Preparing for an interview is always a nerve-racking thing to do and can usually make people more anxious than the interview itself. Getting an interview is a great achievement, it shows that on paper you stood out to the employer and an interview is an opportunity for the employer to learn more about you, and for you to learn more about the job way.
We’ve put together some tips to help you prepare and get you ready for your interview.
Get to Know the Employer
Carry out some research about the company in general. Facts such as how long they have been operating for and what products/services they offer can easily be found on their company website. Along with that, you should also familiarise yourself with the company’s mission statement and pick out any specific values or ethics which resonate with you – take note of these and why you share the same values. Take some time to research competitors and how the company stands out from them.
Find any good news stories from reliable sources that may mention the company, these will often be something the company is very proud of and will show you are interested in learning more when mentioned in your interview. Don’t make uninformed assumptions based on unreliable information on the internet.
Plan Your journey
Don’t leave the house last minute with no time to spare. Double-check the address of the interview. Bear in mind that the interview will not always necessarily take place in the company’s main headquarters. Plan to arrive 15-20 minutes before the interview. This way, you definitely won’t be late. Set aside extra travelling time in case of traffic or other disruptions.
Ensure your phone is fully charged for the journey in case you need to double-check directions or get in touch with the interviewer.
Decide how you plan to travel to the interview and figure out how long it will take you. Smartphones are likely to have a map app installed, but apps like Google Maps or Citymapper can help you with this.
Keep Calm and Rested
Make sure to get a good sleep the night before the interview and that you have prepared well in advance to reduce any anxiety. If the interview is in the morning, get up early and make time to eat breakfast and have a drink before you go.
Practice some simple breathing techniques to use in case you get nervous. Apps such a Calm or Headspace have free resources you may benefit from. Remember that you are already good enough for the job on paper. The interview is just a chance for you to prove your knowledge and show off your personality.
Focus on Your Appearance
Prepare your outfit the night before, making sure that it is cleaned and ironed, this will save you time and any last-minute stress over what to wear. Dress smartly and professionally, unless the interviewer has asked for any other style of attire. Take a shower and practice good hygiene before your interview. Skip heavy doses of cologne and perfume, and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke before a job interview. Remember that if you’re not comfortable and confident with how you feel and what you are wearing, you will struggle to focus on the interview itself.
Plan What to Bring
Check your interview confirmation to see if the interviewer has asked you to bring anything along and prepare any specific requests.
If not, it’s still handy to bring the following:
- A copy of your CV in case the interviewer has forgotten or misplaced it.
- A recognised form of ID. Your passport or driving licence will do.
- Any awards, certificates or examples of your previous work that are relevant to the role you are interviewing for.
- Put together some ideas which you could implement if you did get the job.
- Pack a bottle of water, a snack, breath mints, a pen and a notepad
Prepare Your Questions
Here are a list of typical questions you may be asked in an interview, preparing the answers to this will prevent any awkward exchanges and make sure that you’re confident in your answers –
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What do you know about the company?
- What skills do you have that will make you a good (job title)?
- What will you bring to the workplace?
- Where do you see yourself in the future?
- What relevant experience do you have? (Think of life, work and hobbies)
- What are your future salary expectations? (We know this can be awkward, so we recommend you check out the National Careers Service website and figure out the average salary for this role.)
An interview is not just about you proving to the employer that you are perfect for the job, but for you to find out if the job is perfect for you. Interviewers tend to put aside some time at the end of an interview to allow you to ask questions. To stop you from hesitating and feel pressure on the spot, we advise you to prepare a set of questions before you go in. If you are stuck, take a look at the following advice.
These questions are good because they show that you are eager and willing to find out more about the role itself. These questions will also help you clarify what to expect and what is expected of you.
- Are there any opportunities for further training or progression?
- Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?
- What are the biggest challenges in this industry/sector right now?
- What targets do you expect new employees to meet in their first few weeks/months?
- What are the next stages of the interview process?
Not so good questions:
These questions aren’t all bad, and you will certainly want them answered at some point.
However, asking these at an interview suggests that you haven’t done your research, or that you are more interested in the job benefits than the role itself
- What does this company/organisation do?
- How old is the company?
- What is the holiday and/or flexitime policy for staff?
- What other benefits are there available for employees of the company?
- What will I be doing if I get the job?
- How much will I get paid?
From following the above advice, you should be prepared and ready for your interview! Here’s a checklist that you can use to ensure you’ve done everything you need.
- Research the employer
- Decide on a suitable outfit
- Practice good hygiene
- Plan your journey
- Plan for travel/parking costs
- Prepare your documents
- Prepare some questions for the interviewer
- Practice answering questions
- Make sure your phone is fully charged
- Ensure you have plenty of time for food before the interview
- Have a good rest
All of our pre-employment training programmes have interview preparation embedded into the delivery, so you will receive dedicated support from the beginning of the training to interviewing, as part of the programme you will achieve at least one qualification to add to your CV, receive support enhancing your CV as well as applying and arranging interviews.
You offer a wide range of training throughout the UK, specialising in Warehousing & Logistics, Construction, Digital, Customer Service and Healthcare. You can see a full list of our upcoming courses here.