Boosting your chances of nailing a job interview goes beyond preparing generic answers to common questions. Rather than rehearsing your response to “what animal would you be and why”, there are more worthwhile ways to spend your time to ensure you stick out to your potential employer for all the right reasons.
1. Anticipate job-specific questions
Whether you’re applying for your first post-graduation position, or simply moving to a new role within the same field, it’s always best to think about job-specific questions. These are often asked specifically to assess how well each candidate will perform on the job, and the complexity of the questions changes between industries.
Content and social media marketing recruiters, for example, generally ask qualitative than quantitative questions, according to recruitment specialists, Salt. These may be related to which platforms or channels would be best suited for specific tasks, or simply be a discussion about software. Similarly, interviews for SEO-based roles could cover discussions about algorithm changes and their impact on campaigns.
These questions can also be used to explore whether or not you have the right mindset for the business, depending on how you present your answers. If you’re working with a recruitment company, they may be able to help you prepare for these specific questions, and offer advice on the best ways to discuss each point.
2. Go through the job description
Evaluating the job description and listing allows you to familiarise yourself with everything your prospective employer wants from a new hire, and lets you figure out if your skills are suited to the role. Knowing exactly what the job entails also means you’ll be better prepared when it comes to talking about it, and yourself, in the interview, reducing your chances of stumbling over any answers. It also means you’ll be more confident during the interview itself, and be more likely to present this with your body language. This includes maintaining eye contact with your interviewer, and remaining relaxed and calm as opposed to jittery.
3. Research the company and team
Researching the company and its employees is one way to prove to interviewers that you’re serious about joining their team. Start off by simply checking the ‘About’ page on the company website to get a feel for the business’ history, and learn who the senior team members are. This can give you an idea of who to look for on LinkedIn or Twitter, and may even help you learn about your potential interviewer.
Checking the business’ social media pages can also give you a feel for the company culture and values. It’s important to know this information going in, as you can present yourself accordingly in the interview. For example, a corporate business will likely expect you to be formal, and focus more on your job experience. In contrast, a more creatively-minded or casual company culture may provide a more personal approach in interviews.
It’s important to find a job with a company culture that suits you. More employers are realising the importance of having a team that works on the same wavelength. Experts have found that employees enjoy their work more when they’re surrounded by people whose needs and values are consistent with their own. This leads to better relationships within the teams, and boosts productivity. Presenting yourself during your interview in a way that fits in with the company culture can be crucial to landing that dream role.
4. Dress (and pack) accordingly
Similarly, culture can have an impact on what you should wear to your interview. As a rule, it’s best to stick to the formal side, even when a business appears to be more casual. If you have a contact at the company already, you could ask for advice on what type of outfit to wear. Otherwise, stick to a suit, particularly if your research suggests the business is corporate. Casual companies can be more lenient with the dress code, however for men, a collar is recommended, while women can get away with a smart pair of jeans and a blouse.
In any case, it’s essential that your outfit is cleaned and ironed, and fits well. You want to be as presentable as possible, which means thinking about the little extras—have your shoes shined, trim your nails, and do a little pampering. Having a facial, hair trim, or a shave can help you feel your best, which further boosts your confidence during the interview.
You should also have at least two copies of your CV to hand, as you never know who you’ll be meeting with. It can also be helpful for you to have a copy during the interview for your own reference. You should also have your list of references printed out, just in case your interviewer asks for it. Be sure to keep it short, including only the relevant details for each person. Finally, clear out your bag or briefcase, so it only holds your essentials, letting you stay as organised as possible.