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How to prepare for a job interview

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So you’ve finally secured an interview for your dream job? Maybe after months of lying on a beach in Thailand, sipping mojitos and getting foot rubs from Katut, it’s back to reality and the dreaded ‘job hunt’. Your only obstacle? – You break out in a cold sweat when you hear the ‘interview’ word.

If you’re one of the 99.99%* of people who get nervous about the job interview process, then follow these basic guidelines to ensure you are fully prepared to leave a positive impression on your interviewer.

The first step (and arguably the most important) in preparing for a job interview, is research. Find out as much information as you can about the role, the firm and the interviewers.  Have a look on the firm’s website, but also google the firm to look for any awards or articles that may be relevant. Some information you should look for includes:

  • Firm vision/values.
  • Products and services. Make sure you understand exactly what service the firm provides to clients.
  • Profiles of your interviewers.
  • Any recent news or achievements of the firm. This is a great way for you to demonstrate your interest in the firm and make conversation with your interviewers.

You may also find it helpful to write down some information. If you read your notes right before your interview, it’ll be fresh in your mind. If anyone in the world has the time to google Channing Tatum’s birthday, you DO have the time to do your research before an interview.

Plan how you will get to and from your interview. If you’re getting the train, make sure you have checked the metro app for any unexpected delays or interruptions. If you are driving, make sure you are familiar with parking. Despite the best plans, we still get the odd panicked call from people running late.

You might find it helpful to practice with a family member or friend before your interview. Think about questions that the interviewer is likely to ask you. If there are any prickly questions that you are likely to be asked, make sure you have a great response up your sleeve. It is also helpful to think of a variety of questions that you can ask your interviewer.

Some questions you can expect to be asked in an interview include:

  • What do you know about our firm?
  • What attracts you to this role and our firm?
  • What can you bring to our firm?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Why did you leave your past job? (or why are you looking to leave?)

Before you head to your interview, make sure you are familiar with dates on your CV and can easily recall any computer programs you have experience using.

In the lead up to your interview, make sure you have an appropriate outfit ready. You should make sure you are dressed modestly. It goes without saying that your clothes should be well fitting, clean and crease free. If it crosses your mind that what you are wearing is inappropriate, then it probably is.  In the words of Miuccia Prada “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts go so fast. Fashion is instant language.”  First impressions are everything. The way you initially present yourself will create a lasting impression on your interviewer so make it a good one. And on the topic of first impressions, practice your handshake and eye contact on a friend who is in a senior professional role. A confident handshake will set the tone.

On the day of the interview, make sure you allow more than enough time to get there. Allow enough time that if an army of turtles decide to cross the freeway, you will still have enough time to get to your interview. That’s not to say that you should go into the interview extremely early. Find somewhere relaxing to sit beforehand near the office. It is recommend to arrive in reception approximately no more than 10 minutes before your interview.

Interview preparation is vital. If you arrive feeling stressed and anxious to an interview it will reflect on your performance. If you are calm, collected and well organised you’re in a better position to answer questions with a clear concise response and one step closer to your dream job.

*(not a real statistic… but a safe presumption)

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Guest Sunday, 24 March 2019

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