Interviews are naturally a nerve-wracking experience. There’s only one sure-fire way to alleviate pre-interview anxiety, and that’s preparation.
Research is the key to confidence when it comes to job hunting: if you’re able to talk about yourself in terms of the job role, comfortably negotiate the terminology that a company uses and know you’ve got the answers to tricky questions at your fingertips, you’ll be able to concentrate on presenting yourself to the very best of your ability rather than waste energy by worrying about what’s coming next.
Below are five of the questions you should ask yourself before you go in for an interview. When you’re able to answer them, you’ll be able to confidently answer most of the questions an interviewer asks of you.
1. What are you going to be expected to do?
You probably read the job description thoroughly when you applied, but it’s always worth researching around the role before your interview, too. Look into what you’re going to be doing day-to-day as well as specialist aspects of the job, and you’ll be able to tailor your answers specifically to what’s required.
2. What is going to challenge you?
Re-reading the job description can also help you prepare to answer potentially scary questions, like ‘What are your weaknesses?’. Instead of answering with a cliche (‘I’m a perfectionist!’) or something very general, you will be able to say if you need training in a particular area or aren’t quite clued up on an aspect of the role. It will show you’ve done your homework and are prepared to learn.
3. What are you going to excel at?
Knowing what is expected of you is the first step. Thinking about how you can use your individual talents to expand on a role, how you hope to do things, what more you can bring to the table, will get you prepared to present yourself positively. The goal is to stand out!
4. What is the company ethos?
A thorough knowledge of the company you’re applying for will give you material for asking questions as well as answering them. You can judge if you’re a good fit for the company’s community, advancement opportunities and ethos. Hopefully this will help you think of really relevant, tailored responses and some thought-out queries for the end of the interview.
Familiarising yourself with work they’ve done in the past, and how they present the company progressing in the future, will help you visualise how you can become part of their heritage, too.
5. Do you know your application inside out?
Don’t forget that the strongest example of who you are as a potential candidate has been taken from your covering letter, application letter or CV. Be extremely familiar with what you have included, as chances are the details you included are going to be a strong touching stone for any interview.
Use your preparation period to think up real-life examples which illustrate the skills you have written about in your application, too, and you’ll have some ready-made answers to questions about how you solve problems in the workplace.
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