I come across many individuals who want to talk about how to find the right job, how best to present themselves on the application and secure an interview. These are all important parts of the job hunting process and need focus and attention. However, it can be a long and winding road to finally securing a job offer and it’s the next part of the journey where things often start to unravel!
“If a resume was the deciding factor in recruitment, there would never be a need for interviews.”
You’ve landed the interview so time to relax a little, right?
Er, no! Unfortunately, once the interview is secured the hard work doesn’t stop there!
For those confident job hunters I often hear people say things such as:
“I just need to get in front of them and then it’s plain sailing”
“I’m really good with people. As soon as we get talking it will be fine.”
“They’ve selected me for interview so obviously think I have something valuable to offer.”
… and then switch off!
Or with the less confident job hunters, I often hear them say:
“I’m not sure why they chose me”
“Once they see me they’ll realise I’m not cut out for this, so there’s no point in worrying about it”
“I’m not sure what the point is. There are 10 others being interviewed who are bound to be better than me”
… and then switch off!
They then start to wonder why the job offer never arrives.
Now is not the time to question why or stop focusing on why you’re the best candidate for the job
You’ve secured an interview. Celebrate! This is a fabulous achievement. Use that positive energy and start to focus on what you need to do now to shine in person. You’ve already done it once on paper, so what can you learn from that? Whether you’re confident or not, or somewhere in between, there is an opportunity in the run up to an interview to prepare to be at your best. There are plenty of things to do. Please don’t switch off!
5 Top tips for interview preparation
- Research the organisation. I don’t mean just read their home page! That’s useful but what else are they up to? As a starter for 10, you might want to think about their latest headline news, biggest challenges, innovative product developments, community initiatives, check social media feeds, how they champion change, employee feedback etc. The list is endless. It might even be possible to visit and have a look around before the interview. Why are you interested in this company and what do you really know about it? Demonstrate it. This is not only useful for the interview but in helping you to make the right decision if offered the role. In theory you will have done some of this work in preparing for the application, but now is the time to ramp it up!
- Research the interview panel. If possible, find out who is going to interview you. Is it your prospective line manager, HR, Head of function etc? Who are they? What do they do? What makes them tick? If you were them, what would you want to know about you? How might you build rapport with these people? What are the obvious opportunities for building a connection?
- Be clear on what you have to offer. Given what you know about the organisation and the role, what can you bring that will add value? Why would they want to employ someone like you? What might they be missing if they didn’t? Remind yourself of what and how you positioned yourself in the application. How can you bring this to life when you meet in person? Think positive mindset and personal brand 😊.
- Prepare for the obvious. The killer question, “Tell me about yourself”. Here is a wonderful opportunity to fall flat on your face before you’ve even started! Don’t just recount your CV. They’ve read it (well should have!). Repetition is boring, particularly if you’re the last of several candidates being interviewed. If the panel remember only 3 things about you, what would you want them to be? Practise saying them in front of the mirror and start the interview with something a bit different! It goes without saying that you need to prepare for the competency and skills based questions, such as “tell me about a time when you’ve….”. Prepare at least 2 solid examples of interesting and compelling stories you can tell that demonstrate your competency. No matter how senior a role, everyone loves a good story! Don’t tell them about what others did, but what YOU did.
- … then relax and lower the dimmer switch for a while. In all seriousness, this is important. Do what you need to do to enable your best possible self. That’s what the interview panel want to see. You’ve sparked their interest already, and now they just want to have a conversation to find out a bit more. Put your notes away at least 24hrs in advance, get a good nights sleep, eat a good breakfast, make time for your morning run or mindfulness practice, put your notes, arrive early and chill.
As Oscar Wilde says “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”
Focus on the quality of the conversation and don’t get distracted by what the outcome might be. It’s not your decision. You can only influence it by being your best self. If interview nerves tend to get the better of you, my blog on banishing interview nerves might help too.
Please get in touch if you’d like some help and let me know how you prepare for interviews in the comments section below. Good luck!