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Preparing for your next job interview

Find out more about our top tips to help you successfully prepare for your next job interview.

May 1, 2020

A man interviewing on video on a woman's laptop screen

When preparing for a job interview, there are a number of things to consider to help you prepare to present and deliver your best. Here we share our top interview preparation tips and advice to help give you the best chance of success at your next job interview. Even though during COVID-19, most—if not all—interviews will be conducted remotely, these tips still apply.

Where to start?

Research the company

Researching the company will help you to better understand where your role fits, and your knowledge will boost your credibility with the interviewer. The company website, annual report, newsletters and media releases can provide you with valuable information on the company’s key products and services, target markets, recent events, structure, culture and future direction.

Your interview preparation should also include reading trade publications and newspaper/magazine articles. These will give you an insight into the company’s reputation, major competitors and wider industry challenges.

Review role details

Carefully examine all the information you have about the role, including the job advertisement and position description. This information is useful for anticipating what you are likely to be asked, so that you can prepare relevant responses beforehand. To set you apart from other candidates, you can also use this information to form intelligent questions to ask at the conclusion of the interview.

Practice your responses

Rehearsing answers to the questions you are likely to be asked is the most critical step in interview preparation. For each potential question, identify practical examples that show how you responded to the task/situation and specify the positive outcome.

Rehearse your responses with a someone to gain feedback on whether you are matching your skills, experience and personal attributes to the requirements of the job.

Know your strengths

The key to presenting yourself in the best possible light is to know your key strengths and communicate them confidently and convincingly. The interview is your opportunity to ‘sell’ yourself, so be sure to have prepared concrete examples of what makes you special.

Remind yourself of your key achievements from your resume so they are top of mind when responding to questions, and use them to demonstrate how you can meet the needs of the employer better than any other applicant.

For the interview

Be punctual

Punctuality is a strong indicator of your professionalism and enthusiasm for the role. Confirm the time and address of the interview, research directions and parking, and aim to arrive ten minutes early. Be careful not to arrive too early, as this will also send the wrong message. Bring with you any required documentation and, in case of an emergency, also include the phone number of the person you will be meeting or your Recruitment Consultant.

Dress to impress

Your appearance shows how serious you are about the role and how you would represent the company in the future. Be sure to dress appropriately: neat and professional.

Stay calm

It is important to remain as relaxed as possible. Even the most seasoned professionals get interview nerves. Preparing thoroughly will help you to maintain your composure. Remember that both you and the interviewer want a successful outcome from the interview.

Greet your interviewer with confidence

During COVID-19, face-to-face interviews will likely be on hold, but first impressions still count. If you were meeting face to face it would be important to greet your interviewer standing, with good eye contact, a firm handshake and a smile. Although COVID-19 has increased the number of virtual interviews, making a good first impression is still key. Find out the name of the interviewer or the interview panel in advance, as this will help you to address them correctly and make a good impression. Don’t forget to smile and maintain good eye contact—even though in virtual interviews, that eye contact is with a camera!

Be mindful of your body language

Positive body language is vital. Be aware of your tone, eye contact and how you are positioned in the chair or at the computer. Try to convey genuine enthusiasm, warmth and professionalism. Speak with clarity and confidence.

Remember that your motivation and attitude are often as critical as your skills and experience.

Be prepared with questions

Make sure you ask questions relating to the role, the team you will be a part of and the organisation. The interview is also your opportunity to ensure this role is the right one for you. However, save the questions about salary and benefits until the final round of interviews.

Leave a positive last impression

Close the interview with a handshake (if in a face-to-face interview), a smile and a genuine thank you. A brief, friendly email, thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration, is often viewed positively. Restating your enthusiasm for the role could be a deciding factor in receiving a job offer.

For more information on how to present yourself during an interview, contact us.