5 must-do’s prior to the all important interview

Congratulations! You got through to the interview stage. Here are some helpful hints to prepare you for the all important interview.

1. Get a notepad. Write down interview details, contact names and numbers etc. It is also a good idea to write down a few points about the organisation and some practice questions and answers in your notepad. You can then refer to the notepad during the interview if you get nervous and forget what you’ve prepared. Interviewers will look upon this favourably knowing that you’ve come prepared.

Prepare your materials for the interview. In addition to your notepad, include a pen, 2-3 copies of your resume and a copy of the job description provided by the recruiter (if any) in your interview ‘kit’. This will show your organisation skills by being thoroughly prepared. Having a notepad also allows you to jot down any important information the interviewer is providing

during the interview, showing your interest

2. Practice, practice, practice. Practice answering interview questions with a friend, or in front of a mirror, or in your own head. However you do it, this step is crucial. Even if the questions in the interview are completely different, at least you have come prepared. Also, by practicing, you will come up with some key sample situations that you can apply during the interview, which brings me to my next point…

Prepare 3-4 examples of achievements you’ve had in your work/university experience, i.e. that time you went above and beyond for a customer. Practice applying these situations in the ‘STAR’ format. Write down these examples in your notepad (see point #1). Once you have prepared these examples, you’ll find that you can adapt and apply them to almost any question the interviewer may throw at you.

Here are a few sample interview questions:

Tell me about yourself?

Reasons for leaving your current job?

Why do you want to work here?

Why did you select this particular career path?

What are your key strengths/weaknesses?

Tell me about a particular time when you had to deal with a difficult client?

Note: It is ok to get confirmation from the interviewer after you’ve answered a question, whether it is what they’re after or if your answer was clear.

3. Review your resume again, so you can easily and confidently address any of the interviewers concerns regarding your resume.

4. Prepare your outfit for the interview. Make sure it is appropriate. This seems obvious, but many people can get it wrong. Attention to detail is key here. If you have the best, well cut suit, but your shoes are unpolished, it will stand out. Dress smart, don’t choose too many bright/distracting colours and/or patterns, and make sure you are well groomed.

5. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Try not too worry too much about the event. Visualise succeeding the interview with flying colours. Worrying will only lead to fear, self-doubt and anxiety, which will show through in the interview. Portraying a positive and confident image and behaving as though you’ve already got the job (though be careful to not cross the line into arrogance), will in return give the potential employer equal confidence in you.

The difference between you and the other potential candidate is how well you prepare for the interview. Putting in a few hours for your preparations will set you up for your dream job.

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