Preparation: How to prepare for an interview

Once you have received confirmation of an interview date it is important to make preparations. This can be done by going to the company’s website to read about any latest developments, useful facts such as where the company operates, up-to-date information and news, especially if there is a press releases section. This will give you details of news items that have been released to the media and will prove to an employer that you have done your research.

If there is limited information on the company website; call the reception and ask for a brochure to be sent to you. Most companies and organisations produce annual reports, brochures or other literature. Other good sources of information include careers offices, Jobcentres, libraries and business information services and, of course, the internet.

Doing this will help you to:

  • give better answers to interviewers’ questions
  • give you ideas for questions to ask
  • show that you are interested in the company
  • show that you are motivated to get the job

Make sure that you fully understand the responsibilities and requirements of the job so that you can present your skills, experience and abilities effectively. Read over your copy of the application form or letter and your CV and write down examples of your strengths for relevant areas such as:

  • qualifications
  • skills
  • experience
  • personality
  • abilities

These often form the basis for typical interview questions.

If you have evidence of your skills and knowledge, for example, certificates, employer reports from a Saturday or evening job or your record of achievement, take these with you to the interview.

Address your weaknesses

If you do not meet all the requirements for the job, do not give up. Think positively about how you could convince an employer that in spite of any gaps or weaknesses in your experience or knowledge, you are still the right person for the job. For example, a job may require knowledge of book-keeping. You may not have knowledge of book-keeping, but you can always learn by taking a course. Make sure you let your potential employer know that you are willing to learn and are interested enough in the job to take positive action.

If you are asked to mention some of your weaknesses during an interview, stay positive. For example, being a perfectionist might be your weakness but you could make it sound positive by saying that you like to be thorough and do your best with your work. Before the interview make sure that you have thought about areas of weakness or gaps that need to be addressed and write an action plan for dealing with your weaknesses.

Interview techniques to help you get the job