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How to Prepare for an Interview

Posted on 16/06/2022 by Jo Hodge

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Preparing for an interview can greatly increase your chances of being offered the job, and will enable you to answer questions in a more confident and articulate manner. Here are TPP’s top tips to ensure you are fully prepared for your interview:

The interview

  • Where is the interview? Make sure you are on time, and if you are worried about travel or parking, always leave extra time. It is a good idea to have your route planned and check for travel disruptions. Have a map and take the address, contact name and telephone number of the company as well as TPP’s number in case you get lost or are running late.

  • Consider what an employer is looking for in a successful applicant? This could include: -

    • reliability

    • enthusiasm

    • skills/experience outlined in the job specification

Make sure you can confidently demonstrate all of these at interview

  • Cover your experience in your current and previous roles and how this relates to both the job description and the person specification. Wherever possible, make sure you have quantitative examples to offer, eg “I exceeded my target by x%”.

  • Research the organisation beforehand so that you can demonstrate that you have an understanding of the organisation. Search for both the official website and for any news articles featuring the organisation.

    • How many locations does the organisation have?

    • What are their aims and objectives?

    • What projects and campaigns are they currently running?

  • Take an interest in what they are saying, maintain eye contact and listen.

When attending a face to face interview

  • Business suit should always be worn unless told otherwise. If you don’t have one, stick to dark colours, black trousers and a shirt with a smart coat/jacket.

  • No denim or trainers should be worn.

  • Polish your shoes.

  • Hair and make up should be suitable for the role you are interviewing for.

  • Do not smoke before you go into an interview and be aware of heavy aftershave or perfume as this can be overbearing.

  • Do not chew gum in the interview.

  • Double check your appearance before you leave.

  • Ensure that your mobile phone is switched off before you enter the building.

When attending a video interview

  • Dress in formal business attire, as you would in a face to face interview.

  • Ensure you have the link to the meeting and appropriate software required in advance.

  • Be mindful of your background and keep clear of distractions and mess.

  • Set up in a quiet room.

  • Keep emails and other app notifications off or out of sight.

  • Ensure your mobile phone is switched off.

  • Check your internet connection and test your audio before the interview.

  • Look into the camera when talking or answering questions.

  • Be conscious of your body language, occasionally nodding to show you are engaged.

Greeting the interviewer

  • Make sure you greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile. If they take you on a tour, look interested.

  • Speak in a clear, articulate and professional manner, your communication skills will be judged on how you come across in the interview and bad language or an unclear voice will not create a good impression.

Questions

  • You should always have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. It is good to have at least one question about the organisation (make sure the information is not already on the website) and one about your role, for example: -

    • How many people are there in the team at the moment?

    • How would you describe the organisation’s culture?

    • How will my performance be measured?

    • What training and development will I be given?

  • Also, think about questions they may ask you, these could include: -

    • What do you know about us?

    • Why do you want to work for us?

    • What strengths will you bring to the organisation/team?

    • What weaknesses do you have? (Never say none or that you are a perfectionist). Try and think of something that isn’t relevant to the job for example, if you are applying for a role as a Finance Assistant it doesn’t matter if you can’t use PowerPoint! Always try to demonstrate you are working towards/or already have overcome this weakness if relevant to the role.

    • What are your achievements? (always relate this to a work achievement).

    • Why do you want to leave your current role? Never mention personal differences or show negativity towards your current employer or colleagues.

This is just a guideline, every organisation looks for different things so try to be original and think of some of your own questions.

Most importantly…

  • Be positive throughout and try not to waffle - clear and precise answers are always best.

  • Sell yourself, you have to show them you want this particular job and you want to work for their organisation.

Good luck and remember your TPP Consultant is there to assist you and answer any questions you may have.