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Preparation is the Key to Interview Success

​Ashley Strausser, Associate Director at the Centre for Career and Professional Development at Otterbein University, says: “The more time you spend preparing, the more confident you’ll be. Those who have done their research and can articulate how their skills and qualifications align with the position will be prepared, even when they’re asked the tough questions.

Interviews can be intimidating for most people regardless of their level, age, gender, skillset or industry sector. As a recruitment consultant, I often meet candidates who feel uneasy and nervous in the lead up to and during interviews. This can sometimes result in candidates struggling to articulate exactly what they want to say and effectively communicate their suitability for the role.

The interview process is a prime example of this so, here are my top tips to candidates to help them prepare and improve their chance of interview success.

Research the interviewer’s professional background

Look at where they worked before and see if you have any shared connections in your network or perhaps some similar hobbies. Any common ground that you have with your interviewers is a great added bonus. It will help you fill any awkward silence or simply allow you to have a pleasant chat with them while you’re walking from reception to the interview room. A flowing conversation will most likely help you relax into the interview.

Research the company

It’s important to know as much as possible about the company’s growth strategy, number of employees, mission and objectives. The amount of information you are able to find is dependent on the company however, the more research you do, the better. It will show you are prepared and have a genuine interest of getting an in depth understanding on what the company does. The interviewer will surely be impressed if you bring this information into the conversation where relevant.

Use the STAR technique

This technique allows you to plan and practice your answers for competency based questions.

  • Situation

  • Task

  • Action

  • Result

Interviewers want to hear examples, tangible facts and statistics. The STAR technique will enable you to clearly answer these type of questions and show you can add true value through your experience and capabilities.

Be organised

Think about how you’re going to get to the location where the interview is taking place, what you’re going to wear etc. It’s also advisable to make a list with what you need to take with you – CV, ID, portfolio or anything else. Planning these a couple of days in advance will alleviate unnecessary stress on the day.
Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

Asking 3-5 questions at the end of the interview is a sign of being interested in the opportunity. It is essential you participate. This is a good time to find out everything you want to know about the role and the company so you have the necessary information to make a decision if you are offered the job. Remember, an interview is a two-way process. You also need to show the interviewer that you will challenge, speak up and feel comfortable enough to ask when you are not sure of something.
Be enthusiastic

This is one of the most important traits to show however, remember it is possible to be too keen. Getting the right balance is key to presenting your genuine passion for what you do. If you like what you do and enjoy working with people, your interviewer will be more comfortable introducing you to the team and sending you out to meet their clients. We know people buy from people so being engaging and enthusiastic will stand you in great stead.

Preparation is the key to interview success - make sure you dedicate enough time to prepare and stay ahead of the competition. By following the above tips you will increase your confidence, minimize your nerves and excel in your interview!