How to Prepare for an Interview

If you read my post on job hunting in London, you’ll know that interviews aren’t actually something that bother me all that much. This might change as I inevitably become jaded by the constantly spinning wheel of London life, being let down and taken advantage of – or so I’m told! But for now, I’m seeing interviews as a positive thing, a chance to find out more about the company and show them why I’m the right person for the job. Or, a chance for me to find out I’m not the right person for the job and they aren’t the company for me.

One of the major reasons I am able not to feel daunted by big interviews is the preparation I put in beforehand. This might be as simple as reading the company’s website the day before if you are applying for a weekend or after-school job. However as I’m competing in the graduate market since I’ve recently graduated from University most positions I am applying for are hotly contested and I need to put in the preparation to show why I deserve the opportunity.

Research is key!

Before you go in to an interview, I want to know what to expect to give myself the best possible chance. There are a few key points and ways you can research the company in order to arm yourself with all the information you need

  • Google them: potentially exceptionally obvious, but I mean really googling them. Google map the office so you know exactly how to get there, what you’ve got around you and use street view so you can see the exterior of the office so you’re not walking up and down on interview day. Click on the news tab to see when they’ve been mentioned in recent stories and if there’s any breaking news you can bring up during the interview to show that you’re active and enthusiastic about the brand.
  • Know their competitors and what makes them unique: if you’re applying for a marketing job, know who the other main marketing company’s are and why the company you are applying for is different. Brands work tirelessly to promote their USP so by mentioning it and illustrating you understand it they will appreciate your efforts.
  • Check their social media: company’s will often retweet or share information they want to promote and social media is a great way to see what the brand is saying directly from the source. I also think social media is a great way to check out the office culture, see if they include photos or videos of social activities or charity events they participate in.
  • Try and find a recent case study or project and make yourself aware of how the brand created it and what they achieved. They might ask you for examples of their work that you enjoyed or what attracted you to them in the first place and being able to discuss their own work with them shows you are interested in the industry as a whole.

Show your skills

One thing I did recently for a job interview which I think really helped was to print out the job spec and go through each individual pointer and write down how I could display that. For example, the job I applied for included working on events so I wrote beside it a list of events that I had helped organise and what I achieved with each one. This way you know you are going in armed with the right skillset and it can really help affirm that the job is for you.

One question I have always been asked, no matter whether it’s a graduate job in London, a Summer internship or working in my local newsagents, is “Why you?” What can you bring to the job and company. Whether that’s endless enthusiasm, specific knowledge of the subject, contacts in the industry or whatever. Everyone has something unique to offer, so make sure you know what you’re bringing to the table before you go in.

Know Yourself

With that being said, it’s also important to know where your weaknesses lie. Very few jobs are completely independent with no sense of teamwork, so weaknesses aren’t something to be ashamed of. They also are not trying to trick you by asking you this question, they simply want to know what areas you’ll want to lean more heavily on your teammates. However I was always told to pick a weakness that could be turned into a strength. For example, I am so not a morning person. It takes me a good hour or two after getting into work to produce my best, but this means I work exceptionally well in the afternoon and can be even more productive. I’m also super enthusiastic and chatty, and whilst this means I can sometimes get carried away, it also means I’m confident enough to speak to people and put myself out there and have the energy to see a project through. Basically, there’s no such thing as a weakness.

Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comments so we can all learn from each other and don’t forget there’s a pinnable image at the bottom of the post so you can save it for later!

My tips on how to prepare for an interview, pinnable graphic

18 thoughts on “How to Prepare for an Interview

  1. Some super helpful tips here, you’re right, research is key. I like your suggestion about taking a printout of the job spec, that’s a really good idea, and gives you something to refer to as well as making you look prepared. My only tip is to remember an interview is a two-way process: they need to convince you to come and work for them as well! Great post 🙂 Lisa x

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