to make a really good impression, make sure that you use it wisely.
Good luck and keep reminding yourself that they called you for interview so they believe you can do the job.
Breda Hegarty is the Pre-employment Trainer in Business in the Community, supporting people with barriers gain employment, and author of the blog www.thejobmotivator.com . For more information and to book an appointment for a place on our next free training course in relation to CVS, cover letters and interview skills, call (01) 8743840 / (01) 8743814 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org