Like many other things in the world of employment, interviews can be unfamiliar and nerve wracking, especially if it is your first interview, or you haven’t had an interview for a while.
Over time I have developed a few strategies to help me prepare for interview and I would like to take time to share them with you, in the hope that it will make things less stressful for you, if you should be lucky enough to be invited to interview.
Step 1: Research, Research, Research.
It is absolutely paramount that you take time to research the company you are interviewing for. In the past I have known people be unsuccessful at interview as the employer did not feel they knew enough about the company. The employer wants to see how eager you are to work there and being “in the know” about the company and the job role will make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Step 2: STAR Format and skills scan
Ensuring you have suitable interview examples prepared is essential. The best way to do this is to print of the job description provided to you. Using a highlighter, pick out all of the skills mentioned by the employer.
For example, if the description says “must have a proven track record working towards deadlines”. I would prepare a suitable example, explaining a previous time I have worked towards deadlines and targets.
In order to prepare full and thorough examples, I use the STAR format. (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Take some time to research this format before hand and prepare examples around this.
Step 3: Prepare Questions to ask the employer.
During the interview process, a typical employer will hear questions such as “what is the salary” and “when will I find out if I have been successful” in about 90% of the interviews.
When the employer asks if you have any questions, this provides the ideal opportunity to cover anything you may have missed, but also to make you stand out from the crowd. TOP TIP ALERT! Give yourself chance to cover any thing you have missed. Use the opportunity to ask “is there anything else you would like me to go over which you feel I didn’t cover fully?”
I also use this part of the interview to ask the employer questions which will make them think about the interview process and their own career. I have prepared a few examples which I have used in the past
1) “You have made this seem like a great place to work, however if you could change one thing about your job, what would you change and why?”
2) “What do you find is the most challenging part of your job and why?”
3) What opportunities for progression do you offer to employees and what measurements are in place to support employees with progression?
Always remember to ask questions that are relevant to your circumstances. At interview, it is your opportunity to make sure the company is right for you also.
Step 4) - Feedback
Although it can be difficult being rejected for a role, it does provide an opportunity to request vital feedback. I always encourage people to request feedback from an employer as it gives us the opportunity to grow. We can learn from mistakes and correct them ready for our next interview scenario. Without this feedback you will move forward to the next interview using the same format and probably end up with the same result. Utilise the feedback and use it as a positive tool to help you improve.
It’s important to take rejections and learn from them. Some of the hardest working people in society with the highest salaries, at some point have face rejection. What is important is how we learn from it, take it forward and use it in our favour. Eventually your hard work and determination will pay off and have a positive outcome.