Now that you’ve made it to the interview stage it’s time to continue the work. You cannot sit back and relax until the day arrives, and you must make some preparations. Do not assume that your great credentials will breeze you into the job alone!
If you want to impress the employer and give a killer interview, here are the 3 things you must do before.
Research the role and the company
You must have an excellent understanding of how the company functions before you enter the interview. Conducting research should even be done before you write your CV, but if you haven’t there is still time.
Delve further into the industry to make sure you are well informed of the latest trends. Even if you are an expert in your particular field you should still keep up to date. You want your interview answers to remain fresh and knowledgeable.
Did you know that there are still people who enter interviews with little to no clue about what the company does? This lack of care and effort will show in the interview and make it clear that you are not truly interested in the job.
Although the salary and benefits may be appealing, you should always choose a job based on your interest and job satisfaction. The bills do of course need to be paid and that holiday in Spain won’t pay for itself, but you should never choose a career based solely on the salary – and this will show in the interview!
Here is what you should be looking for when conducting your pre-interview research:
- More about the role – could contact an employee of the company for further insight
- Read the job advert – tailor your answers to the job description
- More about the company – what their goals are, who their customers are, what product or service they sell
- Reviews – what are customers saying about the company, and is this something you can help with? (especially important for marketing and advertising careers)
- Can you find more about the company’s culture?
Your aim here is to take the interviewer by surprise and provide them with detailed and knowledgeable answers. They will be even more impressed if you don’t have a lot of relevant work experience. So take the initiative and research the company’s website, read articles and publications, and check out any social media pages.
Prepare your answers
Preparing answers is probably one of the single most important aspects of job interview preparation. If you were to only do this one thing you would instantly boost your chances of success. Of course, we would want you to do all three of our points, but this one is certainly very beneficial to your interview.
Now, you may be thinking that it’s impossible to predict what the employer will ask in the interview – and you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t plan in advance and prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions.
Here are a few questions you should expect to hear in the interview:
- Tell me a little about yourself
- Why should we hire you?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- What are your biggest weaknesses? (typically 3-5 answers are needed)
- How would your previous manager describe you?
- Give me an example of a difficult problem at work and how you solved it?
- What is your best achievement to date?
- What do you know about our company and the role?
There are lots more to consider, but most of these will be asked in some form or another. So prepare your answers in advance so you don’t get caught out and can ensure the interview goes smoothly.
Tip – don’t try and script your answer in your head or on paper. This will come across as robotic and won’t sound passionate and thoughtful. Instead, jot down on a notepad a few key words or phrases so you can build an answer around that during the interview.
You want your answers to sound natural and flow with ease. Practice before the interview so you have a clear idea of how you will phrase your answers. But remember to stay clear of trying to answer it with the exact same words each time.
Create a USP
Before you enter the interview you need to consider what your unique selling point is. What do you have to offer that nobody else has? You may be up against 5-7 other interviewees that are all as qualified as you – maybe even more so. This means you need to stand out from the crowd and offer the employer something different.
Your USP could be anything from work experience, outstanding achievements, hard and soft skills, or anything else that you feel no other candidate would be able to match. Search back through your career history and look over what you’ve achieved. You’d be surprised at how many things stand out that you’d never thought of before.
It’s important to tailor your USP to the role and the company. There would be no point offering something unique that has no bearing on the role and wouldn’t offer the employer any benefits. Being a champion skier would be impressive, but not so much for a Digital Marketing Manager position.
Put yourself in the shoes of the employer and ask yourself what you would want from an employer. What blend of unique skills, qualifications and experience would impress you and benefit the company?
- Identify your USP – the skills, knowledge or experience that you can offer, but others can’t.
- Tailor your USP to the role you’re applying for.
- Focus on benefits – how will you benefit the employer?
- Prove it – use facts and figures.
- Show some personality.
- Be honest.
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Keep the message consistent.