Before you even get to the interview, you need to start putting in the legwork. Use all resources available to you in order to gather information about the employer. Find out exactly what they do how big they are, any current projects they have, and any other information that will give you a better picture of them. This will help you understand them but also it will come in useful during the interview.
The Internet is the obvious way of gathering information, however, if they are a very large company, they could possibly have their own PR department. Don’t be afraid to say that you are attending an interview with the company.
Remember the employer is interested in you as a person, your experiences and your opinions.
- Do take the time to sit down and think about yourself, who you are and what you’ve achieved.
- It might be useful to make a list of your main strengths. A common question employers ask in interviews is “Tell me about yourself”. If you already have your strengths listed, you will be able to really sell yourself in your answer. Be prepared to give examples of when you have taken advantage of these strengths in either your personal life or in past employment.
- In nearly every interview, the recruiter will ask you if you have any questions for them. Prepare some questions that you would like answering before the interview. This could be an opportunity to let them know you have been doing your groundwork. For example “I read on your website that you are opening an office in New York, London, Abuja, PHC, etc, etc, next year. Would there be any scope for travel in the role?”
- Do not ask questions about the terms and conditions, as they can be answered at a later time. Don’t be afraid to write a list of these questions and take them into the interview with you.
- Wear what is appropriate for the role and the company. It may vary from smart casual wear in some instances to very formal dress in others.
- Try and get an insight into what the company would expect from employees through observation.
- What would be appropriate for a building company is very different for a public relations agency.
- Regardless of the dress code, always make sure that you are clean.
- Do not wear too much perfume or aftershave.
- Keep jewellery subtle and always avoid smelly food and drink before the interview. That also includes cigarettes. If you desperately need a cigarette before you go in, make sure you have some mints with you. A good tip is to have the cigarette in the open air instead of in a smoky pub or café. This way you will smell less of an old ashtray.
- With regard to time keeping, lecturers may not have noticed you sneakily joining their tutorials 10 minutes late, but the interviewer will.
- Make sure you plan your schedule for the interview day with care, leaving plenty of time for unexpected disasters like the bus not stopping, the wrong type of snow falling, or taking a wrong turning. Whilst being an hour early may not go down very well with the company, arriving with ten minutes to spare will show good time keeping skills, as well as giving you time to check hair, make-up etc. Make sure the company knows that you have arrived, and use any spare time to calm your nerves. Try to visualise the interview going really well and how good you will feel when you get the job.