Preparing for your interview – top tips for getting interview ready

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Like all aspects of the working environment over the last couple of years, interviews have changed due to circumstances. Not too long ago, the interview process would be predominantly an in-person affair, if the job was within travelling distance and visiting the premises was permitted. Interview preparation would consist of rehearsing your responses and making sure your appearance and demeanour would elicit the right reaction from your prospective employer.

Changing times

But interviews for jobs further afield – in other countries or sometimes on the other side of the world – have always relied on more remote methods. Due to the pandemic, social distancing and the rise of work from home, there are many more opportunities now for interviews to take place over the phone or onscreen over the internet, via such platforms as Skype or Zoom. It has also become much more commonplace for employees not to meet their work colleagues until much further down the line now, rather than in a training or induction period.

Achievements and ambitions

Whatever the media of communication, your preparation should be largely the same. Anyone preparing for an interview should be confident about who they are. Appearance and first impressions matter, so think about what you are going to wear – and how you will appear onscreen if the interview is remote, or in person, if you are attending a formal interview. If you are having an interview over the phone, it’s very difficult to create a fully-rounded impression of who you are. Sometimes however, phone interviews are ideal for complete impartiality when it comes to hiring new employees – without appearance, age, ethnicity or even name taken into account.

Make sure you are completely up-to-date with your CV and that it’s an accurate reflection of your abilities and career. Also ensure that you can talk knowledgeably and enthusiastically about your achievements and ambitions.  Don’t over-egg the enthusiasm or ambition, but be honest and define where you’d like to see yourself in the future. Think about how you can best phrase your responses.

Be prepared and be confident

Interviewees should have conviction in their abilities and play to their strength, whilst if they have to, also acknowledging their weaknesses. One of the curveballs thrown by interviewers these days is a question like: “Can you identify your weaknesses?”, with the stock, instinctive, usually untruthful reply being: “I don’t have any”. Being able to identify where you may have room for improvement isn’t doing yourself a disservice, but rather demonstrating self-awareness.

Experience and a broad range of interests beyond your chosen field of work are often as important as qualifications and ability. Being able to connect with people on different levels, across different subjects, will demonstrate that you are a great communicator. Talking  knowledgably about a range of subjects and with passion, can show an interviewer there is more you than your CV may indicate. It’s easier said than done, but try not to be too nervous and try to answer any questions as succinctly as possible. If you are uncertain how your responses sound, record your voice and listen to what phrases work best for you.

All this preparation will go towards making sure you give your interviewer a fully-rounded snapshot of your personality and abilities – and your best shot at landing the role.