How to get ready for a job interview
Before your interview, there are some things you can do to maximise your chances of getting the job.
Research the company and the job thoroughly. Get acquainted with the organisation’s size, history and reputation. You could do this online, through the company’s website, or at a local library. If you know someone who works there, he or she would be a good source of information. You may not be asked about this information but it will help you understand the job.
Make sure you have a full job description from the employer so you can match your skills to the job’s requirements. Think about how your previous experience qualifies you and how it compares to the work on offer.Learn as much as you can about how the interview will be conducted. For example, it is not impolite to ask how long the interview will take; it shows you are serious about the proceedings. Once you know approximately how long it will last, you can prepare how you will pace yourself and which are the most important points you want to make. Make sure you don’t arrange any appointments immediately after the interview. You don’t want to feel rushed and, besides, it might stretch on beyond the specified time.
Try to find out who the interviewer will be and research him or her at the company’s website. Hopefully you will learn something about the interviewer’s general interests and how he or she fits into the organisation.The company may have a dress code that you’ll need to know about. What is appropriate depends on the particular employer and job but, generally speaking, it is better to dress formally whilst remaining comfortable. Men should dress conservatively with a tie and business suit. A fresh haircut and a shave will help and no chewing gum or cigarettes. Also only wear your wedding ring, if married, take out any earrings and cover any tattoos!Women should avoid wearing a dress but stick to a jacket and skirt or trousers. Keep your make up simple and use no more than one ring on each hand. In general avoid dressing in loud, garish clothes that would prove distracting to the interviewer.
Think about: “What kind of questions am I going to be asked and how am I going to answer them?” There are, of course, hundreds of possible questions but your research into the organisation should have given you some understanding of what they are looking for. Even if you aren’t asked the questions you prepare, the practice will give you confidence. You should also prepare some intelligent questions to ask; then with a friend or, in front of a mirror, practice them.Decide what materials you are going to take with you; extra copies of your CV, business cards, notebook and couple of pens. Perhaps you could include samples of your past work, references or any awards you have received that might be relevant.
Go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. On the day of the interview it is very important to be on time, so arrive early. Wait calmly, switch off your mobile phone and, when called, make eye contact with interviewer, introduce yourself and firmly shake his or her hand.