Tips on How to Prepare for an Interview


Stepping out of our comfort zone and heading to a job interview can be a daunting experience for many and can make us feel a little rusty! Nervousness and lack of preparation can impede how we perform during an interview, being well prepared makes all the difference, here are some tips.

1- Dress to Impress

Whether we like it or not, image is everything. It takes 0.1 seconds to form a first impression of someone so make yours count! Dressing appropriately for an interview is largely dependent on the company’s culture, if you know someone on the inside it is good to ask. Some companies have a more conservative dress code, whereas others are more relaxed. Do your best to mirror the culture. There are of course major no-no’s, such as flip-flops, beach wear and overly revealing clothing – no culture is that relaxed! Take pride in your appearance, be clean and neat, shine your shoes, check for loose hems, food in your teeth, unkempt hair and nails, these may seem like little things, but they are noticed! Don’t smoke before an interview and go to the bathroom beforehand!

2- Understand the company and the role

Not understanding the organization and role you are being interviewed for is an automatic fail. Why are you there in the first place? Researching the organization is core in your ability to appeal to them as a future employee. Information is at our fingertips, knowledge on their mission, vision, values, offering, size, scope, turnover, people policies, future, financials etc. equip you with edge. Read the job description thoroughly and draw examples on your past experiences which are of added value to the role! Don’t forget about the numbers! We are in a data driven era, note down some numbers, percentages, increases, budgets etc. you can use when talking about your responsibilities and accomplishments this will convey that you are a match for the job.

3- Know your Audience

Before your interview, understand who you are meeting with. You can research their profiles and understand their backgrounds. It is a good idea to prepare specific questions for each interviewer, asking about their role in the organization, their expectations and you can ask subtle questions which strike their interest. If you came across a recent certification they’ve completed, you might ask their advice on it etc. Creating a personal connection during an interview strengthens personability but be careful not to come across as a stalker!

4- Preparing your profile

It is a good practice to update your CV on a quarterly basis. A lot of us tend to get caught up in our busy schedules but by spending a couple of hours each quarter updating our CV’s and reflecting on our achievements, you will notice how far you’ve come! Print a couple of copies of your CV to take along with you, you never know who you might meet. Also, upgrade your CV format if it is outdated, because again this is directly related to your image. Discard the archaic templates and customize a CV that showcases who you are!

5- Practice your pitch!

Think about how you will greet the interviewer, a confident handshake, smile and eye contact are very powerful. A lot of interviewers ask you to “introduce yourself” practice this beforehand with a friend because you want to nail this question! Think carefully about the knowledge, skills and achievements that you wish to share without over embellishing and can back up with references.

6- Answering interview Questions

Google has a wealth of interview questions you can research, and you should! Prepare yourself by jotting down some notes so that you don’t forget major milestones, such as significant projects you’ve worked on, difficult people or situations you have worked with and managed, success stories, disappointments you’ve learned from etc. Nobody is perfect, showing that you’ve made mistakes and grown is an indication of maturity and self-awareness. Always prepare well for the cliché strength and weakness questions, you do not want to sound like an internet generated answer.

7- Types of Interviews

It is worth asking what kind of interview process the company follows. You do not want to show up and be told that you have an assessment center to attend and be caught off guard.

8- Directions and Punctuality

If the address is not familiar to you, it is not a bad idea to do a practice run or print out directions. It is best practice to arrive 10-15 minutes early to your interview. It calms the nerves, allows you sometime in the waiting area to gather your thoughts and ensures you are on time. If an unforeseen circumstance arises, such as the bus or rail schedule is interrupted, make sure you have a contact name and number you can reach out to inform them of a delay or a reschedule.

9- Brush up on body language and posture

A large part of communication is through our mannerisms and stance, make sure you are portraying positivity. Think about your movements beforehand, slouching in a chair and crossed arms portray defensiveness or that you are closed-off, also tone of voice in important, not too high or too low.

10- Closing the interview

The interviewer will ask if you have any questions, saying no shows a lack of curiosity. Surely there is something you’d like to know about the company or opportunity that was not covered. If everything has been covered, then ask about the recruitment process and what’s next.

These are some basic tips to help prepare you for your next great career step. Oh, and get a goodnight’s sleep, there is nothing like sleep deprivation to throw you off your game! Wishing you the best of luck!

Lama Makkouk – Business Manager
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