It’s interesting how different people view interviews. Some people find them extremely daunting; others enjoy the opportunity to present themselves verbally rather than on a cover letter or resume.
Whatever your thoughts are, the outcome of an interview can be seriously improved by doing your research. So, what preparation should be done beforehand?
This depends, in part, in how long since you last had an interview. If it has been years since you interviewed, it is worth updating or refreshing your knowledge of different interview styles and techniques. Some roles have a much higher component of assessments prior to interviews, others focus heavily on behavioural questions, others on answering questions in a video format.
It is worth running through common interview questions. Our experience is that candidates tend to practice their responses ‘in their heads’. While this is a useful first stage, we highly recommend practising your responses ‘aloud’. There is a difference between knowing a response and being able to verbalise it in an interview setting.
Particularly focus practising responses to questions that allow you to demonstrate your skills and experience, in providing examples of achievements or where you have provided value to the company you have worked for. Having assisted hundreds of people to prepare for interviews we find assisting them to provide concrete examples supports their success. Without preparation the interview can turn into the interviewer trying to find specific examples and the interviewee providing more and more general information. Specific, tailored examples as responses is the key.
In attempting to anticipate probable interview questions you need to look at the job description / selection criteria / advertisement provided as well as more general, typical questions. The core responsibilities / competencies / requirements are usually spelt out; a prepared candidate should be able to confidently explain how their experience not only means they have the competencies for the job but also how they have exceeded expectations (where possible) using these skills and experience.
Most candidates have a few ‘tough interview questions’ which they feel nervous about responding to. Or questions they feel worried about asking. Often, they involve salary or reasons for leaving. It is important to think these through and to practise them with someone who is experienced at interviewing. It particularly helps if they know the industry you are interviewing in.