Interview preparation and you – coping with the challenge
While most interviews traditionally started with the shaking of hands and a ‘how are you?’, today they frequently commence with everyone asking, ‘can you hear me?’. Regardless of whether your interview is remote or in person, there are still plenty of tips and advice you can use to make sure that you prepare for an interview you give yourself the best chance of succeeding.
Every interview is daunting, whether it is strange faces in a room or strange faces on a video call. They are designed to put you out of your comfort zone. But try and relax, the reason that you are meeting the recruiter or recruitment team is that your application and initial screening interview has impressed them. So, you have already done a lot right. Now it’s all about how you present yourself, your skills, and your capabilities. ‘Be yourself’ is advice you will commonly hear, but that just does not mean showing up for a chat. It means being a well-prepared, well researched version of yourself.
Confidence and dealing with surprises
Almost every interview situation will conjure up a surprise at some point. Think about possible questions that could be asked, and then try and identify any weaknesses in your answer. Will your answer generate more questions? Be succinct when you are answering questions, you want the interviewer to be confident that you know what you are talking about. An answer that is too short can create uncertainty for the interviewer, and answer that goes on and on can make you seem uncertain and can generate more questions that you might not be prepared for.
Listening is at the heart of providing good answers. If you are going to give a comprehensive answer to a question, make sure you listen closely to the question being asked. Don’t seem like you’re ready to start answering before the interviewer has finished their question. Listen thoroughly, take a deep breath or a sip of water and then begin your answer.
While the onus is on the candidate to impress in the interview, the recruiter will also want to present a good image of their organisation. In the best scenarios, an interview will evolve into a two-way conversation. Be respectful at all times but be engaging and observant and have a voice of your own. Whatever happens in the interview process, you will either succeed or you will learn from your experience. Over the next few pages, we will guide you through some of the situations, questions, and scenarios that you might experience.
Four ways to prepare for an interview:
Thinking about the company: review the research you did when you applied for the job; check their website and others for up-to-date news; re-read the job advertisement; think about the questions you might want to ask them.
Thinking about yourself: review your application; think about the skills you can offer and some examples to back this up; prepare some answers to commonly asked questions. Imagine yourself in the job: this will help you to be convincing about your ‘fit’ for the role.
Practising: rehearse answering interview questions; get a friend or careers adviser to play the role of the interviewer; try out some calming and confidence techniques.
Practical: check the location and how to get there; check that your interview suit is clean.
Learn about the different types of interviews you might face.