There are various vital things you need to prepare before you go for an interview. Keep in mind The Alignment Model – this will be useful not only in focusing your mind on your own personal strengths and weaknesses but also matching the employer’s needs.
Try to think about it from the employer’s point of view. What are the strong and the weaker points of your application? What areas might need clarification? What are they likely to ask? Everything you put on your application is fair game for an interview question, so be prepared to expand on any of the information you have given.
The interview process starts long before your actual meeting with the interviewer. It is extremely important that you gather as much data as possible before your interview. Your research will also help you to uncover areas that may be of interest or concern to you that you may wish to address during your interview.
Research the job
Re-read the job description, job specification and advert. Talk to people doing the same type of job. Try to get supporting information if possible, such as organisational values, departmental objectives etc. List the skills and qualities needed and think about the evidence you can draw from your experience to demonstrate that you have them.
Research the organisation
Find out as much as you can about the employer by networking, looking it up in Kompass at your local library or using the internet. If appropriate to your role, get the annual report, read it and be able to comment/answer questions. If there is a company video, watch it. If there is a website, check it out for information. If there is any sales promotion literature, make sure you read it. Companies often have mission/vision statements or key principles – find out what they are. Keep your eyes on the news for any stories about the organisation or the sector. Make a note of the facts and try to form opinions.
Some organisations hold presentations, which are a useful source of information. These events can also be an opportunity to meet some of the people whom you might be working with if you are successful. When you have gathered your information, look at what it tells you about the likely needs of the organisation.
Research the details of the interview
Check the time of the interview, the date, the location (it may not be at the employer’s offices) and the name and job title of the interviewer. Make sure you know how to get there and how long it will take, taking into consideration different times of the day and traffic conditions etc. Take the letter inviting you to your interview along with you. Have their phone number available in case anything goes wrong. Find out about the format of the interview:
- Will you be given a tour of the company?
- Will you have to sit any tests?
It is perfectly acceptable to ring up and ask for this information if they have not sent it to you.
Think of the questions you are likely to be asked and your answers to them. Think of the things that you would like to ask. Dress appropriately for the interview. Smart business dress is the general rule, unless your research has shown you that the dress code is different in the organisation or department you are approaching. You can ‘dress down’ a formal outfit, but have little hope of ‘dressing up’ an outfit that is too casual.
If you feel comfortable in it, and it is appropriately smart, it will increase your self-confidence.