In this series we’re looking at all the aspects you should consider in depth before searching for a new job. My aim is to help you better understand your career options and how you can give yourself the best chance of achieving them, whilst avoiding the pitfalls some people fall into every day.
Your initial hard work and strategy is starting to pay off with invitations to attend interviews. As when you started your job hunt, when it comes to the interview, preparation is the key to success. You must start by researching both the company and interviewer. This is incredibly important. Just as you are checking out the company and the role, they are doing their research on you to make sure that you are serious about working for their company in a specific role.
Three key things you need to know about the company:
• Who the company are
• Where they have come from
• Where they are potentially going.
You must read the company’s website in detail, read all of their pages, not just their ‘About Us’ page. You also need to make sure that you carry out your own market research. Start by searching for news articles about the company and look for industry events or seminars that they have been involved in on YouTube or the company’s Facebook or Twitter pages. Also, check to see if there is any staff feedback on sites such as Glassdoor and GitHub.
Know who is interviewing you. Thanks to social media sites it’s easier than ever to find out about your interviewer. Get to know their background and who they really are by using LinkedIn, Twitter and internet searches. Do your research and getting some extra information on the person interviewing you could really help you out during your interview.
The Interview Process
To effectively prepare and feel confident in an interview, it is always best to be aware of what the interview process is going to be.
Is it a one-on-one interview with a manager?
Are there team members involved?
Will there be a technical or psychometric test?
How many interview stages are there?
Most interviews will be competency based. It’s worthwhile understanding this style of questioning and preparing possible answers that will show you in your best light.
Getting to the interview
First impressions are very important; don’t turn up late. Check travel schedules and find out the exact public transport times for your journey and allow plenty of time for any potential delays. Make sure that you don’t forget to take walking time into consideration. If you are going to drive to the interview, I suggest you allow extra time for traffic delays and that you have checked out the parking situation.
If you turn up early, that’s fine but don’t go into the company immediately. Turning up more than 20 minutes early can actually be seen as a negative, so go grab a coffee and kill some time rather than sweating it out in reception. On the other hand, if you are running late, ALWAYS call ahead and let the company know.
You need to think about what you are going to wear. Don’t take anything for granted here. While business attire is the accepted norm, not all companies operate like that. Turning up to an interview at a Tech Start-up in Shoreditch wearing a suit could be a real turn off for the company. Likewise, just because a corporate company has ‘dress down’ Fridays, it doesn’t mean you should turn up to the interview in Converse and a T-shirt.
Finally, you must be confident, not just in your skills and abilities, but in your approach and preparation for the interview. A lack of confidence can show itself in a number of ways. Make sure you are not displaying signs of poor body language, hold yourself well and do not slump in your chair. Communication skills are very important too, you must show the interviewer that you are interested in what they have to say, ask questions and always be polite.
If you turn up to the interview on time, well prepared and present yourself professionally, you should have no problems landing that perfect job.
The next article in this Career Advice Series is called Receiving a Job Offer. The process isn’t over yet, a lot can still go wrong – even at this stage. We take a look at where mistakes can still be made.
By Roger Mills, Co-founder of Think IT Recruitment.
As always, if there’s anything in this article you would like to discuss, please start a conversation or get in touch with me.