How to succeed in a job interview: things to do before the interview

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Interviews are tough going and succeeding in them can be something that is down to the smallest of matters. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1.         Research

Before heading into an interview, always make sure you research the company and know what there is to know about it. It would be a shame to get the job only to discover that you do not even want to work at the place. To avoid this, at least research information about the job and the company, and search Google for current news about the company.

Some of the information to search for includes the company’s financial stability, the latest projects the company is carrying out, its business culture, and how it treats its employees.

In regards to the job you are applying for, look for information that you can use to be more convincing about how you are the perfect fit for the position. Search for current and former employees on LinkedIn or people who have had the job before and request them to tell you about it. If that is not possible, take a moment to review the job advert and make a list of personal achievements that are relevant to the job. You can use these achievements as talking points during the interview.

On the day of the interview, do your best to arrive at the interview location 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Avoid arriving too early as this could confuse the employer while creating an awkward situation. At the same time, avoid being late as it creates a bad first impression, lowering your chances of getting the job right from the start.

2.         Prepare Stories to Tell

For a job interview to be successful, you need to be able to market your skills and experiences as they relate to the position being filled. One way to do this is by telling stories that illustrate your successes and experiences using these skills.

When you tell stories, you become more engaging, and this allows you to demonstrate your communication skills and show off your personality.

The description of the job opening, combined with the research you’ve done, will enable you to see which skill sets the employer is looking for. With this in mind, take a moment and refresh your memory of the stories that show off your best qualifications.

3.         Gather Your Questions

There is one thing a lot of recruiters do to understand the type of person they are dealing with, and that thing is wonder out loud if you, the candidate, have any questions to ask them. Sadly, a lot of people make the mistake of replying ‘no.’

Having questions for the recruiter shows that you are really interested in the role being offered and that you did your homework beforehand and should be taken seriously. So, before heading for an interview, prepare a list of questions you would like answered. It is okay to refer to the list during the interview.

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4.         Dress for Success

While your experience and skills should stand out on their own, to increase your chances of having a successful job interview, start with how you dress. Dress a level above the position you are looking to fill. It is not all about wearing expensive ensembles and suits; it is about looking the part – and that means wearing clean clothes that fit well.

If you do not know the company’s preferred dress code, consider reaching out to the recruiter and ask them. It will be easier to wear clothing that makes you feel more confident when you have an idea of what they like.

Decide what you will wear the night before the interview to avoid the last-minute rush. Set your outfit aside and make sure it is clean and pressed.

5.         Bring Everything You Need for the Interview

Even though you’d already emailed your resume, make sure you bring extra paper copies that you and the recruiter can refer to. It is also advisable that you carry paper copies of your reference list along with you just in case the recruiter asks for them. Make sure that they are on a separate piece of paper and not on the resume.

Also, carry with you a work portfolio with proof of your achievements and skills. Compiling one can help jog your memory and boost your confidence, while having it during the interview will help build your credibility, making it easier for you to tell your story(s.)

6.         Respect the Schedule

Succeeding in a Job Interview 101: Do your best to arrive for the interview 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Arriving too early creates an awkward situation and confuses the employer. Conversely, arriving late gives a bad first impression and will most certainly doom your chances of success right off the bat.

If you don’t know the location where the interview will be held, ask for directions beforehand. If something serious comes up and you think you are going to be late, phone ahead and let the recruiter know. Apart from being good manners, it also shows the recruiter that you respect their time, allowing them to reschedule the meeting if need be.

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