No matter what your experience level is, it's always important to prepare for an interview.
Research And Collate
The cornerstone of your preparation is thorough research on the organisation that you have applied to. Do you have a comprehensive knowledge of what they do and insight on how they operate? A lot of essential information is usually in the public domain and is easily accessible. You also need to know who is interviewing you, their job title and ideally where they fit into the organization. There is no shame in asking this before you go, and generally the interview coordinator will be happy to oblige but your first port of call should be internet research. Another obvious pitfall is forgetting what your application consisted of; so ensure that you re-read your resume or CV and application letter or form. Nothing is more embarrassing than a candidate who is flummoxed by a question about their own work history.
Related: How To Prepare For A Job Interview
Company, PR And News On The Internet
It would really impress an interviewer if you also research what the company is currently doing but be careful to be as relevant as possible. You can use the internet to search for stories in the news that have been significant to the company in question for example they might have just undergone a merger with another company. That being the case I'd want to know how that merger would affect me and if they envisage any changes in the long run. Some companies often showcase PR stories on their websites and such information - especially if related to an award or significant project -could potentially be great topics of conversation during your interview and provide opportunities to ask relevant questions. It's also a great opportunity to demonstrate your interests in the company and that you're aware of significant developments in the industry.
Culture And Corporate Dress
Have a look on the company's social media channels especially if they have visual properties like Youtube or picture sharing channels. I've always found this to be useful to understand the culture of the organisation i.e. the sorts of clothes employees wear, the type of environment you are likely to be working in and the general atmosphere and tone of voice the workers use. Pictures on their website, and videos you've watched can give massive clues as to what you should wear during your interview but double check with the interview coordinator, just to be certain.
Review The Job
Remember that it is really important to review the job description and person specification before you go to your interview so that you can remind yourself of what is expected of you. And so you can present examples of your transferable skills. I recommend that you prioritise your answers and conversations around the skills and attributes required for the job.
I can't stress how important it is that you know the job description inside out and go a step further by looking at the profiles of people within the company who work in similar roles. That way, you can get a feel as to what they do on a day-to-day basis and how that might relate to work that you might do, should you get the job. This is particularly important if you are going for a job that involves teamwork because you will then have insight to ask questions based on how your potential role fits into the wider team and relationships that you would have with your co-workers.
If you're going for an interview within a client focused niche industry which is highly competitive then you should do some background research on competitors to impress your potential manager. For example, you might find an article that compares companies within your niche based on awards they won, in which case you can refer to the data and comment how you might enhance their standing. Again you'll be demonstrating your depth of research, understanding of the industry and desire to excel and work for that particular company.
Practice Positive Expressions And Body Language In The Mirror
Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and had to do a double take because you don't feel you look quite like what you expected? I know I have.
There are times when I look at myself and think 'Alex, you could really do with a shave' or my posture is not quite right and my shoulders are hunched and I'm generally not standing up straight. From a personal point of view, I don't naturally stand up straight and sometimes find myself telling myself to literally puff my chest out.
But even if you don't have the same habit as me it is a good idea to look at yourself in a full-length mirror, put your shoulders back, puff out your chest and stand up straight to visualise how it looks and feels. Try putting a smile on your face as well and attempt to retain in your mind the positive sensation and image. As I said, this might not come naturally to you so practice (without overdoing it) until it almost becomes second nature. Whatever you do don't smile too much at your interviewer but just try to build it in so it looks like a natural part of your body language.
The reason I say this is because I've interviewed people who exude negativity or just look like they've had a bad day and I can tell you, it's not appealing. There may be times when you have not had a good day but you will need to try your best to look as positive as possible. In my experience, hardly anyone relishes working with someone who seems negative or lacks confidence so you're not likely to make it past the first interview stage. Another note of caution if you leave a recruiter with a negative first impression, they are highly unlikely to want to send your details to their clients.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert.