Preparing for a job interview in this tough economic climate is vitally important. Gone are the days when you could read a corporate website and bluff your way through an interview.
Companies are demanding higher standards than ever before. Putting on a suit will help with your potential employer's 'first impression' of you but the candidate who wins is the one who is polished and prepared.
- Research the firm – look at the company’s website, but don’t stop there! Look at their social networking sites including LinkedIn. Social media is also a great way to see if you would be a good culture fit within the company.
- Check up-to-date company literature, if this isn’t available on their company website, call them and ask them to post a corporate brochure to you and take this to your interview. This displays a genuine interest and ability to use your initiative.
- Read the press and search in editorial archives on news websites to see the heritage of the company, this will also tell you what the company is in the news for; from charity events through to corporate disasters, and will help shape some questions for you to ask at the interview.
- Talk to people you know who work or have worked there if possible. This will give you first hand information and genuine opinions about the company as an employer.
- Know your CV inside and out – the interviewer will expect you to answer questions about anything that is written on your CV. If you don’t know your own history, how do you expect the interviewer to view you as a credible candidate?
- Check out the interview process; how many stages will there be, will there be a test?
- Find out who you will be meeting and get their full name and job title. LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool to find out more information about the interviewers.
- Review the job description – think about how your experience would benefit the company and be prepared to give examples.
- Remember the interview is a two-way process and offers you the opportunity to decide if you want the role.
- Prepare suitable clothing the night before the interview to avoid unnecessary stress on the day.
- Ensure you know where the interview is being held, how you are getting there and how long it will take to get there. Being late will never make a great first impression.
- Remember to smile and maintain good eye contact and positive body language throughout.
- Your interviewers will expect some level of nerves so take a deep breath.
- Avoid answering questions with just yes or no. Always back up answers with examples which illustrate your skills and how you could contribute to the company. Click here for more advice on competency based interviews.
- Let the interviewer bring up the subject of salary, when asked you should stress the importance of the nature of the position and organisation is just as important as the salary.
- Ask questions!
- Under no circumstances should you criticise your current/previous employer.
It is important to follow up your interview with an email of thanks and to stress your interest in the role.