If you want to succeed - Prepare!
Job hunting is not a desirable activity. It involves a fair amount of rejection, far too much form filling and an exceptional amount of parental pressure. And often even just getting an interview feels like an accomplishment.
So, out of the hundreds of applications, a company felt your resume and experience complimented their outfit. Rejoice! However beware, this is where the hard work really begins. Because to succeed at an interview there is precisely one activity you must do – prepare.
We are the generation who reclaimed the word stalk, by adding in Facebook and making it socially acceptable to take a virtual tour of someone’s past and present. We know how to harness the internet as a tool for power, so put that talent to use and research your company. Find out their aims and objectives, history and services offered. Dig deep and look not only at their website, but also at relevant News Articles as well as LinkedIn profiles. Armed with enough information you can prove yourself to be a valuable asset to any company.
A job description comes with some incredibly powerful information that can aid in your preparation for a job interview. Most will have key competencies or skills required. Make a list of examples or ways in which you can prove your experience matches the needs of the company. And remember there is no law against taking notes or a notepad to an interview – all recruiters want to see a proactive, determined candidate.
There are certain questions that will be asked at any interview and practicing these in front of a mirror could well prove to be an exceptionally useful exercise.
This is often the first question and is asked to put you at ease, it should be a concise overview of your recent history. Certainly, it can include a hobby or passion (recruiters want to see a well-rounded individual), but should focus on education and work experience. By practicing this answer you should avoid any awkward gabbling about your family problems or pet peeves.
The answer to this should never be that you don’t have a weakness. We are all human and even Superman has his kryptonite. Instead it should be a tale in how you overcame your weakness. For example, I used to be a nervous public speaker, but have been taking classes and practicing at my local community centre.
This can be asked in any number of guises, but is really used to gauge if you’re applying to this job out of love or obligation. Ensure you tailor your answer to the job and company you are interviewing with – discussing your career trajectory and making sure that it moulds to the company.
You can never be too early to an interview, and whilst we wouldn’t recommend camping at reception for 24 hours, there is no shame in sitting at the coffee shop next door for an hour. Delayed trains, bad traffic and poor navigational skills will make you stressed and nervous, two emotions that will not endear you to prospective employees. And, of course, dress appropriately – suit and a tie for the City and a shirt with smart trousers for Shoreditch.