Successful Job Interview

4 essential job interview preparation tips

15/04/2014BY: Tracey Mesken

​Congratulations!  A prospective employer has invited you in for an interview which means all the hard work you put into getting your resume noticed has paid off.  But that’s not where the work stops.

This is just your foot in the door, it’s now up to how you perform in your interview that will get you to the point of closing the deal.

Failure to sufficiently prepare can spell failure in an interview.  Whether you are feeling confident or suffering a major bout of nerves, here are four essential things you should do to prepare before every job interview.

1. Study your resume

The interviewer will have taken time to read your resume and understand your work experience and skills so make sure you know everything on it back to front yourself. This is very important as you will likely be asked to elaborate on key points or give a succinct verbal summary of your work history and highlights.

Being able to clearly map your achievements to specific roles and organizations will present a professional, coherent and impressive front for the interviewer and help you relax into answering questions.

2. Research the company and role

Arming yourself with a sound understanding of the company and the role you are interviewing for is a must. A quick Google search will deliver plenty of valuable information as a start on the company.

In regards to the role itself, if possible request a position description and familiarise yourself with requirements, being ready to explain how your own skills are applicable and make you the best person for the job.

If there are any gaps in your understanding, you can turn them into questions. Asking insightful questions will demonstrate you have taken the time to do research and that you are genuinely interested in the role and company.

3. Practice your answers

You can never know the exact questions you will be asked in an interview, but there tends to be some common questions that always seem to pop up. Standard interview questions include:

  • Tell me/us about yourself.

  • Why did you apply for this position?

  • What are your major strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?

Spend some time constructing answers to these questions and practice verbalising them aloud, either to yourself or to someone else. This will help you properly structure your responses and fine-tune your delivery.

Whilst you shouldn’t completely memorise your answers to the point that it sounds too rehearsed, having a general idea about what you are going to say allows you to answer questions calmly and confidentally during the actual interview.

4. Know where you are going and how long it will take

Always arrive 5-10 minutes early to the interview. Ensure you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take you to get there.  Give yourself extra time for any unanticipated traffic, parking or other delays. Late arrivals can be an immediate deal breaker as it appears highly unprofessional.  Your time is not more important than the interviewers, so don’t let it appear that way.

If you do happen to be running late for an unavoidable reason, don’t panic - simply call your interviewer and explain as soon as possible. Preferably sufficiently in advance.

Arriving early also gives you a few minutes to breath and focus on the interview at hand, getting yourself into a positive frame of mind to successfully handle what is thrown at you.

So there you go. The essential tips to preparing for a job interview.  Taking the time to prepare will help you relax and show the person interviewing you that you are not only the best candidate skill wise, but that you are committed and passionate about getting the job.

Do you have any tips for job interview preparation?  We would love to hear them.