How to prepare for a job interview
How to prepare for a job interview | intro
So either you’ve got an interview, or you’re expecting to get one soon. If you’re reading this then you’re savvy enough to want to know how to prepare for a job interview. That’s a good sign and bodes well for your prospects.
In today’s informational connected world, there’s no excuse for not doing your interview research. Just rocking up and winging it on the day is unlikely to nail the interview. Even for those most gifted of the gabs.
So lets look at how to prepare for a job interview.
There’s a definite art to interviews. You might have it, you might not. You may get nervous. You might not have had an interview in years. However it’s fair to assume if you’re reading this, you’re not one of the few who’ve mastered the art of interviewing.
“Proper Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”
Preparing properly for a job interview will help settle your nerves. It gives you the advantage of knowing about the company, their culture and the interviewer. This helps your confidence and gives you the ability to anticipate, and prepare your answers for potential questions.
The British Army is one of the most highly respected in the world. They have a saying that’s appropriate to many situations in life. It also can apply to preparing for an interview. “Proper planing and preparation prevents piss poor performance.”
So here’s our guide on how to prepare for an interview.
What to research for a job interview
Unless you’ve applied for a job and get an interview within 24 hours, there’s no excuse to not to research and prepare. Therefore here we’ll give you some tips on what to research for a job interview.
It may seem obvious to do research. However because its obvious you might not give it too much thought. Knowing what to research for a job interview and preparing yourself fully, can be the difference between success and rejection. So before your interview, give yourself enough time to research the following areas…
Research the company website:
- Familiarising yourself with the company’s website is fairly standard, and will be expected. Cram up on their products / services, paying particular attention to the most relevant area of the role your interviewing for is involved with. e.g. if you’re interviewing for a Product Design job, find out about their Design Team. How much research and development they do, new products and innovations they’ve developed etc. Understand their routes to market, target clients and where possible who their key clients are.
- Research the company history, which can usually be found on the “about us” page. Know their story inside out, and work your new found knowledge into to the conversation. Pay attention to the key players of the company journey, past and present, and understand the company hierarchy.
- Understand the company’s “Mission Statement”, “Values” and “Vision”. This will give you insight into their culture, and the opportunity to sell yourself into their values and vision.
- If there’s pictures of, or reference to, the working environment this will give you insight into what to expect when being interviewed, and ultimately working, there. For example is it a casual environment or does it display a formal dress code. Even without pictures the tone of their website should give you some indication of the company’s cultural environment.
Research the company’s social media channels
- Researching a company’s social media accounts adds an extra depth to your knowledge on them. You’ll get a sense of their culture from their social media communications, strategy and tone. Hopefully they’ll have posted some images to help you with your research.
- The social media platforms they use can also give you an idea of who is, and how they target, their ideal customer audience.
- If the tone on social media is different to their website, or their posts are inconsistent across the same platform, it shows a disjointed marketing strategy. Or lack of one! If you’re going for a marketing role, this could be an advantage, if you can add value to their communications. If you’re going for a Sales role, the lack of defined marketing strategy may be a concern.
- Be sure to follow the company’s social media accounts, to stay up to date on their posts before and throughout the interview process.
- Dig a little deeper, and find the social media accounts of employees. This gives you even more insight. If their accounts are linked to the company’s, rather than personal ones, again it shows if the company has a defined social media strategy or not.
“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”
Research the company on LinkedIn
- Research the company on LinkedIn, and you’ll find lots of insightful info. At least you should do, most companies have some form of presence on LinkedIn.
- A LinkedIn company page will give you an idea of the company size, in terms of head count, an overview of the business, as well as their recent activity. If they have showcase pages, you’ll see the areas important to them, that they’re promoting and how they go about it.
- Check out the profile of who you’ll be meeting at interview. Knowing what they look like beforehand will put you more at ease when you first meet them. Their profile will also give you insight into their role, communication style, therefore you’ll have a feel for what to expect when you meet them for interview.
- Research the company’s staff on LinkedIn, particularly the ones you’ll be working with, once you get the job by nailing the interview after all your research. Look if their profiles reflect your own, such as skills, education, career path etc. If there’s a common theme within the employees of the company, that you match – use it to your advantage during the interview. If you’ve got any skills gaps – prepare answers to any possible tricky questions you might get asked.
General internet search
- A general internet search on the company will deliver a wide variety of information, good, bad or indifferent. A general search gives you insight into the company, that hasn’t been tailored by them and their marketing efforts. It’s therefore unbiased.
- Do the widest search possible. Enter the company name into google (or your preferred search engine) and trawl the results. Add other key words into the search too. e.g. (insert company name) reviews, (insert company name) redundancies, (insert company name) in administration etc to give you deeper insight.
- Here’s a couple of sites to get you started: On Glassdoor you’ll find reviews from employees on what the company’s like to work for, possibly reviews from others who’ve been interviewed, giving you the heads up on what to expect, It also gives you a salary checking tools. Research the business on Companies House, and access information on Directors, Company Accounts, Financials and any bad credit.
Research the Job Spec
- Before your interview research the job spec / job advert thoroughly. Its what motivated you to explore the job opportunity in the first place.
- Dissect the job overview. Know exactly what the job responsibilities are, and what the company’s ideal candidate looks like. This will be outlined in the person specification. This will help prepare you to sell your experience, skills and attributes into the role during the interview. Where you have skills gaps, prepare answers to overcome any possible objections.
- Familiarise yourself with the language used in the job spec, and mirror it in your conversation. this will help build rapport, engagement and trust.
- Read between the lines of the job spec to try and get additional insight into the company, the language and tone may also give you an idea of the company culture.
Gain the competitive edge, learn how to prepare for a job interview
- Often overlooked, but the reality is the company want to know about you at the interview. Spend time researching yourself when doing your interview prep, being self aware is a strong trait. Particularly for senior management and leadership roles.
- Know your CV off by heart. Check the CV you submitted for anything that could catch you off guard, if asked to expand further during your interview.
- Cross reference your CV against the job spec. Make sure you know your strongest attributes within the spec. Again – be prepared to answer questions on any skills gaps.
- Research your online footprint. You’ve researched the company – they will be researching you. Make sure your social media profiles reflect your CV and the position your interviewing for.
How to prepare for a job interview | Conclusion
So as Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”. Knowledge is power! Knowing how to prepare for a job interview gives you a competitive edge and the confidence to nail it.
One final job interview tip. Prepare questions for the end of the meeting, and include a close. If you don’t ask you don’t get! So if you’re interested in the job try and close the next step. Tell the interviewer you’re interested and ask if they have any concerns about you for the role. This gives you the opportunity to overcome any objections, rather than leaving them to fester. Clarify that you’ve over come them, and then close again.
If you’d like further careers advice, or to find out more about how we can help you achieve your goals, please feel free to get in touch.