Competition is tough in the current market, and anyone who shows up underprepared isn’t going to get far. Preparation is absolutely essential if you’re serious about landing the role. Interviews can be daunting and many people ask ‘how to prepare for an interview?’. Well, that old adage is as true as ever:
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Devonshire has coached thousands of candidates through their interview preparation over our quarter-century in business, and we have some solid tips for candidates nervously awaiting an interview.
Hopefully, you already know what the company does. But to get a more thorough understanding of the company and their culture, research them online. Their LinkedIn company profile should tell you how many employees they have and give you a good idea of the size of the company. Their Twitter presence should tell you whether their company culture is corporate or informal (is their social media personable and chatty, or purely towing the company line?). Look through their website – what are their current products? What’s on their news page?
If you know the names of the interview panel, it’s also worth learning about them and their role within the company. Check out the company’s website to see if they appear on there or have written any articles for their blog, so you can potentially have something to mention, which shows you have done thorough research and you’ll be able to build more or a rapport with them.
The company itself isn’t the only important element to consider. You should also research their industry, which includes looking into their chief competitors. Where is the company placed within their market? What products and services do their competitors offer? What are the industry trends that you should be aware of? This shows you have a wider understanding of the market as a whole, and you can even give some suggestions on how to stand out against their key competitors – this will definitely impress the interview panel!
The research you do should of course be relevant to the role you are interviewing for. Have a think about how your current experience matches up to the role and the requirements. Look at the job spec and think of previous examples where you have demonstrated what is required for the role.
If you are up for an IT job, look at their website and get an idea of their needs. If you’re interviewing for a marketing role, take a look at the company’s communications. If you’re a designer, look at how you might improve their current creative.
Plan your day
There’s no point researching the company within an inch of your life if you manage to get lost on the way to an interview. Plan your route, and time it so that you arrive with plenty of time to spare in case of travel delays. It’s far better to stroll around the block a few times to kill time than to rush into the building late, breathless and sweaty. Getting there early leaves a good impression and gives you time to collect your nerves before the interview.
Some people may need additional requirements in the interview, for example, if you’re neurodivergent. Letting the company know beforehand gives them chance to prepare accordingly.
What to wear in an interview
Get your clothes ready the night before, so you’re not frantically thinking about what to wear. If you’re unsure of what to wear, ask! It’s always a good idea to dress smartly and look the part. Make sure your clothes are ironed and your shoes are clean, as first impressions count! Only dress more casually if you’re absolutely certain that’s within line with the company and is expected, however it’s definitely better to be too smart than too casual in most circumstances!
If your interview is over video, still make sure you’re looking the part! Dress as if it was a face-to-face interview, and yes that means wearing normal trousers rather than your pyjamas!
You might look a little strange, but why not talk through your CV in front of a mirror? Interviewers nearly always ask candidates to talk them through their CV and their previous jobs, so what’s wrong with practising? Get it nice and concise without rushing. Just be careful not to end up being too over-rehearsed.
Ask your family and friends to ask you potential questions, so you can get practice in. This gives you time to think of potential answers to these questions, whilst doing it in front of an audience.
Prepare the right questions
At the end of the interview, the interviewer will always ask if you have any questions. Rather than panicking and asking about money, why not prepare a couple of questions? Maybe you’re curious about something you saw on your site, or you just want to know what an average day in the office might be? Or maybe you want to know what their pain points are at the moment, or what you’d be expected to work on?
It also goes without saying that when you enter an interview prepared, you’re also more confident and it alleviates some of the stress, as you’re more prepared. And that can’t hurt!
At Devonshire, we help our candidates prep for their interviews, and want to make sure you’re feeling confident on the day! We deal with people going for interviews day in day out and can give you some stellar advice to help you nail that interview! Register as a Devonshire candidate here.