A guide to succeeding at job interviews
13 Apr 2023
Prepping for an interview goes a long way toward helping you get a job.
However, knowing how to prepare for job interviews can be difficult, especially if you find that they make you anxious or overwhelmed.
But with these tips it should hopefully make the interview process less daunting and easier to plan for.
Do plenty of research on the company
Researching the company you're interviewing for beforehand will allow you to understand their mission statement and values, and see whether they align with your own.
You can also learn about company projects and whether they have worked with any other key brands, which will help make you more prepared for answering and asking questions during your interview.
Prepare for various types of interview questions
Interviewers usually ask a variety of questions, based on behaviours and competencies.
Behavioural questions tend to be based around how you handled certain situations in previous roles; this allows employers to see how you would approach potential challenges and whether you would see them as opportunities rather than disadvantages.
Competency based questions are used to find out how you’ve used specific skills in certain situations. This will give employers an idea of how you approach problems, tasks and challenges.
Below are some examples of behavioural questions:
- How do you approach problems?
- Tell me about a time where you showed leadership skills.
- Are you better at working in a team or on your own?
- Tell me about a time when you failed.
- Tell me about a time when you worked well under pressure.
To prepare for these types of questions you could write a list of your strengths and weaknesses and how they’ve previously been applied to situations.
You can also prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions, such as:
- Could you tell me a bit more about yourself?
- How did you find out about this role?
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- How do you handle pressure at work?
Prepare for multiple types of interviews
Some interviewers may have multiple types of interviews throughout different stages of the interview process, meaning it’s good to prepare for a variety of situations. This can help calm your nerves and improve confidence.
Types of interviews can include:
Out-of-office interviews may include meeting an employer for a coffee, lunch or dinner. You should always aim to turn up at the restaurant or interview before the interviewer. You could also look at the menu before you arrive, as well as researching the venue to see if there’s a dress code, whether there is parking and any other bits of information that can help you feel as comfortable as possible during the interview.
Video and phone interviews
If you’re undertaking a video or phone interview you should focus on your environment. You want to be in a quiet room, where you’ll be free from interruptions and distractions. You also want to make sure you have appropriate lighting so that the employer can see you properly and have a good first impression.
Wifi is also extremely important when it comes to video and phone interviews, as you want to make sure your wifi is strong enough to hold a good connection. If you find you're having problems with your wifi on the day you could switch to using your mobile phone data/4G to help boost your signal.
Group interviews tend to involve multiple candidates answering interview questions or completing tasks together, so that interviewers can see how strong your listening, communicative and team working skills are.
Group interview tasks can include:
- Group presentations
- Role playing activities
- Discussing case studies
Prepare questions to ask your employer
At the end of most interviews, interviewers will ask if you have any questions to ask them. Preparing questions beforehand shows that you’ve taken the time out to properly prepare for your interview.
Asking questions gives you the opportunity to understand more about the company you’re applying to. You can ask questions like:
Read our blog for more guidance on questions to ask employers.
- When will I hear back from you?
- If I was offered the job, what could I do to prepare?
- What opportunities for growth, progression and training do you offer?
It’s extremely important to act professionally before, during and after your interview to ensure you make a great impression on your interviewer. You should also ensure that you dress appropriately based on the type of interview you have and where it’s taking place.
During an interview you shouldn’t:
- Turn up late
- Mumble or speak too quickly
- Speak negatively about previous employers
Make sure you bring relevant documents to your interview
Usually employers will ask you to bring certain documents into your interview, however you can consider taking in the following items, even if they don’t ask for them:
- A printed version of your cv
- Your portfolio
- A written list of questions you would like to ask the interviewer
- A notebook and pen to make notes
Being yourself in an interview is a great way to put your best foot forward, as it helps the employer see the real you. This will also help you remain positive and confident throughout the interview, knowing that you were true to yourself.
Follow up after the interview
It can be beneficial to follow up with your interviewer after an interview, as it shows that you're keen about the role you've applied for and it gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have forgotten to ask previously.