What To Ask At The End Of A Job Interview, And More Tips To Help You ‘Knock It Out Of The Park’
August 19, 2021
July 19, 2021
Job interviews can be tricky. You’ve already gone through the process of perfecting your CV, filling out the application form, and waiting for a response. Yet the final hurdle(s) can sometimes seem daunting. Yet with a bit of know-how, you can prepare for a job interview in a way that’s going to maximise your chances.
As you might expect, there are a few different things to consider here. As well as exploring how job interviews look during current circumstances, we also give a detailed breakdown of everything you need to do to prepare for a job interview.
Before we get into the finer details of how to prepare for a job interview, let’s take a moment to think about how the process might differ during COVID-19. As with many areas of life, the pandemic has meant many organisations have had to adapt their hiring process. As such, you might experience a different interview process. Here are some things that might be different:
Despite all of these factors, much of the advice that we outline from here is applicable no matter what the circumstances are. These are just some extras to bear in mind as you go through the process.
Now that we know about some of the extenuating circumstances you might encounter at the moment, let’s look at how to prepare for an interview. It’s worth noting that a lot of the points we’re covering can apply to just about any interview, whether it’s virtual, face-to-face, a panel interview, or other types.
The pre-interview work can be broken down into three main areas – research, preparation, and practice. As we’ll see, within each of these, there are several factors to consider.
First on your to-do list is some research. You’ll want to know as much as you can going into the interview, as it will help to reduce your nerves and improve your performance. There are three key areas you need to research:
Your ultimate goal with the interview is to demonstrate to the interviewers that you are the best candidate for the role. To do that, you’ll need to know the position inside out. You’ll have to show that you understand the responsibilities you’ll be taking on as well as the expectations of the company.
A good place to start here is with the job description. This should have most of the details you’ll need, including things like the skills, knowledge, experience, and professional qualities the employer is looking for. Spend a few minutes writing down these key points, as well as writing in your own words what the job is about.
You can also expand your research to other, similar roles in the industry. What’s unique about this one? Are there extra responsibilities? Or is the scope slightly more limited? Knowing these key points can help you better prepare for a job interview within your industry.
As well as researching the job, you’ll also want to take a look at the company that’s offering it. You’ll want to find out as much as you can about the business, its aims and ethos, and what the work culture is like. It seems like a lot of information, but much of it is readily available.
Once again, doing this research not only shows that you’ve taken an active interest in the role and company, but it also helps you work towards a better performance in the interview. It means you won’t be caught out by questions about the organisation and can have some of your own ready at hand.
Here are some of the ways you can research the company as you prepare for a job interview:
You can also ask people you know who currently work there or have done so previously. As you do your research, make sure to note down any recurring themes, important qualities, or standout points.
When you’re writing your application, you’ll no doubt have already spent time perfecting your CV. So why revisit it now? Well, there are a few reasons to do so as you prepare for your interview.
First, it gives you a refresher on what you’ve already sent over to the company. The interviewer will likely have a copy of this to hand, so you don’t want to get caught out by any questions they have about it. Whether it’s employment gaps or specifics about previous roles, you’ll need to be able to explain them.
The second reason to revisit your CV is to compare it to the lists and notes you’ve already made. When it comes to the job description, you’ll want to pull out all the skills and experience in your CV that are relevant to it. Similarly, for the company aims, ethos, and culture, you can find related examples in your document.
It’s always a good idea to remind yourself of some of the essential skills for your career that you can talk about in the interview.
As the old adage goes, proper preparation prevents poor performance. Trite as it may be, it’s certainly true. If you want to ace your interview, you’re going to need to do some groundwork for the day itself – it’s a vital element as you prepare for a job interview. Again, the exact format of the interview may differ, but the basics will remain the same. Here are some of the things you’ll want to prepare:
When it comes down to it, interviews are often a matter of how to sell yourself. You need to know what your key strengths and skills are and how they relate to the job in question. We’ve already covered how to link these two points, so you now need to think about how to bring them into the interview situation.
A good place to start is to think about some answers to common interview questions. Of course, it’s impossible to know exactly what they’re going to ask you, but by having some stock answers, you can adapt them for the situation.
As well as some industry-specific answers about your achievements, experience, aims, and salary expectation, you should also think about some of the broader questions, including:
After you’ve successfully answered some grilling questions during the interview, the last thing you want to do is not have anything to fire back with. Having some insightful questions to ask the interviewer(s) can not only show that you’ve prepared but also demonstrate that you’ve thought about the role and the company.
Once again, you’ll find that your research phase has served you well here. By looking at the role, company, and what other people have to say about them, you should be able to come up with some thoughtful questions. Whether it’s about their adoption of current digital workplace trends or cultural diversity, make sure you have a few. Some useful ones include:
You’ve done your research, prepped some questions and answers, and are fired up for the main event. But you get lost on your way and end up being 20 minutes late without being able to call. Disaster. To avoid such an incident damaging your chances of getting the job, make sure to plan out how you’re going to get to your interview.
Spend some time looking at the route and how long it’s going to take. Give yourself plenty of extra time to account for traffic or other unforeseen delays. You can even practice the route itself if it’s nearby, as this can help reduce some of the anxiety on the day of the interview.
If your interview is taking place remotely, you don’t have to worry about route planning. However, you do need to make sure that you have your technology tested and working. If you need to, a quick brush up on your digital technology skills can help.
A quick run-through of things like your webcam, headset, internet connection, and presentation (if applicable) is an essential part of how to prepare for a job interview taking place online.
The final part of your interview prep should be practice for the day itself. Even if you have everything planned out in your mind or written down on paper, you’ll want to spend time perfecting how you’re going to say it. Here are some areas to focus on:
You want to make a good and lasting impression in your interview. Positive and confident body language, as well as a strong and clear voice, can go a long way to making you stand out. Whether it’s a face-to-face interview or not, make sure to sit up straight and smile. If it is an in-person interview, make sure to maintain eye contact. Don’t slouch, cross your arms, or fidget too much.
You can learn about what makes an effective presentation if you need to deliver one as part of your interview. We also have a course on presenting your work with impact, which can help you effectively get your message across.
A good idea is to record yourself as you practice some of your answers. When you listen back, you’re sure to spot areas you can improve on.
If you want to take things one step further, you can recruit a friend or relative to help you run through a mock interview. After you’ve brought them up to speed on the role and the company, you can either give them some pre-set questions or let them use their own creativity.
Approach this trial run as if it was the real thing, from greeting the ‘interviewer’ to entering the room, to the body of the interview itself. Not only does this give you the chance to practise your answers and questions, but it also means you can get feedback from someone else.
You can also check out our course on how to succeed at interviews. Here, you’ll learn some of the tools you’ll need to be successful, no matter what type of interview you face.
Now that we know how to prepare for a job interview, it’s time to think about the next steps. Your hard work isn’t quite done the moment you walk out of the door. Instead, you’ll want to think about sending a follow-up note afterwards.
In this message, you’ll want to thank the interviewer and mention the job role you interviewed for. You can also make reference to any particular areas that seemed especially relevant to the interviewer. Connect this point to your own ambitions or skills. Finally, sign off by saying you’re happy to answer any additional questions, and that you’re looking forward to hearing from them.
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August 19, 2021
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