However good your application is and regardless of whether you have all the skills, qualifications and experience necessary to do the job, if you don’t interview well, chances are you are not going to secure the role in question. Preparation is key, and if you take the time in the days before your interview to prepare fully, you’ll find your interview both less stressful and easier to deal with, giving you a great chance of landing the role.
The week before your interview
You’re usually given at least a week’s notice for an interview. However much time you get, use it wisely. It’s quite natural for stress and nerves to kick in, but you should see these as positive signs. You wouldn’t be nervous or stressed if it wasn’t a job that you really wanted would you?
The first thing you need to do is to start doing your research. Start with the company website and read as much as you can, because it will help you build up a good general knowledge of the business and will help you come across as knowledgeable in the interview However, you shouldn’t just limit yourself to the website. As well as relevant trade publications and websites that will give you information on the market they operate in and general industry news, take a look at their competitors websites too. What are their strengths? Weaknesses? This sort of research will give you an allround view of the company and will come across very well in the interview.
The second thing you need to do is to think about the questions you are likely to be asked in the interview. Take a look at our article The 5 Most Common Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them) and think about how you would answer these questions. By spending as much time on how you answer as what you answer means that you’ll give well considered answers that answer the question clearly and concisely.
The day before your interview
By now, you should have had plenty of time to think about how you are going to tackle your interview and have lots of good general knowledge on the company, its markets and its competitors. This leaves you time on the day before to concentrate on the more practical elements of a successful interview.
CV - Print your CV, references and ‘brag file’. This is a file full of documentary evidence of your achievements. The interviewer will already have a copy of your CV, but it’s always good to have one of your own to refer to.
Transport - If you’re going by car, have you got petrol? Do you know where you are going? Are there any roadworks that may delay you? If you’re going by public transport, do you know which train/bus you’re getting? WIll it get you there in plenty of time if there are delays? Planning like this will save any extra nerves on a day that will already be rather stressful!
Appearance - Shower and wash your hair. You may plan to do this on the day which is fine, but doing it the day before ensures that if you wake up late, you are clean and fresh and don’t have to run around and risk being late.
The day of the interview
Get up early as this will give you time to get your head together and prepare properly for the day. Don’t forget to have breakfast too, as your body needs fuel for your brain to function sharply. Make it healthy and it will make you feel better too rather than an unhealthy, stodgy breakfast.
After that, it’s up to you! One thing we would say though is to try and enjoy the interview. It’s not a test or an exam, it’s a chance for you to exhibit why you are the best candidate for this role. Be confident, smile and you’ll find that interviews are never as bad as you think they’re going to be and can actually be quite fun when you’ve prepared fully.