The week before - preparation
Read the job description and person specification again. Make sure you know it inside out and write down any questions you may have.
- Have a look on their website and particularly the department the role sits in.
- Google the organisation and see what campaigns they have on at the time or coming up. Review their last two annual reports to get a sense of their plans, progress and successes.
- Check their news releases on their website and set up a Google alert for the organisation as soon as you get called for an interview. That way you’ll be totally up to date with what’s happening at the organisation.
- Don’t forget to research the people you will be meeting. The best place to do this is LinkedIn but there may be other sources as well. Have they written any articles? Do they write for a blog? Have they been interviewed? Do they have any presentations uploaded on SlideShare? If the organisation has a Facebook page or a Twitter account, are they active on there? Don’t forget the competition! Make sure you have a sense of what other similar organisations are doing in your area and what’s happening in the sector more widely that may be relevant.
Preparing yourself for their questions
- Always use numbers wherever you can to quantify your achievements. Think about details like – How many people you have managed, what your team and personal target was, what % over your target that was. Use examples to illustrate your answers.
- Have answers prepared for the standard questions e.g. why do you want to work for us? Tell us a bit about yourself’
- Think about what questions they may have in relation to your CV or your area of expertise
- Prepare examples for skills and achievements you want to highlight
The day before - the basics
- Plan your journey, allow plenty of time and always have a route B.
- Check the joining instructions i.e. where do you report to? Make sure you have all the contact details you need.
- Read through any application materials you sent – CV, cover letter, application form.
- Charge your phone
- Get a good night’s sleep!
- On the day - - think positive, act positive, feel positive
- Take a notebook and pens. You can have some notes on here as well as questions for them.
- Keep a folder of any supporting information they may want to see and copies of your CV
- Always dress up rather than dress down. Take a spare pair of tights/tie (delete as appropriate!)
When you arrive
- Time: Have a ‘Plan B’ for how you will get to the venue. Get there a little ahead of time so you can freshen up and gather your thoughts. If you are delayed, let the organisation know as soon as possible as well as the recruitment organisation acting on your behalf.
- Be friendly: Build a relationship with everyone you meet (and before, that person behind you in the queue at the café could be on the interview panel!) Be positive and interested when meeting to other members of staff (e.g. reception). They will form first impressions too. They may play a role in your interview process, may be future colleagues.
- Smoking: If you do smoke, try not to have one just before you walk in. A mint never quite does the job of covering it up.
- Coffee: Avoid having coffee just before your interview, even if you are offered one when you arrive. Caffeine can increase feelings of nervousness.
- Gum: Leave it outside – preferably in a bin so you do not step on it in your haste to leave after the interview! Mobile: Switch it off before you enter the venue.