To help you get an insight into preparing for that all-important part of an application, here are our top five tips to help you feel confident, stress-free and ready for action...
1. Do your due diligence on the organisation
You’re about to meet the people who not only work at the organisation, but have also been put in charge of who gets get to join the organisation you’ve chosen to apply to, so guess, what….you need to know everything you can about them.
There are clearly the obvious things you can do to swot-up such as checking the press, looking at the organisation’s website and their LinkedIn group.
However if you really want to get ahead of the competition, find out about the organisation by downloading the annual report (most big companies have them) and see if you can grab a coffee with any contacts or friends of friends who work that currently (or have in the past).
Intel is everything – use it to your advantage!
2. Have Mock Interviews
The best way to get ready for being asked challenging questions in an unfamiliar environment by people you don’t know, is to have mock interviews that replicate that experience. People are always keen to help, so see if any of your friends’ family will sit you down and put you through your paces and give you some honest feedback on how you did afterwards.
If you’re applying for a job in investment banking and you don’t know what happens to Bond Prices if interest rates go up, it’s better to find this hole in your knowledge out before the interview so that you can do some more reading, than in the real thing.
3. Analyse your CV and Application Form
To get to the interview stage will normally have required you already giving the recruiters information about yourself, normally through a CV or online application form. The great news here is that you have excelled already to the interview stage - about 50% of applications are normally screened out and not progressed to interview. The risk factor now is that you can’t back-up the claims you’ve made.
Look at your CV and application form (or have a friend do it) and spot the areas that may prompt the interviewer to ‘dig deeper’. When you said you ‘Co-Founded’ a start-up – what was your exact role and how did the business do?
If you’ve put down three weeks of legal work experience, what exactly did you get up to and what did the experience teach you about the world of commercial law?
4. Research the interviewer(s)
Sometimes (though not always) organisations will let you know about who will be interviewing you in advance. There is no harm in knowing all you can about the person who will be asking you the questions.
Their seniority, expertise and anything else (like published research work) will help you know them better.
It’s always a good thing to be more informed than less and interviewer research will probably make you feel more relaxed about the people who are about to decide your career future path. LinkedIn, the company website and Google will all help you here.
5. Sweat the small stuff and nail those logistics!
It’s the ‘small things’ that often let people down at interviews; the alarm not going off, not having the right interview garb good to go and getting lost (and therefore) being late!
All of these ‘little’ things have the potential to become a ‘big thing’ by meaning you come across as someone who is disorganised and late – two qualities any recruiter worth their salt will not tolerate.
So, make sure you’re all set for ‘operation interview’ – inot only will it make sure you arrive on time, you’ll be more mentally relaxed and in control – two qualities that are critical for interview success.