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Preparing for an interview

It is absolutely critical to prepare carefully for an interview. You will quickly get found out if you haven’t ‘done your homework’ before going into an interview, and it is very rare that people get offered a position if they have not prepared in advance – employers often comment on how easily they can spot candidates who have not done so.

This means doing your research! You will probably have already done some research into the company/organisation when writing your application, but it is even more important to do it for your interview. It’s not so that you can recite facts and figures back to the interviewer, but you have to show that you are interested in them, that you are aware of some of the current challenges they might be facing as an organisation, and be ready to offer an opinion. See if they have been in the news recently, or what they are saying on their Twitter feed. Who are their competitors? Who are their customers? How might the current economic climate, or other factors, be affecting them as a business?

You should also make sure you know they job you are applying for as well as possible. That might sound like an obvious thing to say, but make sure you really read through the information they have provided before you go to an interview. Ideally you should do more than that – try and find out more about jobs similar to the one you are applying for. Read occupational profiles online, see if you can find other descriptions of this kind of job.

There are also some practical things to think about when preparing for an interview. It might sound obvious to say it, but make sure you know where the interview is, and how long it will take you to get there, especially if you are reliant on public transport.

Make sure you dress smart. Even if they have told you it is a relatively informal interview, you still need to be dressed appropriately – for most jobs, this probably means smart business dress (e.g. a suit). Take a copy of your application with you (along with any other documentation they ask for), and make sure you re-read that ahead of your interview.