A few weeks ago we wrote about how to successfully close an interview but what about preparation for an interview? Well that's what we're covering in today's post.
Prepare, prepare and prepare again. Whilst there is such a thing as being over prepared to the point that you come across as scripted, it is definitely important to prepare for your interviews. From what you are going to wear to mapping out your journey to knowing about the company to anticipating the questions you'll be asked and knowing how to answer them.
Plan the Perfect Outfit
It used to be the case that you would wear a suit to an interview and that would be absolutely fine no matter where you were interviewing, however, nowadays this isn't the case. With companies now operating a variety of dress codes from fully suited and booted to business dress to smart casual, believe it or not, what you wear to an interview can affect the hirers decision. It won't be the deciding factor but it could certainly play a part. The hiring manager may tell you what you wear to an interview for example, in the case of people interviewing here with us at FGS Recruitment, we tell our interviewees to come dressed smart casual. Turning up in a suit to an interview here could give us the first impression that you are very corporate and may not necessarily fit in with our more relaxed culture. After all, culture fit is just as important as having the skills to do the job. If you are unsure about what to wear, keep your look basic and conservative.
Map Out Your Journey
Firstly, a couple of days before your interview check and double check that you have the correct name of your interviewer and also that you have the correct address and contact telephone number for the place where you will be interviewing.
Ensure you leave yourself enough time to get there. Attending an interview is enough to make people nervous without adding the stress of traffic or train delays to the mix. If you are travelling by car, either do a test run of your journey beforehand if it is nearby or if you are using a sat nav, ensure you have the correct postcode. If you are using public transport, check the travel website to ensure there are no planned cancellations or engineering works. Also check the bus or train times and if possible catch the earlier one to give yourself enough time.
Research the Company
Spending a few hours learning everything you can about the company is a few hours well spent when it comes to interview preparation. Don't just look at the company's website, take a look at their social media profiles - Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook - Google them, read news articles and check out their Glassdoor profile. Talk to your contacts and see if they or people they know know anyone who works at the company. This will allow you to get a larger picture of the company and show that you have done your research.
Anticipate the Questions
Anticipating the questions you may be asked and knowing how to answer them is essential to ensuring a good interview. Read over the job description again and think carefully about what skills, experience and accomplishments you have that match the role and how you might answer interview questions that relate.
A simple Google search will bring up several articles with lists of common interview questions. Have a read through these and rather than planning your entire answer to these questions, jot down a few notes or bullet points. This will ensure you are prepared without coming across as scripted.
Take a Brag Pack
Now this may not be relevant for everyone but if you have physical examples of your work to take to your interviews, then be sure to do so. These examples of work could be enough to pip you to the top when it comes to deciding between you and one other who may not have taken a brag pack to the interview. For example, if you are a Marketing Manager, then you may want to take along examples of printed material you have worked on, a copy of a marketing plan or print outs of reports and proof of ROI. If you are a sales professional, then it's always worthwhile taking along information detailing your sales targets and how you have hit them.
Close your interview
Preparing for the closing of your interview is arguably the most important stage especially if you are interview for a sales role such as a Business Development Manager or Sales Director. Making a good final impression is equally as important as making a good first impression. Along with the questions you should have prepared for the end of the interview such as "What are you looking for in the ideal candidate?", it is also important to prepare a final closing question such as "Based on my previous experience and the skills we have discussed during this interview, how well do I fit the profile of the type of candidate you are looking for?". By asking this final closing question, you stand a good chance of leaving the interview knowing where you stand and it will also demonstrate your interest in the position.
FGS Recruitment is a boutique recruitment agency specialising in recruiting sales and marketing jobs in our core markets of Digital Media, Learning & Development and Market Research. Keep up to date with our latest career advice articles and jobs by signing up to our newsletter and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.