Preparing for the big interview

Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you can have it. Never is that more true than when it comes to employment opportunities. Depending on your field, you could end up applying for tens of roles just to get one call back, and even then, you’ll be up against maybe five other candidates who could be vastly more experienced. That’s why if you do get an interview, it’s important to be prepared.

Get enough sleep the night before, dry clean your business clothes, and make sure you drive safe – if the nerves get to you, you could make rash decisions such as calling someone while driving. Drivers using their phones contribute to around 1.6 million crashes per year, and the consequences could mean different things in different states. Indiana, for example, has placed certain restrictions on the use of cell phones while behind the wheel of a car, for reasons of public safety. See Indiana cell phone law for more info.

Now, let’s see how to prepare for the big interview…

Read the job description (ten times or more)

The interviewer needs to get to the bottom of a couple of things. First and foremost is whether your experience is suitable for the position, and next, can you back up your claims about being the most suitable candidate for the role by explaining your experience in a relevant way. These things alone will essentially give the interviewer the tick-box framework from which they will base their decision. By reading the job description over and over, you will start to realise where your relevant experience crosses over the demands of the new role. If you don’t have your answers ready to go at a moment’s notice, your confidence about your abilities could be brought into question (which is never the kind of introduction you want to make for yourself).

Some interview questions won’t be obvious from the job description

Some interview questions are universal and won’t necessarily be subjects that you might think about preparing answers for, purely on the basis of what you read in the job description. For example, questions like what attracted you to the industry and what are the particular reasons that you applied for this role are common. Of course, the answers you need to think about giving should be steered towards career progression, and you may feel a little awkward or embarrassed talking about yourself as if you were some sort of Pokemon ready to ‘evolve’ to the next level. But this is the kind of stuff that interviewers want to hear (it shows that you know how to play the corporate game, and that you’re not someone who shoots from the hip in all things and therefore might actually turn out to be a bit of a loose cannon on the job).

Know your strengths and weaknesses before you set foot inside the interview room

This kind of leads on from the previous point about being as prepared as possible to answer questions, but by listing your strengths and weaknesses (perhaps you are skilled or trained in certain areas more than others), you will be able to give much fuller answers. Where you are able to tie in your answers with your own experience, your answers begin to sound less researched from Google and more based on things you know due to actually having contributed towards tasks in a meaningful way.

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