5 Top tips to gaining the Interview Advantage

Going for interviews can be nerve-racking. There’s the underlying thinking that so much is depending on the impression you create, how you answer the questions and what information you share. The pressure is on to come across as confident and do well, and this is made more difficult because you never really know what to expect. Every company and person will have a slightly different approach and interviewing style.  Can preparation make a difference?

Don’t underestimate the value of interview preparation. Even though every interview experience may be different, when you’re prepared, it helps you relax and answer questions with a greater level of confidence. So what does this preparation look like? Here are our 5 top tips:

1.       Analyse yourself:

How well do you know yourself? An interview is about ascertaining how suitable you are for a particular role and if your personality skills and attitude will be a good fit. You might want the job, but have you examined your motivations? If asked about why you think you’ll be suited to the role, what will your answer be? Because if the true answer is about money or status rather than the value you can bring to the organization they’re quite likely to see through your fake answer. Look at your level of skills and expertise, as well as your strengths and areas you’d like to develop more. How does that compare to the level that you’re applying for? How will those answers look from an interviewer’s perspective? Thinking through these questions will help you define the value you will bring to the role.

2.       Be thorough in your research

Just Googling a company you’re interviewing with isn’t enough. Take the time to really get to know the company and the products and services that they offer. Which industry sector do they operate in? Who are their customers? What are the benefits and features of their products? What are the company values and how does this compare to their industry reputation? Have they been in the news recently? If they have, this is a great conversation starter. Don’t forget to tap into your recruitment consultant.  They’re likely to know the company well and can provide you with some valuable insights too.

3.       Plan ahead

Keeping in mind what you know about the company culture, plan your dress accordingly. For most companies smart business wear is the norm. Make sure the outfit you choose is clean and pressed, and your shoes are polished. Put your clothes out the night before so that you’re not rushing at the last minute. Also, plan the route you’re going to take, check the weather the day before and any updates on transport or traffic delays. Plan to get there at least 30 minutes early, allowing for public transport delays or traffic congestion. If you get there early it’s give you time to relax and compose yourself and it also creates a much better impression than rushing through the door one minute before the interview is due to start. Go for a short walk.  Clear your head.

4.       Questions and feedback

Think about what’s important to you in terms of work environment and career progression and prepare some questions you’d like to ask. Do this to show the interviewer that you are serious about the job and proactive about making it work. Include questions about the future of the company and where it’s going, as well as opportunities to progress. In general, interviewers like enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and people that have a clear vision of where they want to go in their career, so when you prepare questions in this vein, it will place you in a more positive light. If you feel that the interview has gone well, don’t be shy about expressing your enthusiasm and interest in the role.  

5.       Attitude

A positive attitude is always a plus, so go into every interview with the intention of getting an offer. Even if you’re going for more than one interview. It’s okay to weigh up your options, but do that once you have offers on the table, and up to that point give it your all. In terms of commuting and salary expectations, work through these details in advance so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. You don’t want to live with the regret that you should have tried harder in an interview or been better prepared.