Preparing for an Interview: The Basics

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A job interview is one of the most nerve-wracking things you can go through – and watching other people who appear to be more confident, comfortable and prepared than you go in first is one of the great unspoken, shared experiences.

There are a few simple things you can do to prepare, so you can go into your next interview feeling more ready to dazzle, whether its for a social worker job or your next promotion up the corporate ladder!

The Month Before

Begin your preparation early: research the company you’re interviewing at. Look at their history, their aims for the future and the values they aim to embody. Most businesses (especially large corporations) will happily explain these upfront on their website.

Think about how your skills, experience and personality match up those values and ambitions: if the company’s in a state of ambitious growth, look at how you’ve responded to fast changing circumstances, have followed through on projects and built success in previous jobs. If work hasn’t supplied the necessary experience, you can also lean on hobbies and extracurricular activities! Some proactive volunteering could give you exactly what you need.

The Week Before

Go over your CV, comparing its points with the job description. Find the details that will make you stand out, where your qualifications chime perfectly with who they’re looking, or where you can offer something extra. Your first piece of preparation was about culture, this is about the job itself. Make sure you have plenty to talk about, and be prepared to give specifics: how did you gain your experience with a particular piece of software, what was the impact of the project you oversaw?

Claims without specifics are, at best, unconvincing, and at worst could look like you’re covering up a lack of valuable skills. Back your claims with times, dates and figures and you’ll make a better impression.

The Day Before

Lay out your clothes for the interview: use your research on the company culture to inform your outfit! For a traditional, established company go for conservative choices, while start ups may appreciate more informal attire.

The last and perhaps most important thing you can do to prepare is check and confirm your journey: make sure you know exactly where you’re going. It may not be the same as the main office of the business or the main entrance to that office so consult your invitation to interview carefully. Check for disruptions on the roads or to public transport and make sure you can arrive in good time.

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