It’s natural to feel nervous before a job interview. But if you undertake the right kind of preparation, you’ll have a better chance of feeling calm and confident, and the interview is much more likely to go well. Over my years in the recruitment industry, I’ve learned what employers love to see from job candidates, so I’ve put together a list of must-do preparation steps that will help you nail an interview.
1. Do your research (thoroughly)
It’s pretty standard advice to conduct research before a job interview, but a lot of candidates just stick to browsing the company’s website. This is a good start, but with so much information available online nowadays, there’s a lot more you can find out to help you prepare. I recommend researching not only the company, but the people, the industry and the job itself.
After starting with the company website, find out if they have a company Facebook page. Business social media pages usually provide an insight into the culture and ‘personality’ of the organisation and its people, so it’s worth having a scroll through.
From here, move onto LinkedIn – it’s a great source of information on everything from people who work at the company to news from the industry. On LinkedIn, you can take a look at the organisation’s profile and its staff profiles; note who their competition is by browsing through similar business profiles; and brush up on the news and topics currently trending in the industry, as well as recent events like conferences and summits.
One important thing you can do through both LinkedIn and job sites like SEEK is research the actual role you’re interviewing for. Take a look at some similar roles listed on these sites to better understand the scope of responsibilities involved in the position. However, don’t forget to also study the position description of the role you’re going for, if it’s been made available through the job posting or from the employer. It’s vital that you’re ready to respond to each of its criteria points in the interview with solid answers and examples.
2. Know your resume in and out
At any job interview, your interviewers will have studied your resume beforehand, and will likely have it on hand during the interview itself. It’s important that you know your resume off by heart so you can’t be caught off-guard by any questions about past experience, and so you have the best chance at demonstrating your aptitude for this new role.
It can be helpful to get a friend to read over your resume and conduct a mini ‘practice interview’ with you. Have them ask you questions about each of your past roles and the things you’ve achieved throughout your working life.
3. Dress appropriately (and with confidence)
‘Dress to impress’ is common advice when it comes to job interviews, and I do recommend that you dress with confidence, in an outfit that makes you feel both professional and comfortable. However, the golden rule is that interview attire should always be appropriate.
This might mean foregoing the suit and tie if your interview panel will be dressed in hi-vis gear and work boots. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable or over/underdressed; this will only increase your nervousness and make it hard for you to focus on the interview itself. So if you’re in doubt about what to wear, seek advice from your recruiting consultant – they’ll be able to give you some guidance and help you feel confident in your interview attire.
4. Have a social media spring clean
I recommend doing this even before you start your job search, but if you haven’t already, be sure to review all your social media accounts before your job interview. Nowadays, most employers will investigate the social media presence of all their job candidates as part of the interview and screening process. So if there’s anything on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts that you might not want potential employers to see, remove them ASAP.
Take down anything that might make you appear less than professional. As well as checking your own profile and posts, don’t forget about photos you’ve been tagged in by other people, comments you’ve made on other profiles and posts, and so on. It can be hard to tell what employers might dig up or consider offensive, so if in doubt, head to the privacy settings on your accounts and lock down your profiles entirely.
By the way: LinkedIn also counts as social media (believe it or not!), so don’t forget to update your profile pre-interview to ensure it reflects the experience and job history on your resume.
Undertaking these steps will have you feeling prepared, confident and interview-ready in no time. If you’re looking for further job-seeking information or advice, feel free to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0448 811 091.