When called for interview and you have a short time to prepare for it. Your objective is to collect enough information to acquit yourself well at the interview, but also to be sure this job will be right for you. This is a two way street, and both parties must be sure they can work together.
I you don’t already have it, request a job description, and some information about the format of the interview.
Will it be a face to face interview with one person, or a panel? Will it be a full day interview with multiple candidates?
Your research consists of finding out whatever you can about the company, its ethics, mission, operation, products and customers. Try to experience the company’s products yourself if possible –if they are manufacturers assess their product, if they are retailers, visit the shops, if they are restaurateurs or hoteliers, use their establishments.
A company website is an invaluable tool here, they may profile the person you are meeting at interview, state their mission, explain their operation and services. Make sure you read everything on the website, your interviewer will expect this as a minimum.
Then you need to understand the role that is being interviewed for, what would be expected of you, and work out how you can contribute in that role, using your specific skills, experience and abilities.
Go through the job specification very thoroughly, look at responsibilities, reports, and competencies. Prepare an anecdote about each of the key competencies, illustrating how you have demonstrated the competency in your work or personal life.
Prepare a short pitch explaining why you are the perfect for for the position and be prepared to illustrate your case with quantified examples from your career to date.
Then you need to have a list of questions that you need the interviewer to respond to so that you can determine if this is the role for you. But make sure you are not asking for information that is available on the company website ! There is no surer way to expose your research as lazy and incomplete.
If you know anyone who works at the company, arrange to have a chat with them and find out what it is like to work for the organisation, what is the ethos, do they know your intended department, interviewer, and colleagues? Can they give you the inside track?
Don’t worry too much about the package that may be offered at this stage, but while you are doing your research it is worth collecting relevant information about salary, terms and conditions, which you may need later. The likelihood is that the package won’t be discussed at first interview, but have an idea of what would be acceptable to you, in case it is brought up.
Preparing for an interview, Key Facts
- Research –use the website, experience the product.
- Ask about the interview format
- Ask for the job description
- Prepare short anecdotes illustrating how you have demonstrated the key competency in your work or personal life
- Prepare your pitch -why are you the perfect for the position.
- Illustrate your case with quantified examples from your career to date.