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Interview preparation

The art of a successful interview is being prepared and anticipating the interview environment. This includes your research on the company, understanding the job and how you fit in with the company and the role. So the more you know about the company and the job role, the easier it will be to answer the interviewer’s questions and the questions you ask will be more relevant.

Preparing for the interview means looking at yourself and modelling yourself into what the client might want. This includes;

  • Review your CV – adjust your CV for each role you apply for.
  • Understand your strengths and areas for development. Try not to think of them as weaknesses because they are areas that you would like to improve.
  • Assess your work and education history.  What transferable skills would be good for the job role?
  • Refresh yourself on the achievements and highlights of your life (can be professional and non-professional). What are you proud of and what have you learnt?

Preparing for the interview process requires research on the company;

  • Go to the company website. This is the easiest way to learn about the company. Try to understand who is who in the company, the products and services they provide and their market position (competitors etc).
  • Do an internet search on the company. This will help you understand what people are saying about the company, its reputation and potential pitfalls. This will also help you prepare for questions to ask about the company.
  • Speak with friends, colleagues and family that may have worked in the company or work in the industry. This will provide you with a wealth of information about the company and the industry.
  • Research the industry. Along with company research you should research about the industry. The interviewer may ask many questions or use terms related to their industry.

Putting it all together for the Interview

Understanding the Job Profile and how it fits with you:

  • Understand the job profile and what skills are required. Look at the technical skills, education, work  experience, team working and personal traits.
  • Look at your CV and identify all the areas where you have a good fit with the job profile. Remember to tell the interviewer why you are a good fit for the job.
  • Understand the areas where there are differences between the job profile and your background. Work on how to reduce the gap. Focus on projects, voluntary work, community activities or training that will help.
  • Look at your core skills and key achievements as they relate to the job and think about how they will be viewed by the interviewer. This will help you assess how you can stand out for this position. These are elements of the CV that you should emphasise in the interview.
  • Do a mock interview. Focus on the job profile by giving examples from your CV of how you fit and giving evidence from your skill base. Also, think about what you are able to bring to the job that will make you stand out from other candidates.

What to wear for an Interview

First impressions last a lifetime. Research shows that interviewers make up their mind about a candidate quickly (less than 20 seconds or so). So you want to make the best impression that you can when you enter the interview room, by dressing smartly and wearing a smile.

Generally the type of clothes will depend on the company where you are being interviewed. Once you have done your research on the company, you will have a better idea of the type of clothes which would be acceptable. The interview could be casual or formal. Also do not assume that you should wear what the current employees wear to work every day for your interview.

Interview attire is generally more formal than everyday office-wear. A smart pair of trousers/skirt and smart shirt will usually be acceptable.  Remember to have clean shoes.

What not to wear in an Interview

  • Do not wear too much jewellery, perfume or accessories. Keep it simple as possible.
  • Do not wear trainers (smart or otherwise), high heels, flip flops etc.
  • Do not have tattoos on display – cover them up by wearing long sleeves or trousers