Interview preparation – Top tips to give yourself the interview advantage Part 2

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

Practice your interview technique

  • Remember that an interview is a structured conversation, not an interrogation
  • Arrange for at least two mock interviews with a professional interview expert
  • Practice your answers in front of friends (this is especially useful for the self-awareness questions)
  • Video yourself using your smartphone and be ruthlessly self-critical
  • Practice the stories about yourself !
  • Practice your delivery again and again :
  • Plain language, plain thinking
  • Use a strong voice
  • No jargon, no slang
  • Don’t use modifiers (quite, fairly etc.)
  • Avoid verbal fillers (like, um or err)
  • Be engaging and project your personality
  • Appear confident
  • Appear enthusiastic
  • Don’t be shy, self deprecating or apologetic
  • Keep the flow of the interview moving – it’s OK to say you don’t know and move on
  • Don’t argue or contest
  • When a question is unclear, ask for it to be repeated
  • Take brief notes if necessary
  • Be honest
  • Be consistent
  • Be a winner
  • Practice your body language
  • Walk in confidently
  • Practice your handshake
  • Your pose should convey confidence, not arrogance or a laid-back attitude
  • Smile
  • Maintain eye contact throughout the interview
  • Pay equal attention to each panel member

Work on your self awareness : employers test this

  • Prepare for questions about what you really enjoy by recalling moments when you were truly happy and engaged (during a sport, hobby or intellectual activity) and write down the key words that come to mind when you recall that activity
  • Prepare for job interview questions about what motivates you : write down your personal drivers and list them in order of priority
  • Prepare for questions about strengths and weaknesses by thinking through your personal characteristics and identifying which you consider to be your strengths and which your weaknesses. At interview you won’t be ‘marked down’ for admitting weaknesses if you show that you’re aware of them and have made efforts to address them. You can sometimes describe some weaknesses as excessive manifestations of your strengths, e.g. having high quality standards is a strength but over-perfectionism a weakness

Mental preparation and managing nerves

  • Calmness and positive thinking are the key to job interview success
  • Work on calmness through meditation, breathing exercises and power poses (see the Amy Cuddy TED Talk in the Resources section)
  • Work on positive thinking by recalling moments when you have been successful and resourceful, then imagining each stage of the interview from the moment you walk into the room to the final handshake, followed by receiving the call with the job offer
  • Look at yourself in the mirror several times a day in the week before the interview, and tell yourself out loud that you will get the job.

Prepare your interview appearance

  • Dress like an employee of the organisation for the interview
  • Look immaculate from top to toe : you will be scrutinised and judged on your appearance

Getting to the interview

  • Check the address in the interview instructions : the interview venue may not be the same as the employer’s main address
  • Plan your journey a couple of days beforehand. Calculate the normal journey time and then double it
  • Have a proper breakfast
  • Get there early
  • Nail it !

Photograph from previous page copyright Valery Kenski