How to prepare for an interview (APRIL 2024)

Apr 17, 2024

To excel in your job interview and secure the position, thorough preparation is essential. Here are some pointers to help you become interview-ready:

Types of Interviews Job interviews come in various formats. Some roles may require success in just one interview type, while others, especially with larger graduate employers, may involve multiple formats.

  • Face-to-Face: This traditional format involves visiting the employer's office for questioning by an individual or panel. These interviews typically last between 45 minutes and two hours and may include tests or exercises.

  • Telephone: Employers often use phone interviews to screen candidates. Successful candidates are usually invited for an in-person interview or assessment center. A phone interview typically lasts around 30 minutes.

  • Video: Video interviews are becoming more common, especially for graduate scheme applications. They can be live or pre-recorded and usually last about 30 minutes.

  • Assessment Centers: These day-long events allow employers to evaluate multiple candidates through tasks like presentations, team exercises, and psychometric tests.

Researching for the Interview Your preparation significantly impacts your interview performance. Start your research early and focus on:

  • Employer: Understand the company's industry, challenges, competitors, recent projects, culture, and values to show genuine interest.

  • Role: Review the job description and your application to articulate why you're suitable for the role and why the employer should choose you.

  • Interview Panel: Identify your interviewers' professional backgrounds and interests using LinkedIn and the company website.

  • Questions: Prepare answers for common interview questions and think of questions to ask the interviewer.

Practical Preparation Know the interview's location, time, and the route you'll take. If it's online, test your equipment beforehand.

  • What to Bring:

    • Pen and notebook

    • CV and interview invitation

    • Academic certificates and work examples if requested

    • Photo ID

    • Breath mints or gum

    • A bottle of water

    • Transport and food money

  • For Online Interviews:

    • Laptop/computer

    • Headset/earphones

    • Microphone

    • Login details for the required software

Dressing for Success The appropriate dress code varies based on company size, industry, and culture. If unsure, dress more formally. Ensure your attire is neat and shoes are clean.

  • For Online Interviews: Dress as if it were an in-person meeting.

Making a Positive Impression Consider these tips to present yourself favorably:

  • Punctuality: Arrive early to reduce stress and make a good impression.

  • Positivity and Enthusiasm: Remain polite and professional, and avoid negative comments.

  • Body Language: Offer a firm handshake, sit upright, smile, and maintain eye contact.

  • Clarity: Respond to questions clearly, ask for clarification if needed, and speak at a moderate pace.

Post-Interview At the interview's end, inquire about the decision timeline and thank the interviewer. Reflect on your performance and seek feedback if possible.

Potential Outcomes:

  • Success: Evaluate the job offer carefully before accepting.

  • Rejection: Stay positive, thank the company, and seek feedback for improvement.

  • Further Steps: If no decision is made, you might be called for a second interview.