Interviews are one of the most important facets to a successful career. Interviews done well can be a gateway to exciting new job opportunities, new working environments, international business travel, new responsibilities and better pay. Done badly they can be embarrassing and a knock to your confidence.
More often than not research and preparation will be the deciding factor in acing the interview, regardless of the company.
Westminster Search have outlined the areas which you need to research and prepare for to ensure you have a successful interview.
Understanding the role is vital to any selection process as it allows you to frame your answers and examples throughout the interview.
To understand the role ensure that you read the job description, personal specification and job adverts thoroughly and repeatedly. Look at each point outlined in the job description and personal specification and write down an example of how you match up to and exceed the example, preferably using a demonstrable example.
These written down examples can be reviewed on the day of the interview meaning you will be able demonstrate with ease and confidence how you can meet up to each of the employers requirements.
Knowing about the organisation that you are going to interview for is the second vital area of research and preparation.
Prior to the interview, you need to answer the following questions:
- What is the organisation that you are interviewing for?
- Who are the interviewers, what is their background and role?
- What do they do?
- Who are the organisation’s stakeholders?
- What are the public affairs/communications/campaign challenges this organisation is facing?
- Have there recently been any significant company announcements?
Knowing this information will give you the context for the interview and allow you to do the following:
- Prepare questions before the interview. Specifically prepare questions around the role, organisation and challenges the job may present.
- Understand conversation points to build a rapport with the interviewers.
- Allow you to frame your answers to interview questions in a way which is sensitive to the organisation interviewing you.
Knowing about the organisation will give you the context that will impress any interviewer.
Knowing yourself is the third area of research and preparation and the most vital. To research yourself can be difficult as we all have a subjective bias. The three tasks set out below will help greatly.
- Do a personal SWOT test on yourself, listing all your strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats that you potentially bring to the company you are going to be interviewing for. Once this has been done review in detail and it will offer you an insight into possible challenging questions which may be thrown at you during the interview and how best to answer them.
- Get a good friend, or better an acquaintance, to review your CV and do a role play of an interview that forensically questions each line of your CV. The reason for doing this is to ensure that you can justify each line and will not be shocked in the interview if a question is asked about something on your CV.
- Review the CV and covering letter you sent in to the company. If you have time send them to yourself through the mail so that you can read it afresh and see if there is anything that jumps out at you as something that an interviewer may question.
Using these research and preparation techniques will give you the very best foundation to improve your chances of acing the interview.