Congratulations! - you've been selected for interview so now you just wait for the day right? Wrong! If you want to be successful, you need to prepare and that means plenty of thought and research beforehand.
Here are some areas to think about:
What do you know about the organisation you're interviewing with? How many staff do they employ, what are their values and culture, what is their financial position? Research their products, history, staff, management team, news and any other information you can find on them via their website or social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The more you know about the company, the more able you will be to provide relevant answers to questions and also ask relevant questions at the end of the interview.
Do you have one? If so, have you read it thoroughly and considered how your skills and experience match what the company's looking for? It's likely the content will be far more comprehensive than the job ad you responded to and may also trigger some additional questions you hadn't thought of from the job ad alone. If you haven't been provided with a position description, contact the company or recruitment agency and ask for one!
Your CV and the role
Take some time to review your CV alongside the position description. What examples can you provide around your experience that are relevant to the job? Behavioural-based interviewing is now common, so taking time to prepare examples before you get to the interview is crucial. Thinking about your "elevator pitch" in response to "tell us about yourself" is also really important as it needs to be informative but concise. Our next blog - coming shortly - will provide more info on this.
What to wear
Plan what you'll wear a few days ahead of time and factor in how warm/cold it will be, whether you'll need a coat/jacket, umbrella etc and make sure all your clothes are spotless and well ironed! If you're unsure of how smart to dress, it's always better to dress "up" rather than down as first impressions really do count.
What to take
Less is better, so if possible, don't arrive for an interview with your sports bag or large holdall! A portfolio (or iPad with examples of your work if it's a digital/media related job you've applied for) and a hard copy of your CV, plus notepad is fine. You may also want to have your referee details on a separate sheet of paper in case you're asked for these at the end of the interview.
What time to arrive
Leave yourself plenty of time so that you don't arrive stressed as well as nervous and aim to enter the company's building 5-10 minutes ahead of your interview.
Finally, remember that as soon as you present yourself at the company, you're being "assessed", so make sure you are polite, make eye contact and smile at everyone you meet.