How to prepare for a job interview?


Whether you’re a seasoned professional, or simply starting out in your career, job interviews are never easy. Let’s be honest; nobody likes them, and interviews can be nerve-wrecking and extremely daunting.

We have recently created some CV examples, resume templates and tips on how to write a good resume which you can use to help you clinch your next job interview. You may also be interested in five tips to create an effective LinkedIn profile to ensure that your LinkedIn profile comes up in search results by potential employers.

To help combat these interview nerves, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. As such, we’ve put together a few quick tips to help you dazzle your interviewer, and maybe even enjoy yourself along the way!

Practice your answers to avoid stumbling

It’s likely you’ll be anxious, that’s understandable. But it’s not a bad idea to think about some of the topics that might come up and consider how you could answer them. We’re not asking you to prepare a speech, as you certainly don’t want to come across as rigid and rehearsed. But have a think about some of the points you want to make and how you can phrase some of your key selling points in your answers without stumbling. Don’t try and shoe-horn rehearsed statements to questions that don’t fit though! Make sure it’s relevant and feels natural. You’ve got this; trust your gut!

Common questions during a job interview include “Tell me about yourself”, “Why do you think you’re suited for this role” and even “What are some of your strengths and weaknesses” which are all questions you can prepare for.

Relax! Don’t be afraid to show off your personality

It can sometimes be hard to find the balance between being personal and professional, but the best piece of advice we can offer is to relax! Smile, engage, and if you’re brave enough you could even crack a joke! It’s equally as important to show how you can fit in as part of a team as it is to show off your impressive skills. The more relaxed you feel, the stronger your answers are likely to be during your interview.

Research about the company

Knowing your stuff about the company you’re hoping to win a job with is a pretty obvious tip. You can either research through their website, LinkedIn page or even ask the recruiter. Try and learn the most relevant information possible.

Have they been in the news recently? What are the most recent projects they’re working on? If you can clearly weave information about their current prospects into the conversation, as opposed to just shoe horning in facts and figures from five years ago, this will be much more impressive. This will also show that you’re prepared for the job interview which will come across a lot more professional.

Be honest about your experience

Don’t fall into the trap of embellishing your skills! It might be tempting to exaggerate some of your achievements, but it’s usually incredibly obvious to an interviewer. And there’s nothing worse than coming across as misleading in an interview – that’s a sure way not to get the job. Instead, just be honest; talk about genuine successes. You’ll find it much easier to speak fluidly and get wrapped up in conversations about your honest experience.

Don’t be scared to speak up if you’re unsure about a question

We get it, in a job interview you want to seem like an expert, so vocalising a lack of understanding about a topic might seem like a bad idea. But this isn’t necessarily true. Asking for clarity shows that you’re not afraid to ask and make sure you’re 100% clear before you proceed. In a real-life work situation, it’s better to make sure you have a thorough understanding before you proceed with a task, and how you deal with this in an interview is a reflection of your approach to work.

Match your CV with the job spec

You should have been given a comprehensive job specification that outlines what your duties will be if you’re successful. A good way to prepare for your interview is to go through this spec and outline clear opportunities to link your CV and past experience to the job responsibilities. Demonstrating clear evidence of how your skills match with the duties you’ll be carrying out is a great way to show that you’re the ideal candidate. In this way, you can also prepare yourself for the questions your interviewer may ask.

Don’t bring up salary… but be prepared to discuss this if you’re asked!

We don’t need to tell you that it’s not a good idea to ask about salary, benefits, or holidays in your job interview. However, it’s probably good to be prepared in case your interviewer asks about this. You don’t need to have a concrete figure in mind, but if you know you’re not going to accept an offer lower than a certain amount – be honest! If you’re outrightly being asked, there’s no point in being shy here. You’ll only be doing yourself a disservice. But remember to manage your expectations and don’t state a salary range far above the role, especially if you really want the job.

Make sure you have some questions prepared

This one’s so obvious that it’s easy to neglect. We all know that when you’re asked if you have any questions, you’re expected to have something prepared. A lot of the time however, things you were going to ask may have been covered in the interview. So try preparing a few different questions so you definitely have something to ask at the end of your conversation. Good questions show that you’re keen, eager, well-prepared and insightful. If you want a list of questions you can ask in an interview, you may find them here.

Our consultants at Progressive Recruitment have built up excellent relationships with our clients and are able to use these to help guide you in your job interviews. Apart from generic recruitment advice, we are also able to identify what questions are likely to be asked, what particular hiring managers may want to hear, and can even offer you the best tips to impress your interviewer! Get in touch with the team to find out more about our consultative service or click here to apply for some of our latest jobs.

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