Interview Preparation in 5 Simple Steps (+ Guide)
We all know how horrible it can be going for interviews, especially when those tricky questions you haven’t prepared for come up and put you on the spot.
So here it is, five easy steps you can take ahead of an interview to ensure you go in feeling confident and - dare I say - even enjoy it.
The first thing to remember is that you are interviewing the employer as well as them interviewing you. You need to make sure that this is the right opportunity for you. Whether you are moving for culture, career progression or looking for a role you are passionate about, ultimately this is your time to decide whether this is what you want.
The most important thing to remember when going in for an interview is that this is your time to show yourself off. With the exception of coming across as arrogant, you want to highlight as much of your career success as you can with relevant examples.
1. Look the part
It is astounding as a recruiter to hear that candidates go into interviews without wearing a tie. Make sure you look sharp and polished whether it be wearing your best suit or corporate dress. First impressions are everything and the organisation will want to know that you can look your best to best represent their brand when dealing with external stakeholders and clients etc. You can download the full guide below.
Also, always remember to shake everyone’s hand in the room before AND after the interview. Interviewers will respect your air of professionalism and remember you for it. Nothing is worse than getting late to an interview. Make sure you get there with plenty of time so that you can read over your notes and have a calm head when you are called in.
2. Know your stuff!
I won’t be the first person to say it and no doubt I won't be the last - the key to a fantastic interview is preparation. To stress this, I will split this into two stages.
Firstly, do everything you can to know as much as you can about the organisation you are interviewing for.
Social media is a godsend; if you know who you are interviewing with (any good recruiter will have informed you) look up their LinkedIn profiles ahead of your interview. Know their background so you have shown you have done your homework and to show you are fully committed to the organisation and the role. This can also be a great conversation starter to show an interest in your interviewer and open a conversation about them.
Read everything you can to do with the organisation whether it be reading through the company website, memorising names of senior staff or reading trending news articles. Don’t stop there, read up on the industry, whether it be FMCG, Finance, IT or media, understand what is going on in that market and what their key competitors are doing. Great market and industry knowledge will seriously impress an interviewer.
3. Refresh your memory
Read through your resume and bullet point your key successes. When asked a question you should be thinking, how can I show off my skills with a strong example? Making sure that everything is fresh in your mind avoids the awkward hesitation when you are desperately grasping for a relevant example. If you have already made a list and know it well, it should be easy. We always recommend using the STAR method to all our candidates.
When providing an example, make sure you go through the five steps:
- What was the task?
- What was your thought process?
- What was the process?
- What was the result?
- What was the feedback?
Always try and pick an example where you received fantastic feedback from your peers or stakeholders. Using these 5 simple steps will give you a full answer and a great opportunity to highlight a career success.
The worst way to answer a question is with “I don’t know”.
4. Put a positive spin on it
Never give a negative answer. 9 times out of 10 a question like “why shouldn’t I hire you?” will be asked. Under no circumstances should you answer with a negative about yourself. Take a think about how you can spin this question into a positive.
For example, you could answer that question with “I’m so passionate about my work I often work late so need to work on my work-life balance”. Whilst you have given an answer of something you need to work on, the interviewer will be thinking great he/ she is going to put in the time in to work to their best ability.
5. Use your recruiter
If you are using a recruiter, they should be giving you the best support in preparing you for an interview.
A lot of the information above will be provided to you and it is your job to do your homework. At Morgan McKinley, we invite our candidates in to meet us to go through interview preparation. This can be 30-60 minutes of role-play, preparation and advice. Knowing our clients is a recruiter’s job, so we can provide our candidate with the best knowledge and prepare them on individual styles, what to expect and how to tailor their answers to best answer a question. We can also help you with the tricky questions that put you on the spot.
We provide our candidates with a fantastic interview preparation document, which you can download below.