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How to prepare for an interview – 5 tips for success

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Whether it’s your first, fifth or tenth job interview, it’s always going to be nerve-wracking and for good reason. Walking into an unknown situation to meet a stranger who is ready to grill you about why you’re the best candidate for the role isn’t an easy task. According to research in the Daily Mail, employers make decisions about job applicants in under seven minutes, so it appears that first impressions really do count. With this in mind, it’s absolutely essential that you prepare – preparation is the key to confidence. Here are five tips from the pros:

Research, research, research

This is an absolute must. The employer is going to ask you what you know about the company and why you want to work for them. The more research you can do the better and it will show them that you really want the job. Look at who their customers are, how big the organisation is and who the main competitors are. Go onto their website, view the products/services and see if they have had any good news recently in the press, i.e. awards.

Ask your own questions

If you’ve done your research, you’re likely to have your own list of questions to ask the interviewers. No matter what job you’re taking, whether it’s for Call Centre Jobs or for a Senior Manager, you need to ensure this job is right for you. Ask about management style, responsibilities, projects and work culture. Try to leave terms and conditions of employment and salary until you’ve been offered the job as it could look as though you’re interested in the money and yourself, not the work.

Prepare for those competency based questions

There’s a list of questions that will always come up, no matter what. Why do you want the job? What can you bring to the role? What are your strengths/weaknesses? And of course, there is the dreaded competency based ‘name a time’ questions where it is essential that you prepare. Think about the questions that have the most relevancy to the nature of the business and position advertised.

Think about the dress code

Don’t wait until the morning of your interview to decide what to wear. Prepare your outfit in advance; wash your favourite blazer, make sure your shirt is ironed and if you need to, buy a new tie, it is important that you look smart. According to HR Review, research has found that men make more of an effort with their appearance than women. 42 per cent of men call ahead of the interview to check the dress code compared to 29 per cent of women. They are also willing to spend more money on their outfit, with 61 per cent prepared to invest over £100 compared to just 10 per cent of women.

Practice your interview

If you have enough time the week before your interview, it is worth practicing your answers and doing a mock interview with a friend or someone you really trust to be honest. You could alternatively record yourself, playing it back to see how your answers sound.