The 7 P's for preparing for a job interview

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Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Being well prepared for an interview is a critical part of being successful in winning a job. Please see our 7 P’s below to help you prepare for an interview:

1. Purpose

The job interview is a chance to build a relationship with a potential employer. It is a two way interactive process whereby a company assesses the suitability of an applicant for a role at their organisation, and an opportunity for a potential employee to learn more about the role, the company and the potential career path on offer. High performing organisations will not rely on an interview alone; here are a few other elements of a well-designed selection system that you might expect:

  • They may use Psychometric Tests for assessing your fit with the role.

  • They may ask you to sit some technical tests.

  • They may you to ask you to sit numerical and verbal reasoning tests.

  • They may ask you to perform in a simulation or role play.

2. Plan

R​esearch thoroughly about the role, the company, the industry it plays in and also the competition. Make sure you know the interview address and allow sufficient time for travelling; you should always arrive early. The format of the interview (e.g. face to face or via Skype) and stage of the interview process will also allow you to tailor the content of your answers to be most relevant.

3. Prepare – this is crucial:

A: Read your CV and become familiarised with the content, be prepared to talk over past achievements in each of your roles, not the activities!

B: Be prepared to address any anomalies or gaps in your experience.

C: Go through the Job Description for the role and be ready to show how your competencies address the selection criteria for the position. Be ready to describe experiences from the past that you feel will show your achievements in their best light.

D: Prepare for the unexpected and be ready to think on your feet.  Run through some “what if….” situations.

E: Prepare a couple of business specific questions prior to the interview that shows that you have read about and have insight into their organisation.

F: Prepare your appearance, your clothes, your hair and your shoes. A scruffy unkempt candidate with un-polished shoes and un-pressed clothes does not make a good first impression. The general rule is: be at least one level smarter than the interviewer.

G: Prepare your mind-set; high performing candidates have a proactive and positive mind-set that comes out in the way they describe their past successes and achievements. How will you describe your accomplishments in a positive tone?

4. Predict

Try to predict the types of questions that you will be asked in the interview.  The questions you get will depend on who is interviewing you. For example, the hiring manager may ask technical questions based around your technical ability and past experience; whereas a HR interview may focus on your career and organisational fit into their culture.  If you do this you will have suitable achievements ready to describe that fit the questions.

5. Practice

Like most things, the more you practice your interview technique, the better you will be at it. Practise with a friend, family member, or industry peer and ask them for their honest feedback. Use a smart-phone or computer to record the interview or record yourself speaking into a mirror. Watch the video and ask for ways to improve the accomplishments you describe so that they have a maximum impact by the way you tell them.

6. Perform

Your task is to impress the interviewer and show them why you are the right person for the job; this is your chance to win the role. Make sure you maintain regular eye-contact, and display positive body language during the interview. Speak clearly and enunciate your words with care. As all interviews are nervous times, slow down your responses and take your time to think carefully about the choice of words you will use to explain your past in the best light. Convince the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the position and differentiate yourself from other candidates by the way you talk about achievements.

7. Persist

Make sure you ‘close’ the job interview; at the end of the interview ask for an explanation of the next steps. After the interview, send a short thank you note to the interviewer to re-iterate your interest in the role. If eventually you are not successful, ask for specific feedback and look at ways you can improve your interview performance. If it first you don’t succeed, lift yourself up and try again, there may be another opportunity to work for that same organisation at a later date.

By following the 7 P’s above, you will put yourself in good stead to be successful in your next interview process.

Good luck! Feel free to discuss the details of preparation with our Consultants if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,

Darwin Rhodes Team