Interview Preparation Tips for Candidates

Every interview represents a potential opportunity so you want to put your best foot forward and go in prepared, focused and interested. The following tips and pointers can guide you as you prepare for your interview:

  • Ensure you do your research on the company who will be interviewing you. Company websites offer valued information. If you know anyone that works for the company, call them to get some insights.
  • Some companies have more than one office — know where the interview will be held and how to get there. Don’t wait until just before the interview to investigate unknown locations
  • Ensure you have booked off sufficient time for the interview itself and for travel to and from the location. Factor in more time in the event of inclement weather or traffic tie ups.
  • Decide how you should dress. Since you don’t know the dress code for the business, the rule of thumb is to wear a suit. It’s better to over dress, than under dress. A suit shows a sign of respect for the company and yourself. If you know the atmosphere is a bit more casual, it’s still a good idea to wear a suit or at very least very smart business casual wear. Typical interview outfits are good quality work pants/skirt with high quality jackets. Men should wear a tie. If you go for multiple interviews at the same company, don’t suddenly dress down at the final stages, even if your interviewers do.
  • It may also sound really simplistic, but your overall appearance does make a difference. Make sure your shoes are polished, your hair is combed/brushed and, for women, makeup carefully applied, not over applied. Avoid splashing on too much cologne or perfume just before the interview. Generally, it’s a good idea to keep cologne or perfume to an absolute minimum. Interview rooms can be small, and interviewers can have allergies. You don’t want to ruin a great opportunity by overpowering your interviewer, however nice/expensive that cologne or perfume may be.
  • If you are currently working in a very casual environment, it may look suspicious if you show up to work in a suit. Leave your suit in your car so you can get changed later, or better still, factor in enough time to pop home and change. If neither options work, do call ahead and explain to the interviewer your predicament as it will show that you have given thought to the subject.
  • Review your resume to be clear on your employment dates, achievements, remuneration and reasons for leaving roles
  • Be prepared to give real life examples of where you have delivered. This means you have to do some homework, by thinking about each role you’ve had, what the achievements have been and what situations you’ve had to deal with
  • Study the job specification and match your experience against the responsibilities. Again, think about where you’ve obtained the experience that makes you a good match for the role
  • Understand where your experience does not match up to the job and be able to provide specific examples of other times when you’ve had to pick up new things without prior training or experience. Be able to demonstrate that you are a quick study or a fast learner.
  • Be prepared to articulate why you want to join this particular company and why you want this particular role. This is very important in helping you assess exactly where it is you want to go next.
  • Think about the questions you are going to ask at the interview. Write them down so that you can easily access them. Generally, you’ll want to ensure that you understand what the job entails, but also think about what you want to know about the culture of an organization, the development or progression that employees can make and also the vision of the company itself.
  • Visualize your success. Be confident. If you prepare well for an interview, you will automatically come across as a viable candidate who has given thought to the process and how you present yourself.