Congratulations, you’ve landed yourself a job interview!
But after the excitement wears off, it’s time to start preparing to give yourself the best chance of getting the role.
So, what can you do to prepare yourself for a successful interview?
We’ve broken down interview preparation into 8 simple stages:
1. Study the job description
2. Research the company
3. Plan your journey
4. Plan your outfit
5. Prepare answers
6. Prepare questions
7. Ace the interview
8. Follow up
It’s important to give yourself enough time to consider how your goals and aspirations fit in with the role you’re interviewing for, and how you’ll fit into the company as an employee.
To get a better understanding of what the interviewer will be expecting, here’s our list of the 8 interview preparation stages.
1. Study the Job Description
The job description is going to contain most of the info you need in order to ace your interview.
Pay attention to the duties it lists, and the required personal qualities it sets out, and come up with examples of times you’ve shown you have those qualities. It’s likely they’ll ask you these types of questions, so it’s important to know how to justify that you match the job description they’ve set out.
2. Research the Company
Make sure you take the time to understand what the company does, and the products or services it is selling. You should have an idea of this anyway, but it’s always good to make sure there isn’t an aspect of the business you’re not aware of.
Take a look at their competitors and get a feel for the way the industry operates. You can also look at industry news sources to get the latest news stories, and can check out the employers “News” page on their website (if they have one) to see what’s been going on recently.
Although this may be classed as something obvious, you will impress the employer if you are aware of not just the products they produce, or the industry they’re in, but also if you have an understanding of any other sites they operate, and the differences between what the other sites may manufacture.
3. Plan Your Journey
First impressions matter, and being just 5 minutes late to an interview can start you off on the back foot, so make sure you plan the journey to the place you’ll be interviewing.
Consider having a trial run to get an idea of how long it’ll take you to get there - especially if you’re relying on public transport!
You should aim to get to your interview at least 15 minutes early, as this will give you a chance to compose yourself before you walk through the door, and make the best first impression possible.
4. Plan Your Outfit
Make sure you plan out your outfit a few days before your interview.
There’s nothing worse than having to scramble around to find, or even buy, a clean shirt because the one you planned on wearing is still in the wash basket!
We all know that you need to look smart for an interview, but that means more than just wearing a shirt and tie. Make sure your shirt and trousers are ironed and your shoes are clean.
If you’re going to an interview from your existing job and you’re going to be changing clothes, make sure they’re stored neatly so they’re not creased when it comes time to change.
And if you work with your hands – make sure you wash them! Extending an oil covered hand as you introduce yourself to your interviewer probably isn’t going to start you off on the right foot!
"If you're not sure of the dress code, always over-present yourself - first impressions are everything!" - Roya Robeson
5. Prepare Answers
By now, most people have heard all of the stereotypical interview questions. Questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” may be overused clichés, but do you know how to answer them if they do come up?
This is where knowing the company and job description pay off, as you can practice ways to incorporate your skills and align them with the company’s strategies.
Take some time to look for common interview questions online, and make sure you know how you’re going to answer them if asked.
6. Prepare Questions
Interviews aren’t just a one-sided affair; it’s also your opportunity to ask questions about the role, and the company you’ll potentially be working for!
Sometimes it can be difficult to think of questions when you feel like you’re not the one in control of the situation, so make sure you’ve prepared a few questions to ask when the time comes.
Make sure you select questions that will help to show the employer that you are interested in knowing more about the business and the role you’re interviewing for rather than asking about the pay and benefits – that’s a big no-no!
7. Ace the Interview
Having a great CV will get you the interview, but only you can get yourself the job.
If you’re having trouble communicating your key achievements, referring back to the job spec will help you keep track of what’s relevant. It’s full of everything you need to talk about, and is a great guide for relating your experience to the new role.
Remember though, interviewers won’t typically be interested in hearing about attributes like being a ‘hard worker’ or a ‘fast learner’ - you can prove that to them when you get the job!
"Being confident in your abilities and asking about career progression is great, but it’s not ok to tell the interviewer that you want their job. Nobody likes a show off!" - Roya Robeson
8. Follow Up
After your interview’s finished, make sure you follow up with the interviewer and/or your recruitment agency contact.
This not only helps to show you’re genuinely interested in getting the role, but also gives you the chance to clarify anything you said or bring up things you may have forgotten to mention.
At this point, you can relax – it’s out of your hands and you’ll just have to wait to see whether you get the job!
If you get the job – congratulations!
However, sometimes you can do everything in this list perfectly, have a great interview, and still not get the job.
Try not to let that get you down – it’s not a reflection on you; it just means that the company had a candidate who was better suited to the role.
Take any feedback you can get from the recruiter/interviewer, thank them for the opportunity to interview, take a deep breath and get back to finding roles to apply for.
If you’re looking for your next engineering role, why not send your CV across to one of our recruiters to see if they can find you the perfect new position?