How to Prepare for a Job Interview

If you’ve applied for a job recently and have just heard you’ve passed the screening stage, then you may be asked to present in person for a job interview. Job interviews often make candidates nervous, but with adequate preparation, you should be able to come out the other end with a brand new employment contract in your hands. Here is everything you need to know to prepare for a job interview.

Person in a job interview

Prepare to answer the most common interview questions

The first thing you need to do is practice and master the most commonly asked interview questions. When you know how to respond to questions you’re most likely to get asked, interviewing becomes a breeze. The most common interview questions candidates get asked in employment interviews include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why are you a good fit for this job?
  • What do you know about the role?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What would you do in your first month in this role?
  • Why do you think we should hire you?

 

Situational interview questions

Job seekers routinely cite situational questions as being the most difficult part of the interview, but this is because most candidates simply don’t do enough preparation before attending the interview. Here are some of the most commonly asked situational interview questions to help you get a head start on your competition:

  • Describe a situation you had to collaborate with a difficult client or customer
  • Describe a situation where you made a mistake
  • Describe a time when you received criticism
  • Describe a situation where you went above the call of duty
  • Describe a situation where you failed to meet a deadline

 

Behavioral interview questions

Behavioral interview questions are designed to force you to explain the steps you took to solve a recent problem or situation. Follow the ‘STAR’ pattern, which means you describe the Situation, Task, Action, and Result in order. Example behavioral questions include:

  • Give an example of a time where you solved a customer problem
  • Give an example of a time where you achieved a goal and how you reached it.
  • Give an example of a time where you failed to meet the customer’s expectations. How did you resolve this?

 

Research the company and position

A common mistake interviewees make is failing to obtain company knowledge as well as lacking knowledge about what the role they are applying for actually entails. Make sure you get up to date with the following aspects of the business in order to make a winning impression:

  • Learn about the company
    Make a note of the company’s philosophy, values, and goals for the year as well as the next few years if they are publicly available. Most of this information can usually be found on the company web page. In addition, make sure you know the company’s history – who founded it, when did they found it, what was their mission, how has the company’s mission changed?
  • Get up to date with the company’s news
    Google News allows you to get up to date on company news and press releases so make sure you check out the most recent happenings at the company. In addition, read their blog, and scan their social media for anything relevant to your role. Find something worth mentioning in your interview to demonstrate you truly understand what the company is doing now and try to find out why and how your role impacts their current mission.
  • Learn the industry and the competition
    If you’re moving into a new area, research the current challenges facing the industry and future challenges that they need to prepare for now. Find out who their biggest competitors are, look for any potential flaws or opportunities, and come equipped with an understanding of how your company fits into the industry as a whole. An awareness of this puts you well ahead of your competition and could secure you a place on their final shortlist.
  • Know their products and services
    Nothing impresses interviewers more than a candidate who has an extensive knowledge of the company’s products and services. What is their bestselling item and why? All you need to do is read through their products page, reviews page, and any public review pages or blogs. Do they cater to other businesses or do they sell to individuals? Do they work on big projects or work on a large quantity of smaller jobs?
  • Prepare some intelligent questions
    If you normally struggle to find a relevant topic to ask questions about in the interview stage, then the best thing to do is ask a question in relation to the company. After completing company related research, prepare at least two or three questions to ask, as some things end up being covered in the interview, which could eliminate your prepared question if you only prepared one!

Choosing the right tie for interview

Presentation matters

The last part of interviewing comes down to your personal presentation. While many candidates hate dressing up, it’s still important for you to look like you belong in the company. Knowing how to dress can be difficult, as every business has different standards. If you’re going into a corporate environment, its best to err on the side of caution. A simple yet stylish suit, polished shoes, and a fresh haircut are normally all it takes to make a great first impression.

Maintain a professional demeanor

Many employers are wisely extending the interview to spaces outside the traditional interview room, which means other employees may have a final say on whether you are hired. As soon as you enter the building, make sure you are pleasant and businesslike with everyone you meet. Approach the receptionist in a friendly and polite manner, and speak in a clear and calm voice. Your job interview begins the minute you step on site to the second you leave the door. Make sure you maintain a professional demeanor with every person you meet – including and most importantly, other candidates for the position.

The power is in your hands

With adequate preparation, job interviews don’t need to be daunting. To really increase your chances of securing new employment, why not consider preparing to take an aptitude or personality test?

Many employers use aptitude tests as the final step in their recruitment procedure. Why not take our free aptitude test to discover how you can supercharge your interview preparation today?

Try our free Quick Aptitude Test now.

Person getting a handshake after a job interview