**Article edited 20th May 2020 **
WARNING: This post includes reasonable levels of sarcasm. Enjoy !
Due to the nature of my job, I sit through my fair share of job interviews. I actually really enjoy them – meeting new people, getting to hear their unique journey, their stories and their career aspirations. However, just through the general law of averages that means I have also sat through my fair share of doozies when it comes to interviews.
So…….. I’ve decided to share with you all my list of “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to interview preparation. Here’s how you can nail your interview and ensure you don’t walk away wanting the world to swallow you whole.
Here is my list of “must do’s before your interview to ensure you nail it every time:
- Please, sweet baby Jesus, RESEARCH the damn Company you have applied to work with. Infact, do one better and research the Company BEFORE you apply to work with them. If I had a dollar for every person I have called, who, when I ask them what it was about “Company X” that excited them, they respond to me with “I don’t really know anything about the Company”, or worse, they list brands, products, or services to me that “Company X” does NOT own, sell, or do – I would be a very rich person!
- Prepare some notes and questions to ask in your interview based on the research that you most definitely have now done because you followed my wise suggestion in point one. Your interviewers will love that you have done your homework and that you are clearly engaged and excited by the role. I love people who come prepared with questions – I especially love when people ask me things like “How long I’ve been with the business for?”, or “What I like most about it?” etc. It tells me they care about where they are working and the people they will be working with.
- BE ON TIME! Or, if your sisters, friends cat really did get hit by a bus, at least ensure you call to advise that you will be late. It is not a good look when you rock up late to an interview, and you did not call the interviewers, and then do not even apologise when you arrive. My advice is always this – give yourself as much time as possible so that you are not flustered when you arrive. Account for things like bad traffic, late buses or trams, no parking, getting lost etc. Worst case (really best case!) you are early and then you have time to sit in your car, or out the front of the building, calm yourself and ensure you rock up as the best version of yourself and not a sweaty mess who has forgotten what role they are actually interviewing for.
- Whilst I am on the topic of punctuality – I also believe there is such thing as being TOO early. Hence, my point above. If you are 30 minutes early to the venue for your interview (firstly, bravo!), but go and grab a coffee nearby, or sit in your car and read for a bit. PLEASE do not arrive at reception 30 minutes early for your interview – it puts unnecessary pressure on the interviewers, and quite frankly, is annoying.
- Ensure you get your roles right (yes, I am serious!). I understand that when people are actively looking for that next job they may be applying for more than one role. However, please ensure that you are very clear on the role that you are interviewing for when you arrive. Also ensure you are prepared to answer the relevant questions to that role that will no doubt require you to talk about how your experience is relevant to the role you are applying for.
- Be prepared to state your remuneration expectations out loud, if you haven’t already done so in the initial phone screen. AND, if you have done so in the phone screen, make sure you write down what you said (particularly if you weren’t being totally honest) – why? Because you’ll likely get asked again in the interview and if you say two different figures because you forgot the lie you told the first time, you will appear a bit dishonest. If you’ve never thought about your salary expectations before and how to ask for them, then this blog is a MUST READ. Click here.
- Finally, come prepared with examples to questions that you will of course get asked. Things like talking about your strengths, your development areas (this isn’t a trick question, we all have them.), how you work in a team, how you like to be managed, how you manage stress, examples of how you have pushed boundaries before, or managed projects or teams are all **likely** to be asked. So….. prepare for them with some examples. That way when you are asked, you don’t have to sit there staring blankly at the interviewers like you want to pass out.
Are these tips really just the world according to Claire? Possibly. But having facilitated hundreds of interviews personally, I confidently feel that if you can nail the above and you genuinely have the relevant experience that a role is looking for, then you will find yourself very much in with a solid chance to be the successful candidate.
Does the thought of going to an interview make you sweat? Need help prepping and selling yourself confidently? Perhaps you know you want out of where you are currently, but you’re not sure what the next step is for you? I can help you. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how we can get you out of your own way and on to a new and fulfilling career path.
How can I help you?
Claire Seeber is a Professional Coach, Change driver and People and Culture Consultant. Her mission is to help individuals and organisations get out of their own ways! Claire has a particular passion for empowering women to rebuild their confidence, break out of Imposter syndrome and be the architects of their own professional and personal success!