Interview preparation – Top tips to give yourself the interview advantage Part 1

Here are some top tips to help you prepare for an interview. These tips are in two parts : it’s worth reading both !

The most important question to ask yourself is : Do I really want this job ?

  • Employers will ask this question at interview. Prepare your answer : it should be made up of three elements : (i) why you want a job in that sector, (ii) a well researched specific reason why you like that particular employer and (iii) what your skills and background can bring to the job in that organisation.
  • Unless you’re passionate about a job, the chances are you may not get it.

Research the employer

  • Find out as much as you can about the employer’s financial performance, the strategic pressures and trends which are relevant to the organisation, its clients, competition and culture.
  • Sources of information will be :
  • The organisation’s website and other internet information
  • Trade journals
  • Current employees : talk to at least 2 people in the organisation, a senior and a junior. There may well be alumni of your school or university/college in the organisation, so use that as a way of find out who to contact. People are always keen to help alumni, so don’t be shy !

Prepare for the predictable questions :

  • You should prepare your answers to the obvious questions, including :
  • Tell us about yourself ?
  • Why do you want this job ?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses ?
  • How would you deal with the challenges of this job ?
  • Do you have any questions for us ?

For guidance on answering these questions, see “Interviews – Top Questions and Tips” in the Resources section. The strengths and weaknesses question is dealt with below

  • When answering interview questions and particularly this type of question, tell stories about yourself and use examples. These are very powerful.

Be aware of the qualities that will be tested at interview

  • Appearance and presentation
  • How personable you are
  • Problem-solving, thinking out of the box, originality
  • Curiosity
  • Drive
  • Initiative/leadership/self-motivation
  • Ability to get on with people/personable character
  • Sunny, positive disposition
  • Confidence
  • Ability to express yourself , including clarity, fluency and vocabulary
  • Altruism/team qualities
  • Self awareness
  • Flexibility, prepared to adapt and to run the extra mile
  • Resilience and determination
  • Commercial awareness
  • Awareness of current affairs

For commercial and current affairs awareness, see “Commercial Awareness – Top Tips” in the Resources section

Be aware of the real questions in the interviewer’s head that won’t get asked

  • Do I like this person ?
  • Would I enjoy working with them ?
  • Would I feel happy putting them in front of clients ?
  • Will they fit in here ?
  • Are they actually that passionate about the job ?

Photo on previous page © e-magic