The 8 Essential Steps to prepare for a job interview
As a job seeker, landing a job interview is just the first step towards securing your dream job. It is important to prepare adequately for your job interview to increase your chances of success. Preparation is key to looking professional and capable.
1. Research the Company
Before you head to the interview, it’s important to research the company you’re interviewing with. Take the time to read up on the company’s history, culture and mission statement. This should all be easy to find on their website. Remember to check out their socials too, as this will help you understand what is important to them and how they project their culture. For example, do they want their brand to be seen as young and funky, or are they corporate and responsible?
This will help you understand the company’s values and how they operate. Make sure you research their products and services, recent news and any current events that may be relevant to the company. This information can help you tailor your responses to the interviewer’s questions and show that you’re a good fit for the company. Where possible, let the interview know that you know something about them. For example, if applying for a Chef role, let them know that you love the recent special they posted on Instagram and describe how this is something you enjoy creating and explain how you have reviewed their menu online.
2. Review Your Resume and Cover Letter
Your resume and cover letter are what got you the interview in the first place, so it’s important to review them before you go to the interview. Refresh your memory on the skills and experiences you highlighted in your resume and cover letter and be prepared to discuss them in more detail if asked.
If your role required you to submit selection criteria responses, we can 100% guarantee that you will be asked questions in relation to EVERY answer. Be sure to study these and have examples that explain how you meet each criterion ready to explain. Do not assume that because it is writing that they have read it. The person doing the short-listing for the interview, is not always the same person that performs the interview.
3. Practice Your Responses to Common Interview Questions
Many interviews follow a similar format, and there are certain questions that are almost always asked. It’s a good idea to prepare your responses to these questions ahead of time. Practice answering questions like “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “Why do you want to work for this company?” This will help you feel more confident during the interview and make you more articulate in your responses.
4. Dress Appropriately
Your appearance is the first thing the interviewer will notice when you walk into the room. Make sure you dress appropriately for the job you’re interviewing for. If you’re unsure of what to wear, it’s always better to overdress than underdress. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, and your hair and makeup (if applicable) are neat and professional. Shoes should not be scuffed. No thongs or sandals. Shoes should be enclosed.
5. Plan Your Route and Arrive Early
Plan your route to the interview location ahead of time, and make sure you leave plenty of time to get there. Aim to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early. This will give you time to compose yourself and gather your thoughts before the interview.
6. Bring Copies of Your Resume and a Notepad
Bring several copies of your resume with you to the interview, in case the interviewer doesn’t have a copy on hand. Also bring a notepad and pen to take notes during the interview. This will show that you’re prepared and interested in the job.
7. Prepare your own questions in advance
Towards the end of the interview, the interviewer will normally ask if you have any questions. DO NOT sit there and say nothing! There are plenty of things to ask. Write down your questions in advance (these can be written in the Notes section on your phone). If you get your phone out in the interview, make sure you explain that you are referring to your notes so that they don’t get the wrong idea.
Consider these practical questions:
- What would a typical day in this role look like?
- Is there free parking or public transport nearby?
- Who would I be reporting to?
- Can you tell me more about who I would be working with?
- How will my performance in this role be evaluated?
- What hours would I be required to work? Do these hours change from time to time or are they fixed?
- Are there any opportunities to work from home?
- What career opportunities would this role offer?
- What is the timeline for making a hiring decision?
8. Be Confident and Positive
During the interview, make sure you maintain good eye contact and speak clearly and confidently. Be positive and enthusiastic about the job and the company and show that you’re eager to learn more.
Preparing for a job interview is crucial to your success in the job search process. Researching the company, reviewing your resume and cover letter, practicing your responses to common interview questions, dressing appropriately, planning your route and arriving early, bringing copies of your resume and a notepad, and being confident and positive are all important steps to take before you go to the interview. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to smashing your next job interview and landing your dream job.