What you do before an interview is crucial to your overall performance. For best results, many prospective applicants practice beforehand to determine their strengths and weaknesses. It better prepares them for the interview itself and ensures they deliver effective and impactful answers to every question.
In this blog, we discuss the importance of preparing for interviews and 12 specific things to do before any interview:
Why is it important to prepare for an interview?
Interviewing is a skill, making practice essential in becoming a better interviewee. Interview practice involves learning how to answer questions related to your role and studying them. For example, you might pair with a friend or relative and allow them to ask you a series of questions. Doing this assesses how well you answer each question in the moment and how well you approach questions that are unfamiliar to you. Practicing is also a time to work on your posture, appearance and non-verbal communication such as how you use your hands in conversation.
Below are the things you need to consider when preparing to ace your interview..
Research the company
Before going into the interview, research the company along with its history, values and mission. Check their official website first, then move onto social media. If there are any client, customer or employee reviews, study them and identify any themes that might change your decision to work with them. It also prepares you to answer any questions relating to the company, proving to your interviewer that you familiarize yourself with who the company is.
Practice your interview technique
Think beforehand about how you can best demonstrate your skills and experiences in an interview. This can make you feel more confident on the day. If you’ve been asked to give a presentation as part of the interview process, give it a final run-through, make sure you’ve got notes/ cards, and try to make it as amazing as possible
Prepare questions you will ask the interviewer
When asked by the interviewer if you have any questions, avoid responses like “No, Not really, Not now etc, have a few questions prepared. This shows that you’re prepared, enthusiastic and committed to the role and the company. Try to think of less obvious but interesting questions that will set you apart from other candidates.
- What is the company culture like?
- Is there an opportunity for growth in this role?
- How do you measure employee performance?
- What do you envision my first month to look like if successful?
Have a practice pitch
Find someone you trust (friend, relative or mentor) or who has experience in interviewing and conduct a mock interview (don’t be shy). Assign them a series of questions to ask related to your role. Encourage them to come up with additional questions as well without telling you what they are. At the end of the interview, take any feedback they have on improving your performance. Once ready, start the mock interview again.
Print out photo copies of your CV
Make sure you’ve got up to date hard copies of your CV with you, as well as any other supporting information, like your National Identity (NI) Card and academic documents. Don’t forget to also move with a notebook and pen just in case you need to write anything down.
Eat a healthy meal before you go for interview
Consider eating foods rich in protein, healthy fats and fiber such as:
- Warm water
The last thing you don’t want is your stomach grumbling in the interview ….
Dress to impress
Professionally of course…Choose a set of clothes that are appropriate for the role. For example, if the role requires business casual, choose business professional wear for the interview, including a suit and tie or skirt and blouse. At least a day before your interview, ensure you have a clean set of clothes. Iron and press formal clothes such as dress pants and dress shirts to free them of wrinkles. Additionally, pack make-up and deodorant for small touch-ups just before your interview, if necessary. You can read more about how to dress for interviews here: https://pro-interns.com/blog/how-dress-interviews
Interview preparations should be done before bedtime, at this time relax before bed to ensure you get a restful night, so you’re fresh the next day.
Plan your journey
Spend time prior to the interview working out how you’ll get there. Ensure you know the location of the venue for your interview and the quickest way there. Plan how long the journey will take and avoid running to your interview, aim to arrive about 15 minutes early.
Turn your mobile phone off before your interview
Bringing your phone into the interview with you is often a necessity. If you need it, consider silencing it or turning it off. Ensure no vibrations or other tones emanate from your phone or interrupt the interview.
Stay calm and confident
Naturally, nerves will begin to kick in, but try to stay calm and confident. Take deep breaths and practice positive, self-affirmation thoughts in your mind. If you’ve done enough research, you shouldn’t have anything to fear about.
On arrival of the interview, offer a friendly and professional greeting, firm handshake, adopt a professional approach when you’re seated waiting for the interview, mind your body language in this case. In fact, first impressions count, so as soon as the interviewer approaches you, ensure you come across as personable and professional. Stand up straight, smile and make eye contact. Say hello and introduce yourself, stating that it’s a pleasure to meet them, and thank them for taking the time to see you today.
Write thank you email after the interview.
Thank you emails are a great way to leave a lasting impression as interviewers have an item to remember you by. Simply send a short e-mail to the interviewer thanking them for their time and interview opportunity.