How to prepare for a job interview

By Robert Half on 16th August 2021

So, you’ve been invited to interview for your dream job. It can be daunting, and there is often a lot of competition for the most exciting or sought-after roles – so how do you set yourself apart from other candidates.

Here, we offer our top six tips for interviews to make sure that your experience, knowledge and personality shine through:

 

  1. Know what they are expecting and what you can offer

    Re-read and really interrogate the job description to make sure you know exactly what the company is looking for in their new hire. The more you can understand the interviewer’s expectations, the more you can make sure your answers meet or exceed them.

    You also need to know your CV inside and out, as you never know what the interviewer might pick up on. Not only is it important to refresh your memory of how you presented yourself, you can also think about elements of your CV that fit with the job description, allowing you to offer the most relevant examples and experience during the interview.
     

  2. Be prepared to give specific examples

    Being able to bring past experiences into the present is crucial in an interview. What are your most significant achievements? Will they illustrate key technical and soft skills the interviewer is looking for?

    You don’t always have to have done the same thing previously, but you should be prepared to talk about something similar, the skills you used, and how you can apply that experience and skills to the task at hand.

    It is not always easy to remember everything you have done previously, sometimes it can be helpful to prepare to talk about three or four very strong examples that show multiple skills and could be used as examples for a wide range of questions.
     

  3. Style as well as substance

    Your personality is just as importance as your technical abilities, and it is important that it shines through even if you are nervous. Simple things like asking the interviewer how they are or how their day is going can be a great opportunity to show more of yourself, as well as your soft skills.

    First impressions matter, so try to think specifically about how you will appear in the first thirty seconds of the interview. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately and start with a smile. It is also important to think about what else may be seen during the interview, so choose a neat, undistracting background if possible and a smart notepad if you have notes.
     

  4. Remember your reasons

    Be prepared for commonly asked interview questions. It is almost certain that you will be asked why you want to leave your current role and why you are interested in the role and business you are interviewing for at some point during the process.

    It is important to be respectful and positive about your current employer. Try to talk about a limitation of your current role and why you think working with the new company will address that issue. If you’re telling the interviewer why you want to work there, use specific points that are unique to their organisation.
     

  5. Show your interest

    Interviews are a two-way street. You are being interviewed for the position, but you are also assessing if the business is somewhere you want to work. Asking questions, whether they are about the role, the business or even about the interviewer’s experience of working at the company, can help you work out if a role is right for you, and shows interest in the business that will set you ahead of other candidates.
     

  6. Know your terms

    Be prepared to give details about your salary expectations and notice period, and to do so with confidence. It shows the employer that you have seriously thought about joining the organisation and you will be more comfortable in the interview if you have already thought about what you want. Instead of giving a specific salary, give a range that starts above your bottom line – it helps the employer measure their expectations against your own. 

 

And remember, if you’ve made it to the interview stage, you are starting in a strong position. Those shortlisting applicants must have seen something in you and felt that you had what they were looking for, so you should be confident about your chances. Don’t worry, you’re going to be great.

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