7 Tips on How to Prepare for an Interview
Knowing what you can expect during an interview and preparing ahead of time can make a world of difference and help you gain an edge over your competitors. In this blog, we’ll share some pro tips on how to prepare for a job interview. From conducting research to mock interviews, these tips will give you the confidence to make a lasting impression on the hiring manager.
1. Do your research
Before any job interview, it’s critical for job seekers to do their background research. Gaining an in-depth understanding of the company and the job role is essential to make an excellent first impression and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position.
The first step is to find out everything you can about the company.
- Who is the CEO of the company?
- How long has the business existed?
- What products and services do they offer?
- What’s the organisation’s mission and vision?
- Are there any recent news, events or updates about the company?
Check out their website, press releases, articles, and social media channels to learn about the company’s history, mission, vision, culture and values. Understanding the organisation’s goals and objectives will help you tailor your interview responses accordingly.
Next, deeply analyse the job description and the qualifications the company is looking for. Note down all the skills they are actively looking for and have a list of instances ready where you have demonstrated the abilities the hiring manager is searching for.
It’s a good idea to research your interviewer and other members of the panel. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile, and read any articles they may have published or been featured in. Take the time to listen to any podcasts they may have been in to understand their personality, professional background, and the values they prioritise.
Lastly, research the organisation’s competitors and stay updated on relevant trends and news stories within the industry.
2. Prepare for common interview questions
Anticipate the questions you may be asked during a job interview and prepare for them. While you may not be able to pinpoint the exact questions the hiring manager may ask you, it’s critical to have a strategy to tackle the most common interview questions.
1) How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
Hiring managers are looking for more than the cliche answers when they ask this question. Share instances from the past where you’ve handled stressful situations in a calm and composed manner. Be honest about your experiences and provide examples where you overcame challenging situations or managed complex tasks within a certain time frame. You can also share strategies that you use to stay collected during such situations.
2) What are your career goals?
It’s important to share goals that are clear and attainable. The hiring manager wants to gain an understanding of what motivates you and what your long-term career goals look like. Showcase how the job position you’re applying for will help you achieve these long-term professional goals.
3) Do you prefer working independently or on a team?
All job roles require some amount of teamwork and collaboration. Therefore, it’s essential to show that you have the ability to work in both environments. Show them you’re comfortable taking direction and have strong communication skills to efficiently collaborate with team members. Also, mention how you are capable of working independently. Share your strengths and weaknesses while working within a team setting, and talk about specific scenarios where you have successfully collaborated in the past.
4) What did you do in the last year to improve your knowledge?
Hiring managers want to know that you value career development and are actively working towards developing yourself professionally. Be sure to provide specific examples of any courses you have taken, seminars or conferences you’ve attended, books you’re read, certificates you’ve earned, or any other initiatives you’ve taken to stay updated. Show them that you’re committed to staying updated on the latest trends and developments in your industry.
3. Take Care of Details
There are several things to consider before your job interview to ensure you’re well-prepared and confident for the interview. Here are some of the essential things you need to think about:
- Figure out what to wear. An interview is your chance to make a solid first impression; therefore, it’s crucial to dress the part. Take the time to learn about the company’s dress code and dress accordingly.
- Print hard copies of your resume. While most businesses have gone digital, it’s a good idea to carry hard copies of your resume for the hiring manager.
- Prepare a reference list. Your references are just as important as your resume. Have a list of three or four past employers or colleagues you can provide to the interviewer. Make sure your references are aware that they may be contacted and provide updated contact information.
- Test the needed tech beforehand. If your interview is happening virtually or requires any technical equipment, ensure that you test everything out well ahead of time.
- Pack your bag ahead of time. Being organised and prepared is always a plus. Pack your bag the night before and double-check that you have everything you need, like copies of your CV, portfolio, and other documents.
- Prepare your travel arrangements. If you’re driving to the interview, check out the directions and the estimated travel time. Traffic and other factors will affect your travel time, so ensure that you consider the time of the day you will be travelling.
- Create an interview cheat sheet. Make a list of all the important questions you want to ask or key points you want to make. Take notes about the company, interviewer, and other things you believe are essential to be checked out minutes before the interview.
4. Conduct mock interviews
One of the best ways of brushing up on your interview skills is by conducting mock interviews. During these mock interviews, you practise your response to potential interview questions with your mentor, friends, or family. Conducting mock interviews gives people a chance to practise their skills in a safe and low-stakes environment. It’s an excellent way to boost confidence and familiarise yourself with the interview process.
Mock interviews help people gain valuable insight into their own strengths, weaknesses and areas they need to work on before the job interview. It can also help you find unique selling points to stand out from the competition.
During a job interview, it’s vital for candidates to communicate in a clear, concise, and confident manner. Mock interviews help people develop and hone their communication style and present themselves in the best light possible during the actual interview.
5. Check Your Online Presence and Your Public Social Media Profiles
Most hiring managers run a background check on the candidate’s online presence before the interview. Therefore, it’s critical to double-check your online presence and public social media profiles.
Maintain an up-to-date professional profile on LinkedIn since it’s the go-to platform for most hiring managers to run background checks before the job interview.
Here are some tips for managing your online presence and public social media profiles before a job interview:
- Audit your current online presence and public social media profiles. Take a look at all your social media profiles and ensure that everything is up to date. Have a professional profile picture, especially on LinkedIn, and be sure to share your qualifications, recent achievements, and your work history.
- Clean up your public profiles. If you have any photos or posts that may come across as unprofessional, either delete them or set them to private. Be mindful of the things you share.
- Connect with people in your industry. Build connections with people in your industry and join relevant groups or communities.
Also, run a quick Google search on your name before the interview. This will reveal any potentially embarrassing posts you may have shared in the past or negative articles that may have been written about you.
6. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
It’s important to ask the hiring manager at least two or three relevant and intelligent questions to demonstrate your interest in the company and the job position. Don’t ask questions that are easily found online. Focus on questions that will create a lasting first impression and provide you with critical insights about the company and whether or not you’ll be a good fit to work there.
Here are some example questions you can ask:
- What challenges have people in this job role faced in the past?
- What opportunities are available for career growth and development?
- What do you think are the key trends affecting the organisation in the next couple of years?
- What have you learned, or how have you changed since joining the company?
- What are the next steps in the process?
Ask open-ended questions rather than questions that can be easily answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Taking the time to research your employer, practising your answers to common interview questions, and asking thoughtful questions will put you a step ahead of your competition.
7. Close on a positive note
How you end your job interview is important.
- Express Gratitude. Showing your appreciation for the chance to interview is a great way to wrap up the interview on a positive note. Thank the interviewer for their time and express your enthusiasm for the position and the organisation.
- Set Follow-Up Expectations. If you’re unclear about the hiring process, this is an excellent time to ask questions and set expectations for the follow-up process. Ask the interviewer when you should expect to hear back from them and what the next steps are.
- Ask Questions. Asking the interviewer questions demonstrates that you are interested and engaged in the conversation and is a great way to end the interview on a positive note.
- Review Your Responses. Review the answers you shared during the interview and ensure that you addressed all of the questions asked.
It’s critical to be prepared for a job interview. By following these pro tips, job seekers can ensure they are well-prepared for their next job interview. From researching the company and anticipating questions, to practising mock interviews and cleaning up your online presence, these tips will help you create a lasting impression.
At Joss Search we connect job seekers with the best roles in top private equity and alternative investment firms. You can take a look at our live vacancies or chat with our friendly consultants about your upcoming career steps. We’re waiting to help on 020 3096 7050 and firstname.lastname@example.org.