There are no second chances.
That’s what makes interviews so nerve-wracking (or some might even say terrifying!)
In any interview, there will always be some factors – like the calibre of other candidates, setting of the interview or who your interviewers are – that are beyond your control.
Forget about those.
Instead, focus on what you can control.
Prepare a strategic interview action plan for before, during and after your interview.
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Here’s how to prepare for an interview:
Before the Interview
1. Get Your Elevator Pitch Ready
Prepare a 30-second summary about yourself.
It should capture who you are, your career narrative and your work history.
Check out this elevator pitch example:
2. Familiarise Yourself with Every Detail in Your CV
“You were a Senior Software Engineer at ABC Company. How did you solve this XXX problem mentioned in your resume?”
Don’t get caught off guard!
Your interviewer uses your CV as a point of reference for questions.
Before your interview, ensure you’re well-versed in every line of your CV.
Be prepared to go into detail when asked, especially on any project you’ve worked on, or achievements you’ve listed in your CV.
3. Prepare for Standard Interview Questions
It also helps to prepare for standard interview questions beforehand. These include:
- Tell us about the hardest decision you have had to make
- Name one accomplishment you are most proud of
- Name 3 of your greatest strengths and weaknesses
- Share an experience in which you had to exercise leadership
We share strategies here on how to answer the most common interview questions.
4. Research about the Company
Showing basic knowledge about the firm demonstrates your eagerness for the role and puts you in a positive light.
- Company mission and brand values
- Core product categories and segments
- Largest or emerging markets they operate in
- Unique Selling Points/Competitive Advantages
- Growth through recent years
You can find this information on companies’ websites, through news articles, annual reports, Wikipedia, Crunchbase and Bloomberg.
During the Interview
5. Introduce Yourself to the Interview Panel
It’s normal to feel nervous at the beginning of the interview.
Before you step into the room, smile!
Research shows that whatever emotions you express on your face will trigger the same feelings within you.
Diffuse anxiety by giving the interviewers a good, firm handshake upon entering the room.
Introduce yourself, and try asking what their names and titles are in the company.
Remember – an interview is not an interrogation. It’s a conversation!
6. Mind your Body Language – Act Like You’re in the Role
Your body language during the interview speaks volumes! Use this to your advantage, starting with the firm handshake.
Throughout the interview, maintain a confident but comfortable posture. Expand your chest and adopt a wide stance. Breathe calmly.
This eases your nerves and leads to a more relaxed conversation with your interviewers.
Avoid fidgeting! Brushing your arms, shaking your legs or playing with your fingers give the impression that you are nervous, lowering their impression of you.
If you really must, and if your legs are hidden behind a table, you can try wiggling your toes in your shoes to ease some discomfort.
7. Share Relatable Anecdotes/Stories
It’s a human tendency to prefer those you can relate well to.
So strive to make a connection with your interviewers by sharing personal anecdotes and stories.
Think of stories along the lines of:
- Example of a challenge you faced and overcame
- When you led your team to solve a problem
- When you made a mistake, and what you learnt from it
- Your favourite experience working with your team
- The most interesting experience you’ve had at work
After the Interview
8. Follow Up with a ‘Thank You’ Email
Be gracious and email your interviewers after the interview to thank them for their time.
This leaves a positive impression of you.
In the note, you can include additional information that you weren’t able to cover during the interview. But do keep it brief!
And that’s it! Now you know the basics of how to prepare for an interview.
For additional job search advice, job interview tips, and more, check out our other blog content below.
If you found this article useful, you might also like:
- 12 Common Job Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)
- 10 Worst Job Interview Mistakes
- 5 Ways to Land More Job Interviews
- Writing Thank You Emails after a Job Interview (with Samples!)
- Writing Follow Up Emails after a Job Interview (with Samples!)
- Resume Samples, Templates & Tips
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