‘Fail to prepare – prepare to fail’ is a well known motto which applies to most things – especially job interviews. You cannot hope to do your best if you do nothing before the interview and just turn up hoping to tackle their difficult questions.
The more you plan and prepare for the most common job interview questions, the more likely you are to come across as confident and passionate about the role. There are also things you should bring with you to a job interview to make a great impression, and we are not just talking about a firm handshake and a winning smile.
Here are 3 things to take to a job interview.
Knowledge of the company
The first thing you should do before you step foot into the interview room is find out as much as you can about the company. You need to know how they function, who their customers are, what product or service they offer, and so on. But it isn’t just the basics of the company that you should scratch up on, and the deeper you go into the company’s strategy and vision for the future, the more you will impress.
Let’s say for example that you were applying for a marketing or advertising role. We would highly recommend finding out what the company is currently doing in that sector – what advertising campaigns they are currently running, how successful they were, and so on. This will also help you generate ideas in advance that you could propose during the interview and really impress the employer.
The more research you do into the company the more passionate and dedicated you’ll come across. Your efforts and knowledge won’t go unnoticed and it should easily elevate you above the other candidates who fail to take the time and effort you have to take a real interest in the company.
For further help here’s how to answer the question – Where do you start when researching for an interview?
Always print out a few copies of your CV to take to the interview. There are three reasons why this will benefit you. Firstly, it will allow you the chance to swot up on your own credentials before you enter the interview, and ensure you can answer questions without having to refer to it. If you hesitate to answer questions on your own skills and career, you could potentially leave the employer considering you’ve maybe told a few lies.
Secondly, you can get ahead of anything you are lacking that the employer could focus upon. It could be a particular skill or a lack of experience that would be desirable, and you need to confidently provide other transferable skills and put their mind at ease over your abilities and suitability for the role.
Lastly, the employer may have forgotten to bring your CV into the interview or could have misplaced it. If you are able to quickly whip out a spare copy and hand it too them it will make a fantastic positive impression. It shows initiative and forward thinking, and would make a great start to the interview.
Notepad and pen
A job interview is all about impressing the employer with your knowledge of the industry and their company, and your current skills, qualifications and experience that will relate to the role and prove to them you can be an important part of their business. You also have to impress them with your passion and enthusiasm for the role, and to be a part of their success.
One of the best ways you can do this is by taking in a notepad and pen. It seems like such a small thing, but it can really go a long way to showing how enthusiastic you are to join their company. Take notes on the most important aspects of the interview, but be careful not to take too many notes and spoil the flow of the interview.
Have your own interview questions prepared and written down so you don’t forget them, and ask them when the time feels right. The manager will often ask you at the end of the interview if you have any questions, so this would be a great time to cover anything you’ve written down that hasn’t been discussed. However, we would also recommend asking questions as you go along. But be careful not to again disrupt the flow of the interview and make it feel like you’ve taken over.
Asking your own questions in an interview and taking notes as you go along is an effective method of demonstrating how interested you are in the role and the company. So use these tools wisely and impress any employer at your next interview!
Bonus tip – Practice makes perfect, which is why you should use that mantra before your next job interview. Contact a friend or former colleague and ask them to help stage a mock job interview. You can then put your interview skills to the test and build your confidence before the real thing.