Although the interview process varies from job to job, your approach to preparation is essential to success.
Sometimes interview prep can seem a little overwhelming, but if you allow yourself enough time, conduct thorough research and rehearse your responses, you’re likely to alleviate stress and feel much more confident on the day.
So, if you've just been invited to interview for a new role and you’re feeling a little anxious about what to expect, watch our five-minute guide to interview preparation below and find out how you can make a lasting impression.
how to prepare for an interview.
key points to remember from our video:
- always begin your preparation by reading through the job description and matching your skills and experience to the criteria.
- spend time thinking about how you might respond to common interview questions. Remember these questions tend to fall into three categories: behavioural, hypothetical and stress.
- rehearse your answers out loud beforehand and try to bear in mind your non-verbal cues and body language.
- conducting research on the company and your interviewers is essential. The company website and social media channels will be your most useful resources for this.
- always prepare some questions to ask the employer at the end of the interview. This is a great opportunity to show off your knowledge and enthusiasm for the role.
If you’re looking for more useful career advice, head over to our Career hub for the latest CV and interview tips and insight.
preparing for an interview: the video transcript.
If you're not set up to watch our video, or you prefer to read rather than listen, here's the full transcript from our video.
No matter where you are in your career a job interview is often seen as a make-or-break situation which requires careful planning.
However time taken to prepare is time well spent.
So prepping thoroughly beforehand should alleviate stress and help you feel more confident on the day. So if you've just been invited to interview for a new role, here are a few preparation fundamentals to bear in mind.
The best way to start is to get to know the job description inside out. Read carefully through the requirements for the role and start matching your relevant skills and achievements to each point.
Once you feel like you have a strong list of relevant examples write them down and practice articulating each one. If there are some skills you don't feel you possess - don't panic!
In reality most candidates will have mastered some skills but lack of others. So be honest and prepare a response which shows how you can improve these attributes and reference any skills you do have which will speed up the learning process.
Interviews can be hard to predict but there are standard interview questions so it's essential to spend time practising how you might respond to these common questions without sounding too rehearsed.
Whether you're asked about your weaknesses or how well you work in a team the most common interview questions generally fall into one of three categories:
1. behavioural interview questions.
The aim is to get you talking about how you demonstrated a particular skill or handled a certain situation.
The most common behavioural questions will usually involve teamwork, leadership or handling pressure so try to prepare a suitable success story for each.
2. hypothetical interview questions.
These are the 'what would you do if?' questions where the interviewer will try to test your problem solving skills in a hypothetical situation.
These questions might ask you how you deal with an irate customer or how you'd go about selling an idea to a client.
Just remember to reference any previous experiences and explain how they will prepare you for this situation.
3. stress questions in interviews.
These questions are harder to prepare for but they usually try and test how you think on your feet and respond under pressure.
a common tactic is to adopt an aggressive attitude and ask you directly about why you left a roll or why you don't possess a particular skill.
They can also take the form of brain teasers or puzzles - like 'how many tires are produced in the UK each year?' - which randomly test your logic or numeracy skills.
Here it's important to remain calm, refrain from being offended and remember you don't always have to get the right answer.
The more you can find out about the company and your interviewer the better. So a large portion of your interview prep should be dedicated to conducting thorough research.
Your most valuable resources will be the company's website and social media channels where you'll be able to better understand the company's activities and find recent news releases, annual reports marketing activity and other useful material.
If you want to find out more about who will be interviewing you, use LinkedIn and Twitter to find out about your employer's background, recent achievements and any articles they may have written.
This can give you an advantage during the interview with material you can use to relate to the interviewer and spark up a meaningful conversation.
it’s also important to enquire about the interview format as this will have a huge impact on how you decide to prepare.
If it's a panel interview it's likely you're going to have to prepare answers for different interviewers. Whereas a group interview will often involve an assessment of your leadership potential and teamwork skills.
A recruitment consultant is best placed to help you with preparing for different situations so don't hesitate to ask for their advice.
Towards the end of the interview, most interviewers will give you the opportunity to ask them questions.
This is a great chance to show off your enthusiasm for the role and find out more about the company.
So try to think of four or five meaningful questions to ask.
Avoid asking about pay or benefits but try and prepare questions which are role specific or involve discussions about the company's direction or working culture.
Our final tip?
If you feel comfortable, don't be afraid to ask how you did at the end of the interview.
It shows that you're serious about the role.