I must, I must, I must. There are three things you must do before each and every interview. If you do, you’ll maximise your chances of getting that job.
Those musts are – and read them out loud:
- I must anticipate
- I must prepare
- I must practice
Don’t you just love it when you know exactly what the interviewer will ask and come back with the perfect answer? You can do this in every interview if you anticipate what’s going to be asked. Sit down and have a long hard think about what the job entails, the type of experience the organisation is looking for, and your own CV. Think about the common interview questions you’ll be asked and the most dreaded question – “So tell me about yourself”.
Other questions you might be asked include:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What are your strong (or weak) points?
- What can you do for us?
- What did you like (or dislike) about your previous job?
- Why are you leaving your job?
Lillian Hafez of Robert Walters advises to anticipate that you will be challenged on your answers. “Make sure you have specific examples to back your comments”, says Hafez.
You’ve anticipated what you’ll be asked. Now prepare to ace that interview. Your preparation should include everything from what to wear to the interview, to what to bring, and how to answer those tricky questions.
Start by analysing the job description. An important weapon in any jobseeker’s arsenal is pen and paper (or computer keyboard). Write down how you meet each and every requirement of the job. The process of writing helps imprint the answers onto your brain, making it easier to recall that information in the heat of the interview. “Make sure to research the organisation and market you are interviewing with,” says Hafez. Go beyond Googling the company name. Familiarise yourself with the organisation’s website, read every news article you can find and tap into your network for information about the organisation. This knowledge will make you look well-informed at the interview.
Familiarise yourself with the organisation’s website, read every news article you can find and tap into your network for information about the organisation.
Finally, prepare what you’re going to wear, what you need to take with you such as references and work out how you’ll get to the interview with plenty of time to spare.
We all know that practice makes perfect. Now that you’ve anticipated and prepared, it’s time to do your practice. After all captain Cameron Smith, actress Cate Blanchett, and eye surgeon Fred Hollows didn’t perfect their crafts without spending long hours practising. “Being confident, specific, clear and concise will ensure you present well,” says Hafez.
DIY practice is useful or, if you can, enlist the help of a friend. If you’re doing it on your own take your list of interview questions and practice them out loud. You could even use a smartphone app or your phone’s video recorder to see yourself in action. Try to make this practice as real as you can. Set up an interview space and even consider dressing the part. You’ll know if you feel comfortable that way. The more practice you do the more your confidence will be boosted on the day.
Finally all job seekers should take a look at our interview tips. If the interview didn’t go well, then find out what you can learn from the experience.