Remember – you cannot over prepare for an interview, and the more you prepare, the more likely it is you will get the job! So if you want to improve your chance of getting the job, follow these career coaching tips and interview preparation advice…
“Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.” Seneca
Once you have an interview scheduled, sit down and create a plan. Allocate time to tasks, and schedule them in your calendar. Don’t leave anything to the day of the interview that can be done earlier.
Using our experience in interview training, interview coaching, and career coaching, we’ve compiled this guide for job seekers. Give yourself an edge using proven approaches and powerful resources.
Do Your Homework
Research improves your credibility and lets you ask fantastic questions. It demonstrates enthusiasm and motivation; the better you sum up the project/company and purpose of the role, the better you look.
Interview Preparation: Company Research
Study these areas and use your knowledge to ask killer questions and make intelligent observations. Write notes or use other techniques to commit key information to memory.
− What does the company do? Use company/industry websites and Google. You should be able to describe all their products and services.
− Who are they? When was the company formed, what’s the size (revenues/employees/customers), the locations, do they own (or are owned by) other enterprises? Any insights into the culture?
− Who is going to be at the meeting? Stalk them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Look for mutual contacts and see what you can find out.
− What news have they released? Check their site and search the net.
− Who are their competitors? Show how well you know the industry.
Interview Preparation: Role Research
Use the job description/advertisement (and any other sources) to make a list of areas to examine. Handling weaknesses is crucial – identify what they are (more on this below).
− What is the project? Put together everything you know or can find out.
− Any technologies, methodologies, systems, or processes that you aren’t familiar with?
− Skills, qualifications or experience – what are you missing?
Prepare The Best Answers
Most of your effort will be spent crafting and practicing awesome answers for questions you anticipate. Always remember that the company has a business problem; try and understand what problem they are looking to solve, and frame your answers in this context.
Through our experience in career coaching and interview training, we’ve compiled some excellent resources for answer preparation.
The Most Useful Tool For Answering Questions In Interviews… Ever
Impress interviewers using the STAR framework – creating an arsenal of ‘War Stories’ which you can tailor to almost any question. To get prepared review our post on ‘Behavioural Interviewing & The STAR Framework’. Practice delivering these stories in under two minutes.
Have The Best Questions
Nothing creates a better impression than intelligent thoughtful questions. Have a host of them ready. Our post on The 10 Best Questions to Ask Interviewers will give you some inspiration. Use your company research to generate insightful queries.
Be Ready To Handle Weaknesses
If you don’t match the “mandatory” requirements but are asked for an interview, there is obviously a reason for this. Employers will often be flexible for the right culture fit and an astute employer will hire for the company first and the role second.
Prepare thoughtful and confident explanations that address any perceived gaps.
− Compile solid examples of when you have taken on a new role and learnt on-the-fly. Use the STAR framework to succinctly describe how you personally took action to learn a new skill/system/technology quickly.
− For education and certifications, research exactly what skills are obtained. Describe applicable skills learnt on-the-job and describe how you would address any perceived gaps.
Brush Up On The Basics
When creating your plan, don’t forget the basics, these can trip you up and create unnecessary stress. Even if you’re a seasoned job seeker, it doesn’t hurt to recap the basics – you just might learn something! Organise all the little things like dry-cleaning, haircuts, time off work and transport – enjoy the peace of mind and concentrate on the hard stuff.
Practice Positive Body Language
Non-verbal communication is so important – never underestimate how this impacts how people engage with you. This post has some great tips for body language and includes some common mistakes. Practice makes perfect – find a friend that is a great communicator and do some role-play. Interview training and coaching is gold for people who struggle with body language practices – a fresh perspective to identify improvements is essential.
There is an art to interviewing. Luckily it can be learnt through observation, technique and practice. Collect feedback from every interview and gain valuable insights into how you performed. Role playing and practising with a coach is incredibly powerful and can transform even the most nervous amongst us.
Effective planning for your interview allows more time for high-value activities like refining the delivery and content of rehearsed answers, mastering the STAR framework, creating brilliant questions to ask and observing best practices for non-verbal communication.