FIVE STEPS to perfect job interview preparation

Five steps to the perfect job interview

The impact of COVID-19 on many of us will be felt an awful long time, not least by those whose future has been thrown into turmoil through redundancy. But while this is undoubtedly a challenging time for us all, these times do provide an opportunity to re-evaluate things career-wise.

Maybe you were not that happy in your job anyway. Maybe you always wished you had the skills to enable you to embark on a whole new career path. Well, despite how difficult life currently is thanks to the corona virus, if you are currently furloughed or have been made redundant, this might just be the time to acquire those skills and make that change.

Gearing up for interview

If you have already taken that step, updated your CV and been invited to a job interview, that is brilliant! Now it is time to see things over the line, and a little preparation beforehand can make all the difference.

Now is not the time to get those small things wrong such as the route, the address or what you are going to wear to the interview. These are easy things to get right but getting them wrong can dramatically affect your success at interview.

Think about how you can leave a lasting, positive impression. It is not just about answering the questions put to you, it is about demonstrating your enthusiasm for the job itself. With that in mind, we have put together our top five list of things to take with you to interview.

1. Have your CV on hand

Always ensure you take a few copies of your CV to the interview. Having your education and career highlights printed out and to hand during the interview will be a great help when you are asked to talk through your educational and working history to date.

2. Examples of your best work

Your interview is not just a chance to tell your potential new boss why you are amazing at what you do – it is also an opportunity to show them. Take along a few examples of your best work to really showcase your expertise and always make sure it is as relevant as possible to the role you are interviewing for.

Think about projects you have been involved in that were beneficial to the company you were working for. What was your involvement? What was achieved, and what was the positive benefit(s) for the company?

For a digital approach – create a PDF library on a tablet, so the interviewer can swipe through your work at will.

3. Hard copies of your presentation

You have been asked by your interviewer to prepare a presentation and you have spent hours preparing a PowerPoint presentation to showcase this perfectly. You have this saved on a memory stick and your desktop.

But what happens if there is a power cut just before you are about to present?

Always make sure you have printed multiple copies of your presentation – one for you and several for those you are presenting to. Better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to IT issues!

4. A pen and paper

Make that at least two pens if not three or four. No one enjoys the furious motion of trying to write with a dud pen, so it is useful to have a backup.

Use your pen and paper to take note of any questions your interviewer asks that you can’t answer right away, and to jot down any insights they share that will help you write a follow-up email thanking them for the opportunity to be interviewed (a great way to make a good impression post-interview!).

Try to avoid doodling or constant pen clicking to calm your nerves.

5. Pre-written questions

Remember a job interview is a two-way conversation. It is always good to have questions of your own that you would like to ask – having nothing to ask when prompted can convey a lack of genuine interest in the job you are applying for.

Think about what you would like to know. Look at the company’s website, read about their history and their latest news. This might give you some ideas and will give you an opportunity to demonstrate that you have done some research.

If you know who will be interviewing you, see if you can find them on LinkedIn and identify anything interesting you can ask them about. How does working for this company compare with their previous company, for example?

Also, think about what you would like to know about the specifics related to the job role you are applying for.

As the saying goes: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. A little bit of effort before you arrive for your interview will stand you in good stead and help to leave a lasting impression!

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