Interviews: How to Prep Like a Boss

May 21, 2021

8 Step Guide on How To Prepare For an Interview

When you see the word interview, what is your initial reaction? If it’s feelings of dread, anxiety and nerves, then good news - you’re human! It’s normal to feel nervous, you’re doing something new and outside your comfort zone. When your nerves lead to stress, and your fight or flight instincts kick in, you can combat interview stress through quality planning and researching.

As my GCSE English teacher always said: fail to plan, then plan to fail.

According to Indeed, you should spend 5 - 10 hours researching for an interview. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a LOT… This advice is too general. Yes for SOME interviews you should spend a lengthy amount of time researching, but let's be realistic.

If you’re the average job hunter, you’re likely already working full time, have several interviews or applications on the go, and trying to also balance your home life. If you spent 10 hours researching for each interview, and you had several applications on the go as many job searchers do, your other priorities and commitments will suffer. Worse yet, consume so much caffeine that you end up in a Will McKenzie exam situation from The Inbetweeners… not ideal.

If you want to dedicate 10 hours to interview prep and research, by all means go ahead! But if this seems impossible, here are some tips to interview prep efficiently and effectively in a shorter period of time.

How to Prepare before an interview:

  1. Research the company’s career’s page. It usually contains an insight into the company culture, working environment, and how many roles they’re hiring for. Are they hiring for lots of roles, suggesting growth? Or just a few roles suggesting they are looking for someone or something really specific?

  1. Pull apart the job advert you applied to, and highlight the parts that you are an expert in or any transferable skills. Think about whether it’s a new role for a project, or an existing role they’re replacing. Write down why you are an excellent fit. When they ask ‘Why you’, you’ll have your answer readily available.

  1. Check out their social media channels, like Instagram and Twitter - again this gives a great insight into their company culture and what it’s actually like to work there. Make a note of anything you find interesting! Are they running an important campaign, supporting a certain charity, or showcase a lot of employee socials? This will help you form an answer for the ‘why do you want to work with us’ question.

  1. Research the company LinkedIn page, and your interviewer’s LinkedIn profiles. If they’re active voices in their industry, write down something they have said that interests you and bring it up in your interview. Interviews are as much about being a cultural fit and making personal connections as they are about being able to do the role.

  1. 84% of interviewers expect candidates to bring a copy of their CV to the job interview. Even if you have already emailed your resume, you should always bring a printed copy to an interview. It’s useful to have it for your own reference, and as a reminder if your mind ever goes blank.

  1. Print out and bring a copy of the job description or job advert with you. This is also great for referencing to.

  1. Only 47% of interviewees bring a notebook, yet 62% bring a pen. What are the 15% of non-notebook bringers expecting to write on..? A notebook is useful for 3 reasons: to write down your research before your interview to have with you; questions you want to ask; important or interesting things said by your interviewees.

  1. If there is something you don’t have experience in yet and they bring it up during the interview, you can use it to your advantage. Tell them that it is something you are interested in learning more about and one of the reasons you were attracted to the role. If you fit everything on the job spec, there would be no room for your career growth and development. Emphasise your commitment to learning and growing with the company.

The most important piece of advice that I can share with you is that interviewing is a two way street. You are interviewing them as a potential employer, as much as they are interviewing you as a potential employee. If you have been invited in for an interview, it’s because they like YOU and are interested in YOU. Remember, your interviewer’s are human too! They’re not perfect and don’t expect you to be either .Be yourself, and go into the interview with the aim of making a new contact, and furthering your experience.

Written by Phoebe Blair


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