It’s all in the preparation: Top tips when preparing for a job interview 

  1. Revisit the job description.  Make sure you understand exactly what skills and qualities they are looking for and have examples ready to demonstrate how your previous experience and competencies make you the perfect fit. 
  2. Do your homework.  Familiarise yourself with the company and its values before the interview so you can show how your own values align.  You want to make it easy for a potential employer to imagine you fitting straight into the team.  Also, ensure that you are up to date with the company’s structure and any recent changes such as mergers or acquisitions.  Get a feel for who the executive team are.  You can learn a lot from LinkedIn and your network of industry contacts. 
  3. The best-laid plans.  It goes without saying that you need to turn up to your interview on time so plan your route and then make sure you have a backup plan, leaving plenty of time for unforeseen hold-ups.  If you can have a trial run, better still.  Check traffic and weather reports and have your interview outfit (and a spare) ready the night before.
  4. Going virtual.  You may find that your interview takes place on the phone or online.  How you prepare for a virtual interview is identical to an in-person interview.  However, you will also need to check that your equipment works, remember to charge laptops and phone batteries.  Using a landline can help to avoid mobile dropouts.  Check you have enough light and choose somewhere quiet, without potential interruptions.  Turn your mobile phone to silent and dress as if you were there in person. 
  5. Questions and answers.  Expect to be asked questions that help the interviewer understand both your skills and what you are like as a person.  You may even be asked to complete some personality profiling or verbal reasoning tests, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the format by completing some practice tests.  Also think of questions that you would like to ask the interviewer, making sure they are not ones that you should know already if you’ve done your homework on the company.
  6. Reach for the STARs!  Plan how to answer questions in a concise way that illustrates your skills and experience.  The STAR method is commonly used to help you plan your answers to interview questions.  For any given skill, consider giving an example Situation in which you have needed to demonstrate that skill.  Describe the Task that you were given and the Action you took, and, importantly, the Result – what was the result of your action and what did you learn from the experience? 
  7. Listen up.  We are often so focussed on the talking part of an interview that we forget to demonstrate good listening skills too.  It goes without saying that you should avoid interrupting the interviewer and should maintain attention and good eye contact.
  8. Keep it real.  One of the most important interview tips is to be yourself.  Don’t pretend to be someone you are not.  Ultimately, the very best recruitment matches (for both parties) are made when there is a natural fit between a candidate and the team they are joining so it pays to be prepared and to be yourself. 

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Darran Crellin 

Director, Fletcher George Financial Recruitment