Preparing for a job interview

Glen Catchpole is the Talent Acquisition Partner for our Commercial teams at Head Office. He’s been with us for over two years and has over 15 years’ experience working for recruitment agencies. During this time, he’s seen plenty of interviews, both good and bad! Over to you, Glen…

Job interviews can cause real anxiety for many of us. When interviewing for a new role, you’re often competing against people with similar skills, experience and qualifications. To make sure you perform as well as possible and stand out from the crowd, preparation is essential. When you feel comfortable with what you’ll be asked and how to respond, where to go and who you’re meeting, the whole experience becomes less intimidating.

Here are my top tips for acing your next job interview:

1 – Research the company

Delve into the company’s background, culture, values, products or services, and any recent news. This knowledge will help you tailor some of your responses and showcase your interest.

2 – Research the interviewer

Look them up on LinkedIn. How long have they been there? How has their career developed? Do you have shared interests, experiences or acquaintances? If so, find a way to weave some of this into the conversation if it’s appropriate – make yourself stand out!

3 – Understand the job description

Identify the key skills, experience and responsibilities required for the role. Be ready to outline your skills and experience in line with what the job entails – make sure you are relevant!

4 – Practice answering common interview questions

Prepare to be asked things such as “Tell me about yourself”, “What interests you about our business?”, “What key skills can you bring to this role?”. Practice your responses and you’ll appear well-prepared and confident.

5 – Be ready for competency questions

Think through your past achievements and how they could relate to the role you’re interviewing for. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique to help structure your answers. Don’t know STAR? Click here for a useful guide.

6 – Dress for success

Think ahead about what you should wear on the big day and make sure it’s clean and ready to go. If in doubt, go smart. Be ready to show them you’re a professional and have respect for the opportunity.

7 – Plan your journey

Google Maps or Google Earth can be a godsend prior to an interview. Plan your route, familiarise yourself with what’s nearby and set off early in case of any traffic issues. Aim to get there in good time, so you can compose yourself.

8 – Prepare some questions

Some well-prepared questions will show your engagement and help you understand what’s expected of you in the job role. Ask your interviewer why they like working there, what they’ve learnt and what they would expect you to achieve during the first 12-24 months.

Finally, remember they invited you to the interview!

Interviews can feel daunting for many of us. Remember, they invited you to come and speak to them which means they like elements of what they’ve seen in your application or CV. Practice talking about those things in a calm and concise way.

An hour or two’s preparation can really go a long way in boosting your confidence and putting you in prime position to ace the interview!

Glen regularly posts on LinkedIn, where you’ll see handy hints and tips, as well as details of our vacancies. You can connect with Glen here.