Across many aspects of our lives, preparation is vitally important. Whether you are studying for an exam, training for a football match or analysing a map of the city, if you have taken the time to prepare beforehand, you have a much greater chance of success when it comes down to business.
This mantra is the same for job interviews. While they can be stressful, interviews are an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and knowledge to a prospective employer. To do this right, an element of preparation is required.
With this in mind, how should you prepare for your job interview?
1) Know your C.V.
A resume is supposed to be a living document – something that you continue to edit and add to as your career progresses. However, since it is possible to go a while without needing a resume, it is easy to forget some of the finer details included within.
It's often surprising how many people don't know the exact facts, dates and descriptions of where they worked at a particular moment of their life. During an interview, a recruiter is likely to ask questions around previous employment – so ensure that you know this information and it is updated completely.
This also highlights the need to indicate and address any gaps in your C.V. It is best to be honest about times of unemployment, holidays and other events that meant you weren't working at the time.
2) Know your potential employer
In modern society, recruiters are looking for candidates who can add to company culture through their attitude, not just skill sets. This said, you won't be the only one trying to leverage this angle – so you need to be clever in your knowledge about your potential employer to stand out from the crowd.
Take a look at YouTube videos, online reviews and company newsletters that showcases this culture and some of the attributes that the recruiters will be looking for.
3) Understand different types of interview styles and structure
Ask the recruiter or employer what form the interview will take and how many people will be present.
Not every job interview is the same, and this can impact the way that you prepare for the meeting. To ensure you are focusing on the right areas, ask the recruiter or employer what form the interview will take and how many people will be present.
For example, in an event management job interview, there could be a recruiter, various managers and someone from senior management. If you know their names, roles and responsibilities before the job interview, you can potentially tailor your answers to certain questions differently.
Of course, it's always good to know these things and be as prepared as possible for a job interview.
4) Practice makes perfect
As mentioned above, job interviews can be stressful. In order to give yourself the best chance of success, it often pays to practice answering various questions and recording yourself to address physical strengthens and weaknesses.
- Physical behaviour
Whether you notice your small hand gestures, hair flicking or sitting position, by knowing beforehand you can make a conscious effort to eliminate these ticks from your behaviour.
It's easy to use smartphones to record practice interviews and then prepare for the real deal.
- Interview questions
Don't bad mouth current or previous employers, regardless of the circumstances.
The other side of this point is around answering questions such as 'what are your weaknesses?" This is one of the most common questions and an example that can stump some candidates. In this case, rather than simply stating the obvious such as 'I'm a workaholic', be realistic and draw on a specific example – 'I tend have a hard time saying no, take on a lot of work,etc'.
It is also important to be able to explain how you are working to improve it – acknowledgement is a good trait to showcase.
Another interview question which you could face is around why you are leaving your current job. While it will not put off potential employers, it's vital to get your story straight as to why you are looking to leave – either dissatisfaction or wanting further career expectation.
Of course, don't bad mouth current or previous employers, regardless of the circumstances. This could put you in a bad light even if the issues wasn't yours.
- Behavioural questions
During an interview, you will also likely to be asked to describe actions and behaviours that you have displayed in the workplace. Questions such as tell me about a time where you took initiative/what did you do/tell me about a time you dealt with an angry customer, fit this category.
Planning examples that showcase your ability to handle situations can really help your application and the more effort you put into this, the better. To do this, adopt the STAR technique (situation, task, action and result).
This helps to provide the clear context and details that potential employers want to hear and can avoid poor one-word answers.
If you wish to learn more about preparing for a job interview, get in touch with the expert team at Kenvale College today.