So if you’ve been following me on Instagram recently you’ll have seen that I’ve been going for lots of interviews in pursuit of building a new career after taking a step out of teaching. Here’s my 12 tips to help you prepare effectively for an interview:
As soon as September 1st hit I started job hunting. I managed to land myself with 4 interviews in my second week of job hunting. Most were from making applications online however some were from networking on LinkedIn. If you’re looking for a new job and you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, I strongly suggest setting one up and connecting with relevant professionals in your chosen industry.
Here’s the process I used each time to prepare for my interviews and so I could go into them feeling confident and reduce that ‘interview anxiety’:
- Afternoons are better: If I was given a choice in my interview time, I always went for an afternoon appointment, this is for a few reasons. It means you can get yourself in the zone and prepare effectively in the morning. You can also give yourself enough time to get there a little early. Also your employer will usually be very busy in the mornings, answering emails, dealing with important matters and they are more likely to feel relaxed and give you more time in the afternoon.
- Wake up early: Treat it like a 9-5 job already and get up early. Be at your laptop with a coffee as early as you can.
- Plan your day: First work out how you’ll get to the interview and how long it will take and then plan your day around it. Make sure you eat something, no matter how nervous you are it’s never good to have a rumbling stomach in an interview.
- Read the job description: Before you dive in to researching the company. Read over the initial job description that attracted you. Look at the skills they require and make a few notes on your experiences that match those skills.
- Visit the company website: Go check out their website, try to understand the organisation’s culture, ethos and purpose. ‘About’ pages are a god-send and a great starting point but go a little further, check out their upcoming events, customer recommendations and all their services. If you can, jot down a few key facts and figures that will help you answer the ‘What do you know about us?’ question. It also may help to consider other positions they may be recruiting for as it will give you an insight as to how the company is growing and/or their staff turnover.
- Visit the company’s social media pages: If you’re anything like me you can hunt someone down in seconds on social media and know their whole life story. Do this with the organisation you are interviewing for, know the projects that they are currently working on and find out a more intimate or personal side to them.
- Connect with other employees at the business: If your company has a LinkedIn page it may also list people who work at the company. Check out their pages and their job history. It may help to know what kinds of jobs and degrees your peers have come from and how long they have been working at the company. If you feel it is appropriate, and your LinkedIn is up to date, you may want to connect with them. Remember: someone can see if you’ve been looking at their profile so always bear that in mind.
- Re-read the job description: Consider what role you will play in the wider company and have that fresh in your mind.
- Write some questions you may like to ask: A few generic questions could be; Why has the position become available? What kind of daily routine/main responsibilities can I expect with this position? Has there been anyone in this role that has progressed further within the company?
- Dress appropriately: An obvious one, always dress smart and presentable but remember your audience, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.
- Turn up early: 1 hour is too much but 15-10 minutes before your agreed appointment gives a great impression. Grab a coffee and relax yourself in a cafe if you need to kill time.
- Believe in yourself: The company has clearly seen something in you. Yes, you. Live up to your application and go show them why you’d be a great addition to their team. Finally, remember to smile!
Oh, and here’s my fave interview outfit: