Preparing for a Job Interview

Preparing for a Job Interview: The Ultimate Guide

Preparing for a job interview can be a daunting task. There are lots of different factors to consider such as the job description, your outfit, interview questions and overcoming interview nerves. Feeling overwhelmed at this stage is perfectly normal, but don’t let your fears get the best of you.

Instead, keep on reading to discover the best tips and tricks to smashing your interview!

This guide has been put together by our recruiter Earlington, who is a veteran of the recruitment business. His expertise has successfully placed hundreds of jobseekers with us here at Merit, and he has enough experience to know exactly what a jobseeker should and shouldn’t do in an interview room.

By the end of this article, you will be prepared for anything your interview can throw at you.

Why is it important to prepare for an interview?

The advantages of advance preparation for interviews are numerous.

The first, and perhaps most obvious answer, is that  if you know what you want to say ahead of time, you can usually articulate it more effectively. The same way an actor needs to learn their lines before going on stage, knowing what you want to say will help you perform between in the interview.

The second advantage is that it will help build your confidence for the interview. We naturally fear things that we do not know, and it can be tempting to stick your head in the sand and avoid confronting those fears. However, the best way to make the nerves go away is to face them head on!

Preparing for an interview gives you confidence, and allows you to create more comprehensive responses to the interview questions. By doing your best to prepare ahead of time, you will be more likely to give a good impression during the interview.

Step One: Identify Your Skills

What makes you the perfect fit for the role?

What can you bring to the job that no one else can?

These are some of the interview questions you may face, so it is important that you think about your skills ahead of the interview.

This isn’t limited to what you are physically capable of, but also your education, interests, and your future career goals. Taking a few minutes to write all of these things down into a list will not only prepare you for any personal questions the interviewer may have, but may also show you that you are more skilled than you think!

Step Two: Research Your Employer

What made you want to work with us?

What do you know about our company?

These are also very common interview questions, which can be very easily answered if you research the company beforehand.

Researching the company involves more than a quick google search. To make sure that you cover all your bases for the interview, here are some of the things you need to be looking for when researching your potential employer:

  • Company’s services / Products: What do they do?
  • The number of employees
  • Competitors
  • Management style
  • Employee benefits

Step Three: First Impressions

Impressions are formed during the first two to six minutes of the interview. Therefore, what you wear to the interview can affect your chances. Decide what you will be wearing in advance and prepare it the night before the interview. You should aim to convey an image of professionalism, authority, and competence.

You may wish to carry a briefcase or a professional-looking notebook with your questions written in advance. This may not only settle your nerves, but will present an image of professionalism to your interviewer. It is often helpful to take a copy of your CV to the interview as well, so make sure to also prepare this in advance.

Always allow ample travel time in order to be punctual. You should arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the interview. Check the fastest route you can take and, if you foresee any issue in your arrival, let the interviewer know immediately. The last thing you want to do is leave them waiting for you.

Step Four: Checklist

Have you prepared everything for the interview? Are you sure?

Here is a checklist to help you make sure that everything is ready for the interview:

  • Made a list of all my relevant skills, including experience, interests and education.
  • Researched the company to the best of my ability and have memorised key facts.
  • Prepared my outfit for the interview including makeup, accessories and toiletries where appropriate.
  • Organised my route to the interview OR contacted the interviewer to let them know of any potential disruptions.

If you have done all of this, then go ahead and get a good night’s sleep! All that’s left to do now is attend the interview and give it your best shot.

Preparing for a job interview can be scary, but doing so will give you the best chance of succeeding with your interview.

Still want some interview advice?

All of our registered candidates receive exclusive CV and Interview advice, as well as notifications about new jobs relevant to their career goals. To make sure that you don’t miss out, head to the Merit Office to register or call 01256 471 508 to speak to one of our recruiters.

Interview Advice