Once you’ve gotten yourself a request to interview, it’s crucial you conduct the relevant preparation to blow the employer away. Don’t get me wrong, practice makes perfect but if you undergo the right steps to prepare the first time around, the job offer could well be yours a lot sooner. These are the steps I would advise you take:
Step 1 – Set the scene
The first step to preparing for an interview is confirming the date, time and location to ensure you can arrive promptly, plan your journey ahead and work towards a timeframe. Consider other external factors that could count against you on the day of interview such as delayed train timetables, bus replacement services or rush-hour traffic and plan to work around it, can you leave an hour earlier or catch a taxi? Is there a nearby coffeeshop that you can visit ahead of the interview?
Step 2 - Read the Job Spec
If you follow my blogs, you’ve probably heard me say this before, but I will say it again - no one job specification is the same! It is imperative you read the job spec thoroughly in preparation, drawing from it comparative responsibilities that match your experience. It is also important that you understand and can communicate how you will be able to professionally develop your skills within the role. Deciphering examples of duties or scenarios that you have undertaken which match the job specification that you are applying for will help an employer understand how you would respond in certain situations and will be beneficiary towards your application.
Step 3 - Research the company
You are lucky enough to be living in the 21st century which makes the process of researching much easier than the days of the yellow pages and first-hand experiences. You should be finding out as much as you can be including the current size of business, services they offer, history, existing team, awards, press releases, most recent hire, trends to hiring strategy etc. Utilise Google, LinkedIn, Company Websites and News platforms to equip yourself with as much as possible so that when you are asked “What do you know about us,” you are able to answer!
Step 4 - Research the hiring manager
People buy from people, simple as that. Find out everything you can about the hiring manager and the person you will be meeting during interview; check out their LinkedIn profile and find out where they last worked, how much experience they have, what they studied, where they grew up, do you have any mutual connections or groups between you? All this information will help you understand their personalities and their background which contributes towards the soft-skills and traits they may be looking for within their team and as their mentee. Finding common ground scientifically allows for a more natural and flowing conversation.
Step 5 - Research their competitors
Demonstrate that you are taking your job search seriously by researching the competitors of the companies you are interviewing with; not only does this prove to employers that you know exactly where you want to be working and who you will be competing with, but it can also help you leverage yourself a better offer. If you can honesty decipher why you want to work for Company X over Company B specifically, whether it be because they use a different software or because they get their birthdays off as extra holiday allowance, let them know ‘why’ them!!
Step 6 - Network
It may be that you are looking to enter a completely new industry and if that’s the case it’s no excuse – get yourself out to beginners networking events and start up-groups so that you can learn as much as possible and potentially even meet new hiring managers within the industry you are interested in. However, if you are looking for that next step within an industry you have already immersed yourself within, ask yourself “who do you know already?” Is there anyone that can help you achieve your next step? Have you worked with anyone previously that could provide you with a recommendation to send a long with your application?
Step 7 - Plan your close
Finally, know how you want the interview to end. This doesn’t mean asking them directly, “can I start on Monday?” though if you are interviewing for a sales role, this has been known to work. But asking them how they expect the rest of the recruitment process to look like will be helpful whilst managing your expectations and will allow you to agree the next point of contact. The biggest tip I can offer you is to ask for a business card and to thank them for their time after the interview.
At GKR London, we advise all our candidates to follow these steps when preparing for interview and to take the preparation just as seriously as the interview itself. Get in touch with our team today if you are hiring and want to meet with a shortlist of candidates who know exactly what they have got themselves into and how they can add direct value!