A well-prepared interview is a well-delivered interview
There they are; the gruff, imposing interviewer sitting behind the immense walnut desk, a triangular wooden plaque stating their name and lofty title.
And there you are, the trembling interviewee fidgeting and peering about as the interviewer tepees their fingers and regards you disdainfully over nose-tip spectacles.
Well, that’s the Harry Potter version, but even if most interviews aren’t as foreboding, they’re still stressful if you turn up underprepared. To maximise your chances of a confident, convincing interview, preparation is key. What you do before the interview will determine how you perform once you’re there.
Stalk the company
And that doesn’t mean standing across the road in a hockey mask 24/7; it means research and impressing them with your understanding of their business. Most job applicants do nothing more than present a generic, one size fits all appraisal of their worth. It’s off the rack and most interviewers are looking for something more tailored. Show them how and why you measure up with direct reference to their business needs. Research them like a contestant on Mastermind. Who knows what they might ask, and the more you know about them, the more they’ll believe in you.
Describe yourself to that job
Talk to that job and ask it if you have a serious chance. Match your skills against the skills required. Match your personality against that of the company. Analyse your suitability from all angles and be completely honest with yourself. If it all stacks up and you’re suitably credentialed to win the day, rewrite your resume specific to their needs and attack the next phase with confidence.
Go back to Harry Potter
And that means acting out your job interview with a friend or family member. Equip them with the toughest questions and arm yourself with the best answers based on your research. Practice proper interview etiquette – firm handshakes, relaxed body language and eye contact. Improvise and make it fun. Show your true personality. And remember, interviewers are human and can be as anxious as you are. They want to employ you, so be yourself in your interview rehearsals and carry that same personality into the meeting.
Dress to kill
Or preferably to stun. As the cliché goes, first impressions do count and what you wear is your first major statement to that company. If you can find their dress code, try to dress accordingly. While a business suit is appropriate for most interviews, some companies are deliberately casual. Chances are you’ll feel a little uncomfortable turning up in a fifteen piece suit if everyone else is in jeans.
Plan how to get there
Being late for a job interview is an absolute deal breaker. So plan your journey like an Everest expedition. If you’re driving, find out where you’re going to park. If you’re taking public transport, check timetables and walking distances. Ideally, plan to be there unfashionably early and have a relaxing (non-caffeine) drink nearby. If it’s a hot day, you’ll have a chance to cool down before you walk in the door.
A well-prepared interview is a well-delivered interview. Do the groundwork, lay the foundations and you’re set up for a rock solid, self-assured interview.