Getting your dream job
The good news is that a successful interview has a lot to do with preparation and research, so you can take action beforehand to give yourself a good chance of landing the job. Wondering how to prepare? Here are a few tips to help you along your way…
1 Research and understand the job/position
Take time to learn and understand what type of person and skills the company is looking for. Read the advert carefully. It will give you an idea as to what will be expected of the person who wins the position and what kinds of questions youʼll be asked during the interview.
For example, if the job description lists managing staff, itʼs likely youʼll be asked about previous experiences of managing staff, resolving disputes, or staff recruitment.
Itʼs also useful to contact the company (using the contact details provided on the advert) to find out more about the position. This will give you valuable information about the job and help you prepare examples of how youʼve done similar tasks/jobs successfully.
Using the job spec, think about what questions you would ask an interviewee if you were the potential employer and prepare responses for those.
2 Research and understand the company/organisation
Research the company thoroughly. Find out as much as you can about it, especially with regard to products, services, philosophies, history, etc. The internet is your friend at a time like this!
Make sure you have a working knowledge of the company as a whole, as well as the department youʼre applying to work in. Focus on in-depth knowledge about the department you hope to join.
If the company or its employees are active online, subscribe to their RSS feeds, follow them on Twitter and Facebook, and check their LinkedIn profiles.
3 Research and understand the industry
Gaining an understanding of the industry can be difficult for recent graduates. Itʼs to your great advantage if your studies have a substantial practical component as youʼll already have an idea of what itʼs like to work in your particular industry as well as a working knowledge of the way that it operates.
You should also:
Do as much research as you can online, including following your industry on social networks
Speak to people in the field
Gain what experience you can when the opportunity arises (e.g. internships, volunteer work, etc.)
4 Practical issues
If you donʼt have your own car, make arrangements for transport to your interview well in advance. Check routes to get there and make sure you know where to park (and what parking costs). If possible, drive the route and check out the parking beforehand. Also take into account the time of day youʼll be travelling and give yourself ample time to get there.
Most people experience nervousness during (and when preparing for) an interview. If you know this is something that can affect your “performance” in the interview chair, take precautions to make it as un-stressful an experience as possible. Get enough rest, be there in plenty of time, and do things that you know calm you down. Whether itʼs breathing exercises, taking a calming herbal remedy like Rescue, or imagining yourself on a peaceful mountainside, do what relaxes you.
During the interview
If your nerves prevent you from expressing yourself well, try to think of your situation as a conversation rather than an interview. Donʼt be too informal, but listen with interest, think about the questions and take time to formulate your response.
Feel free to ask for clarification on a question if you feel you havenʼt fully understood whatʼs being asked
We all make the mistake of giving bad examples at times. If you think youʼve done this, give another positive example.
Body language is important. Try to come across as relaxed. It will help if you practice the interviewing process with a friend or family member. They can give you feedback on your responses, attitude, and body language.
An interviewer is likely to ask if you have any questions. Think of a couple of questions when preparing for your interview. If youʼre likely to forget, have them written down.
Interviews can make even the most confident of us feel a bit shaky, but solid research, preparation and practice will make a world of difference on interview day. For more invaluable advice on interviews, read Daniell Morriseyʼs “How to prepare for that crucial interview”.
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