How to Prepare for a Job Interview
How to Prepare for a Job Interview: Advice, Best Practices and Follow Up Strategies
Whether you are job hunting for the first time or looking to switch careers, job interviews can be nerve-wracking. It is normal to feel stressed before an interview, but it's important not to let that stress get in the way of your performance. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a job interview and follow up after one, so that you can land your dream job!
How to prepare for a job interview:
You will be asked about your past experience so be prepared to talk through any interesting, and ideally relevant, projects you've previously worked on. Try to relate your previous experiences to the experience required for the role.
Come prepared with your own set of questions that demonstrate how interested in the job role you really are. It is normal for recruiters/hiring managers to give candidates their list of standard job interview questions but it's always nice if they see that you've done some extra research into the company themselves e.g., asking them about future projects being worked on, recent events at work etc...
Dress appropriately - if possible, try wearing similar clothes to those that would be worn at work every day (e.g., smart casual). This will give off positive first impressions and this is something your recruiter can advise on.
Arrive for the job interview early, to give you time to relax and check out your surroundings. It is normal for interviews to be slightly tense - take some deep breaths before beginning! There's nothing worse than showing up late to an interview, you'll feel stressed and it's not an ideal first impression. If the worst happens and it looks like you'll be a few minutes late, call the company, or your recruiter to let them know. This demonstrates that you care about time keeping.
Remember that job interviews are not just about “getting a job” but also about “finding the right job” so make sure you enjoy yourself! If there are aspects of this role or company which do not sit well with you, try talking them through during the meeting so it doesn't put either party off later down the line. Remember, it's as much about you checking if the job is right for your career aspirations as it is about the company securing the person for their job.
Try not to ask questions about salary, benefits or holiday straight off the bat. This can come across as too pushy and appear like you are only job hunting for the sake of getting a paycheck! Everyone understands these things are important, and if the interviewer brings them up of course talk them through. However, companies are looking for those who have the right mix of skills, and who seem genuinely enthused about joining them because of who they are, and the job you'll be doing, over company benefits.
How to conduct yourself during the interview
Always try to make a good first impression, even if you are nervous or the job isn't exactly what you had in mind, first impressions count. Try to be polite, friendly and professional.
Show enthusiasm towards the company and the job role. Ask them how business is going, mention interesting projects that you've uncovered from research. Simple and relevant open questions are a great way to break the ice and get the conversation started.
Never bad mouth your current job or previous job, your previous managers or work colleagues. This will sound an alarm with the interviewer and make them question whether you're a suitable employee to work with and manage.
Body language is important. Make sure you do the basics right such as maintaining eye contact and sitting up straight. Don't fidget with your pen, slouch in your chair or generally look uninterested. It doesn't give off the right signals.
Follow up after a job interview:
This stage is often overlooked, but it’s so important. Many candidates get through the interview then wait in the hope that the phone rings with a job offer. Following up after a job interview can set you apart from your competition and demonstrates your enthusiasm for the job, so don’t overlook it.
Make sure to follow up with your recruitment agency after an interview has taken place. It's always best to phone them straight after your interview and prior to starting your journey home so you can download on your recruiter whilst it's fresh in your head.
Send an email thanking anyone who was involved in conducting your job interview. This will go towards showing how keen you are on the job and your appreciation for their time. The vast majority of candidates won't do this, so it instantly sets you apart from your competition.
Send over references for your recruiter to forward on. Most candidates will only do this if asked by the employer post a job offer. By getting ahead, and doing this now, shows your forward thinking and proactive. Having positive feedback from previous employers is really powerful, and a mark of reassurance that you're a good employee to hire.
In conclusion job hunting can be tough, but if you remain positive and follow these best practices during your job hunt and interview process - it will make things much more manageable. Always remember that what is meant to happen, always happens for a reason so stay strong! Good luck with the job search.
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