Ok, so you’ve secured an interview for that job you’ve been looking for. Your dream job. The one you’ve been working towards for years doing awful, boring, backbreaking work for little or even no pay to get yourself into the industry and now, someone is giving you your one opportunity,
to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment. So how do you capture it and not just let it slip?
Unfortunately there’s no one trick to securing the role you want, if there were I’d be the Liverpool Manager right now rather than Jürgen Klopp but, there are ways to improve your chances. This blog is about those ways.
There are 2 stages to the interview, this blog will focus on the before interview. The second instalment will cover the interview itself.
1 – Preparation
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The 7P’s motto all soldiers learn in basic training that I think carries over into civilian life. You have to go in to the interview ready to answer anything they might ask.
Now there are some questions you can’t prepare for. Questions like “Why are man-hole covers round?”, “Describe the colour yellow to somebody who is blind?” or “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?”
These are genuine questions asked in interviews. They are atypical and the point of them is to see how you do on your feet so don’t worry about them. There’s nothing you can do to prepare for them but we all know when we go into an interview there will be some standard questions we will get. We will be asked about our strengths and weaknesses, our previous experience, why we want the job, what we can bring to the company etc. So prepare answers for them. Just notes, points you want to cover rather than a speech you can regurgitate verbatim. That way you can give considered answers and not just say the first thing your nervous brain can pull together.
Also, come prepared with a couple of questions of your own. It shows you’re taking an interest. Like you would on a first date. Even if you don’t particularly care about the answer. Like on a first date. With one major caveat and I cannot stress how important this is, DO NOT ask about money, it gives a bad impression. Like on a first date.
Then there is the question of what to wear. I’ve seen advice telling candidates to wear something they feel comfortable in, ignore this advice. I’ve also seen people recommend looking at what the staff in the office wear and going in similar dress, ignore this also. The answer to the question “what do I wear to an interview” is a suit. Simple. I don’t care if you’re interviewing to join a hedge fund or to work on an oil rig, you go to the interview in your suit and tie. Next.
Finally, you need to get yourself settled. You need to be in that exam frame of mind when you feel prepared, like you know what you need to and you are ready to get on with it. Interestingly the advice here works for both exams and interviews.
The night before get a good night’s sleep so you’re well rested.
Have a solid breakfast, there’s not much more embarrassing than sitting opposite someone for an hour having your stomach speak for you.
Get to the interview in plenty of time. On time is 15 minutes early. But do not go in any earlier. If needs be go to Costa or something. Imagine hosting a party at 7pm and one of your guests turns up at 5pm before you’ve got dressed. Don’t be that guy.
Have a tune. A theme, your own personal motivational anthem. Be it Beyoncé’s Run the World or Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow as recommended by some people in the office or, you know, something normal.
Turn your phone off just before you walk in. It’s a good way to switch from normal you to interview you. Phone off, deep breath, chin up, chest out. That’s how you walk in to an interview.
Now you are ready for your interview, go forward with confidence. You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t get the job because you didn’t prepare properly. Remember what Abraham Lincoln said. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”