20 Great Tips To Help You Ace Your Interview Preparation!

You have just received an interview invite – congratulations! After the excitement settles, you start wondering what you need to be doing between now and the big day.  I have been getting several requests for interview advice from people who are completely new to the world of work and attending their very first interviews.  I often focus on providing “advanced” tips as many experienced professionals are aware of the basics. This article consists of interview preparation 101, for interview novices (or “oldies” who want to refresh their memory). The tips cover what you need to know and prepare from the time you get the appointment to the day of the interview — its all about getting ready. I will address how to answer interview questions and interview techniques in another follow-up blog.

Here is a list of 20 things that should prepare you to ace that interview!

  1. When you get a call for an interview, always get the contact details of the recruiter or HR person that contacted you. This is important in case you need to get hold of them for additional details, clarify something before the interview, or change your interview time.
  2. Ask the recruiter if there is anything you need to bring along i.e. certificates, references or identification documents.
  3. Ask for the job description. You will be surprised how many times recruiters will merely provide you with the job title for the role you are being interviewed for without furnishing a job profile. The job description is important in the preparation process.
  4. Go through the job description and anticipate any questions that may be asked based on the requirements. Do not be surprised if the questions you prepare for do not come up, sometimes job descriptions do not accurately reflect the nature of the role or what you will be asked.
  5. If you do not receive a job description, google similar jobs to get an idea of some of the tasks that may be expected.
  6. It is acceptable to politely withdraw from an interview over email or telephonically if you realise the job is not a right fit for you after you accept the invite.
  7. Write down your main selling points, achievements, skills and experiences you want to highlight during the interview, based on the job description details. Try and have an actual example of how you have demonstrated this skill in the past. Additionally, identify skills that immediately make you valuable to the company in order to position yourself as being a worthy hire who can instantly start adding value. 
  8. Go on to the company website and read about the company! Check their social media accounts, know what they do, their industry, any articles in the media about them, their clients, main products and competitors. If the company has no website or online presence, consider that it may be a scam (see signs of job scams here).
  9. If you have the name of your interviewers, google them or check out their LinkedIn profiles to get some background information about who you will be meeting. Do not invite or reach out to them on Facebook, Instagram or any of their personal social media.
  10. If you know someone who works at the company, ask them a few questions about the company culture and any tips that may help you stand out in the interview process.
  11. Prepare 2 or 3 questions to ask at the end of the interview, not having any questions to ask is seen as lacking interest. When researching the company online, try and formulate some good questions to demonstrate you have accustomed yourself to their business.
  12. Anticipate any concerns or objections the interviewer may have about your suitability (e.g. you may not have enough experience, you come from a different industry, you have not managed a team before etc.). Think of rebuttals for any concerns interviewers may have about your experience.
  13. Do a mock or practice interview especially if it’s your first time. Find an experienced professional like a family member or friend to ask you interview questions and give you feedback on your performance. If possible record yourself and review your performance especially from a body language and posture perspective.
  14. Know how you will get to the interview. Arriving at an interview late is a big No No! Be clear about the distance and directions to the interview location. If you are using public transport, you may even want to do a practice run if you feel unsure of the distance and directions.
  15. Prepare your interview attire. The standard rule is to dress formally unless otherwise stated. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Be neat and presentable.
  16. The morning of the interview, spend a few minutes looking through your CV, job description and any interview notes that you have made.
  17. Arrive 15-30 minutes early. Ensure you have contact details so you can call them if there is a problem.
  18. For personal safety, ensure someone close to you has the details of your interview location as well as interview time so they can know when to expect you back.
  19. When you arrive at the interview, remember to be polite to everyone you encounter in the company, from the security guard to the administrative staff.
  20. Lastly, relax and be yourself.. you’ve got this!!!