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  • Sandra Laws - Career Coach

Interview Preparation 101: Essential Tips and Strategies

Preparing for a job interview can be stressful. If you are not quite sure how to prepare for a job interview, you have come to the right place! Don't worry, you are not alone. Job interviews can be challenging, but with the right preparation, you can feel confident and ready to impress the interview panel. Here are some essential job interview tips to help to prepare and be successful.


PLAN YOUR TRAVEL ROUTE TO THE INTERVIEW

Planning your route to the interview location will save time and stress. Check the location of the interview and arrange a practice run to the interview address so that you know exactly where the employer’s offices are located. Google maps are useful in helping you to identify accurate directions quickly. If you plan to be travel by public transport, check the bus or train schedules to allow ample time for unexpected traffic delays.


RESEARCH THE EMPLOYER

It is essential that you do your research on the employer. Visit the employer’s website, social media pages and any press releases to understand the employer’s priorities and strategy.


Find out who the employer’s competitors are and where they stand compared in the sector. Secondly, identify what problems you can solve for the employer. This data will help you tailor your answers to a specific company and demonstrate how you are a perfect fit for the role.


I have created a Free PDF Interview Checklist and Templates download that will eliminate all the stress when you research the employer:


DRESS PROFESSIONALLY FOR THE INTERVIEW

It is not always easy for interview candidates to select an interview outfit as it all depends on the norms and culture of the organisation. Your first step is to research the organisation to find out whether the dress code is formal or smart casual. You can ring the HR department. In my recruitment roles, I often received calls from candidates enquiring about the dress code for the interview. It is also worth looking at staff profiles on the company website in to get an idea of how the employees dress in that work environment.


Your interview outfit is a key part of selling your image to a prospective employer. A conservative outfit is a safer option than a trendy, flashy one. Your aim should not be to promote your interview outfit; selling your skills should be your key focus.


Pay attention to your personal grooming to project a smart professional image. Ensure you hair is styled and cut. Check to make sure your fingernails are clean and trimmed. If wearing nail polish, wear a neutral colour. Check your interview outfit has been washed. As an interviewer, I have seen candidates to turn up for interviews wearing stained and wrinkled clothing.


PREPARE ANSWERS FOR COMMON QUESTIONS

There are some questions that are commonly asked in job interviews, such as "Why have you applied for this position?" or "What are your strengths?"


The job description and person specification are the starting points to draft answers for your mock interview. The job description summarises the context of the role and main responsibilities whilst the person specification is primarily focused on the selection criteria: the skills and abilities, relevant experience, specialist knowledge, education and training.


Begin by reviewing the personal specification and drafting your own example questions and answers. You can practice your answers by recording your answers into the voice recorder on your phone. You can ask a relative or friend to help you by asking you the example questions and giving you some honest feedback. I have created an audio competency interview questions kit where I walk you through a 30-minute competency questions interview practice session.

PREPARE QUESTIONS TO ASK THE INTERVIEWER

It is important to ask questions in a job interview to find out if this job is a right fit for you and whether the organisation is one where you would like to work in. The interview process is a two-way exchange - it is a selling and buying opportunity. I have listed below some typical questions that you could ask the interviewer:


  • How has the vacancy come about?

  • Could you tell me about typical day to day duties for this role?

  • Tell me about the priorities for the first six months for this role?

  • How long has team worked together?


By following these five essential interview preparation tips, you be fully prepared, confident and increase your chances of landing more job offers. Your preparation will also demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the position. It can also help you to prepare tailored questions to ask during the interview, which will impress the interview panel Good luck in your next job interview!


I hope you received value from today's article. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or feedback, don't hesitate to reach out to me at sandra@purpletransitionspersonalgrowth.co.uk.


If you have a job interview coming up, you can book a free 30-minute consultation,


You will find information, support, tips, and guidance to nail the job interview in this podcast: Jump Start Your Career.


Sign up for my newsletter and download a FREE PDF Interview Checklist and Template on this link.


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