How to prepare for an interview

Interviews can be incredibly daunting. I get nervous before an interview, but that’s normal. I suppose it just proves that it’s something important so you feel the pressure for it to go well.

In this blog post I’ll cover the following:

  • Preparation and research
  • Actually being yourself
  • Working hard
  • CV’s
  • Attire

Preparation is key

The obvious things go without saying, research the company and make a big effort to learn about them! You might be asked what you know about the company itself during your interview. There would be nothing more embarrassing than not knowing anything about the company. It’s also important to research to assure yourself that you’re walking into a place you want to be, with a company you want to be a part of.

In terms of punctuality it’s ALWAYS a good idea to arrive early, don’t ever be late because it doesn’t set a great example. I would always plan to leave so you have plenty of time, even if you do have to sit and wait for a while!

The easiest way to prepare is google potential interview questions and think about how you’d answer or get a friend to quiz you. You don’t want to rehearse any answers though!

Typical questions you may be asked are things like:

Tel us about yourself

What are you strengths and weaknesses

Tell us of a time when …..Bla bla bla ?

Be yourself

The truth is you can google interview questions, how to behave in an interview, what to wear, how to prepare properly and how to be perfect, but in reality all you should do is be yourself.

You want to make a good impression, so just be the best you that you can be and walk in with your head held high. Remember to politely shake hands with your interviewer and sit and converse in an intellectual manner. Definitely don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, and if some awkward, nervous laughter comes out then don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll be expecting that.

Some people really don’t do well in pressurised interview situations no matter how informal they promise the process to be. I don’t enjoy them and I think sometimes my nerves show if I have to talk a lot, but it’s something I try and work with and after time I definitely become more relaxed.

CV’s

I decided to try something new a while back. I had been searching the usual job websites for a role that I really wanted and I came across a handful of positions that I felt I would excel in. So I decided to think out of the box and create personalised cvs for these specific companies. Unfortunately I either really missed the mark or I just wasn’t bold enough. I didn’t get an interview for any of those 3 jobs, I didn’t even get a thanks but no thanks email, and that was frustrating. I didn’t give up though … I started looking seriously for dream jobs and I came across one. I really wanted to stand out, so I wrote a quirky cover letter, a blog post to support my application and a newly styled, colourful cv. It got me noticed, and I was successful with an interview! I was complimented on this during said interview and that made me feel very proud of myself and my work. I was told my cv really stood out among others and that was really nice to hear.

Attire

I once was sat at my desk while interviews were being conducted in the room opposite me. That means I managed to get a good look at all of the applicants coming in, and unfortunately I have to say there were some pretty bad outfit choices. I remember one girl came in wearing a denim jacket and another wearing a summer dress and flip flops. Later on all of the staff talked over the interviewees and we concluded that the way some prospective candidates dressed did not go down well.

I’ve always been of the opinion (like most) that it’s better to overdress for an interview rather than turn up looking Too casual. Obviously it depends on the location, line of work and surroundings but 9 times out of 10 go for a variation of a suit (that’s my rule). I’ve worn suits, trousers and a blouse with no jacket, and formal ‘work dresses’ to interviews but I always aim to look very smart and professional.

Everyone is different

Recently on social media I saw that someone had claimed how easy it was to get a job in a day and this seriously baffled me. I started to watch the video and had to turn it off through frustration! A lot of us have found it hard to even get a foot in the door of our dream career path and unfortunately not everybody can appreciate how competitive it is. Another thing worth mentioning is that this person went for an interview for a job. It wasn’t their dream job they’d been pining after for a few years, so don’t let that story deter you. It’s not necessary normal to ‘get a job in 1 day’.

I used to work with someone who though millennials get entitled just because they had been to university, from my experience and the people I know – that’s not the case. We all have to work hard because the competition is tough. Remember, you’re never going to be the only person being interviewed for a position.

Just because you’re a university graduate doesn’t mean that you’ll be more qualified than your competition, remember that! This is why you need to make yourself stand out to at least get that initial interview!

Finally …

You may apply for 10 jobs and hear nothing back, you may apply for 50 jobs and only have 1 interview but keep going. When the timing is right the right job will come along and you’ll win the role you dreamed of.

Remember it’s a chance to sell how amazing you are and to let these people see the real you. Be confident and relax, you’ll do just fine.

Side note … I started this blog post when I had just attended my first interview for a job I felt I was perfect for, I made it to a second interview but unfortunately the company since decided not to take on new staff which of course was such a shame. I know how hard it can be to even get an interview for your dream job these days, so if you’re looking for jobs or attending an interview soon good luck! Work hard for the job you want and hopefully you’ll achieve it!

Thanks for reading,

Amy x

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