How do I prepare for a job interview?

Research and practice are vital for making a stellar impression on the hiring manager or recruiter.

Most of the time an interview will take place in three parts:

  • First the hiring manager may begin by talking to you about the role and the company
  • Followed by a discussion about yourself, skills and experience and answering their questions
  • Finally most interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask questions

You need to be prepared and be able to discuss each topic. To clarify your thoughts and communicate clearly, we advise you to use the star method.

During the job interview, the employer will expect you to be able to talk about your experience and link it to what their company needs. You also have to show them why you are interested in working for this company and in this particular position.

Let’s go through the major steps that will prepare you to ace your interview.

1. Search for information online.

You are certain to be asked specific questions about the company you are interviewing with. The interviewer will appreciate that you have made an effort to research their company. It will also show that you are motivated about the role.

You can do a search online by checking the company through a search engine. You should also check the website, careers website, blogs and social media of the company. Finally review articles in the press.

Pro tips:

  • Make sure you know the basic facts and figures such as last year’s profits and latest product launches
  • Find information about the corporate culture and values
  • List the main facts that interest you about the company and the position
  • Use relevant keywords which appear on their website during your interview
  • Pay particular attention to the information that is relevant to the position you are applying for. If you apply for a marketing position, you would highlight your knowledge of their marketing strategy and company communications.
  • If you know the names of the people who will be interviewing you, use the site’s search facility to discover more info about them or check them out on LinkedIn

2. Know your industry.

You not only need to have information about the company, you should also have a good background knowledge of the industry. It will show that you know your market and can be reactive if development arise. This could also assist you in understanding the hiring manager’s strategy and plans for development of the business.

Pro tips:

  • Browse through business publications and websites to see what they are writing about the industry news
  • Get some general but current information
  • You should know the key numbers, figures and KPI used in the industry
  • You should also know about the salary offered for your position in their industry
  • Research the relevant interview questions related to your position and industry on internet

3. Analyse your professional performance.

Sit down with your CV and analyse your strengths, your weaknesses and what you have achieved. Review your professional experience to give examples that will show the recruiter that you are the perfect fit for the position. What are your ambitions? How have you overcome challenges in your professional career? Ask yourself what could cause concern for the manager regarding your application.

Pro tips:

  • Prepare your key numbers and KPI that are relevant to the position you apply to. You will have to demonstrate what results you achieved for your previous employers.
  • Think about examples from your previous experience to illustrate each task mentioned in the job advert
  • Have achievements and examples of success ready
  • Make sure you conclude with a positive and proactive perspective for each of your weaknesses

4. Study, practice and practice again.

This is an important point. We advise you to spend some time preparing for the interview and answers to the questions the employer may ask you. This is like going into an exam, you will feel more confident if you studied beforehand. Don’t get caught out on basic questions you have not prepared for.

Pro tips:

  • Prepare your responses out loud
  • Repeat your examples again and again to make sure you are clear and confident
  • Highlight your results with numbers and tangible examples
  • Ask friends and family to give you feedback

5. Prepare questions for the interviewer.

To stand out from the crowd, we recommend you ask questions at the end of the interview. It will show your interest and that you are comfortable asking questions and listening to feedback. Review the job advert and note all the questions you have about the role. Try to limit them to six.

Examples:

  • Can you tell me more about my day to day tasks?
  • Can you tell me more about the team?
  • What is the biggest challenge you and your team are facing at the moment and how could I help you?
  • What does success mean for you? What will be my KPI?
  • What traits do your top performers have in common?
  • Can you tell me more about the person I will report to?
  • May I ask you what is your/their management style?
  • Do you have any hesitation or concerns about my qualifications? This last question will enable them to overcome any remaining concerns. Give relevant examples that will reassure them. If for example you have not used a software they have, tell them about a time when you have taught yourself how to use a specific software and how you managed this (watching online video, going to conferences, asking experts on forums etc…)

6. Extra tips.

  • Be sure you know the time, date and location of the interview and, if possible, the name of interviewers
  • Check where the company is located and make sure you plan your journey in advance
  • Prepare what you are going to wear the night before
  • If you are asked to bring certificates, references, etc…have them ready in advance

You now have the essentials to prepare for your interview, so it is time to practice!

We have a list of the most common questions asked by recruiters and provide you with our guidelines to answer like a pro.