Preparation is the key to a successful interview

There are many factors that will increase your chances of securing your dream job, but the most important by far is doing your homework for that vital first interview.

As a recruitment agency, we spend a vast amount of our time preparing candidates for interview by providing them with all the necessary information on the organisation and the job role, however, we still find candidates sitting in front of the interview panel without having done their research properly.

The first thing to do before the interview is to visit the company website. Most organisations, however large or small, will have a website containing valuable information on the type of business, the size of the company, office locations and even the share price (if relevant). Whilst you would never be expected to learn the mission statement off by heart, a few facts that show an interest in the company will impress your interviewer and open up discussion in other areas.

Suggested – 8 Things You MUST Learn About the Company, Before a Job Interview

We would also recommend reading the job description thoroughly, so you are aware of the exact duties and responsibilities required in the role. Think of examples where you have performed similar duties and also consider areas which would be new to you and how you would overcome these challenges.

Ensure that you have some appropriate questions prepared for the interviewer that you can ask at the end of the interview. Questions such as: ‘How would you describe a typical day in this position?’, ‘What are the prospects for promotion?’ and ‘How much travel is expected?’ are all good questions to ask and show you are engaged in the process.

Find out more – 4 questions you shouldn’t ask in a job interview

Good timekeeping is essential during the interview process. Ensure that you know the exact time and location of the interview and also the name of the person to ask for when you arrive. Consider a trial journey to the office location the day before so you know exactly how long it take to get there and will also allow you to investigate the availability of parking spaces, train stations etc. Late arrival at interviews gives a really bad impression – it is better to be 10 minutes early rather than 10 minutes late!

“Arrive about 15 minutes before, because [in case] you have trouble at the last minute or the person is ready sooner, you’re in good stead then. Arriving late really sends a bad message, no matter what the reason.”

Phyllis Hartman, founder of the human resources company PGHR Consulting, in HuffPost.

Finally, ensure that you are dressed smartly and comfortably, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol beforehand (which should go without saying!) and also switch off your mobile phone. It may seem like common sense, but a surprising number of candidates have been caught out mid-interview by a loud ring or beep!

Further reading

6 job interview tips for success

5 personal attributes an employer wants to see on your CV and in the interview

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