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Top Interviewing Tips: Part 5 – Preparing for an interview

Lisa Jobson

Top interviewing tips from Lisa Jobson (pictured), director of talent at Harvey Nash:

  • Now you have secured the interview, focus your attention on getting the job by differentiating yourself from the competition and leaving no doubt in the interviewer's mind you are the person they should hire.
  • Read the job specification thoroughly, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the role and responsibilities so you can directly relate your previous experience to it and the organisation.
  • Researching the company goes without saying. They want to see evidence that you have done your homework and have genuinely thought about why you want to work for them. Review the website, annual report, and check out recent news feeds from relevant trade and national press to get a feel for market position and any current challenges - and then importantly have an opinion.
  • Talk to people in the organisation to find out what it is like to work there.
  • Who are you going to be meeting? Look them up on LinkedIn and understand their background and experience.
  • Think about the type of questions you are likely to be asked. Most interviews tend to follow the same pattern and include questions designed to establish your specific skill set, motivation and team fit.
  • Plan ahead. Get a location map, contact telephone numbers, have money, a mobile phone if possible, and give yourself additional time to arrive.
  • Look the part. Always check the dress code prior to attending and get it right. Pay attention to your personal hygiene - and chaps, always shave for the occasion.
  • Enter the room with confidence, offer a positive handshake and remember to introduce yourself. During the interview, smile and make eye contact, and be aware of your body language.
  • Be specific when describing your experience and never assume the interviewer has a detailed knowledge of a job role, technology or process, as terminology and function differ from company to company.
  • Ensure your answers are delivered in the first person, so the interviewer is in no doubt of the role that you performed.
  • Demonstrate the value and benefit you have delivered in your previous roles to differentiate yourself and give a clear indication of what you can bring to the table.
  • If a question is asked that you cannot demonstrate the necessary experience for, explain how you would handle the situation if faced with it.
  • Take a notepad with you to make notes, and have some questions prepared - they may be answered over the course of the meeting, but you can demonstrate your preparation by having them in front of you.
  • Before you leave the interview, confirm timescales and next steps, as well as understanding how many other candidates are in the process - and remember to say thank you.

More top interview tips from Lisa Jobson


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