The job ad
Lots of people forget about the job ad after they’ve written their CV and cover letter, but this is a big mistake. The job description will include all of the information about what the company is looking for in an employee, and you should make sure you’ve read it, read it and read it again. They WILL ask you questions based on this.

Write a ‘cheat sheet’ of all the ways that your CV matches the role requirements and memorise it before you go. Job interview preparation can mean the difference between success and failure.

Research the company
Interviewers like it when you can show that you know a bit about the company you want to work for. Knowing nothing at all can really harm your chances.
We’re lucky these days as almost every company has its own website where they tell you about their services, their employees, their history and their business. There are also a lot of official social media company sites with extra information. Make sure you know about how the company is structured and where the job sits within it. A little bit of history and what the company is like to work in (and how you’d fit) is a bonus.

Google the interviewer
‘To Google’ is now a verb in the dictionary and it’s easy to see why. Everyone Googles everyone these days and there’s nothing to stop you looking into the background of your interviewer – if you have been given a name. Just stop short of actual stalking!
LinkedIn profiles are probably the best way of learning about their work history and getting an idea about what kind of person they are. It’s even better if they have a blog. And don’t forget, you can Google the interviewer but the interviewer can also Google you. Be sure to check your social media ‘footprint’ and change privacy settings as necessary!

Job interview preparation
If you’re stressing about your interview then you can help your nerves AND get interview-ready by preparing. It may involve a bit of extra effort but it really can make the difference between getting the job and not… Here are our tips on making sure you get the small details right to make a big impact.

Print off your job application
And – just in case – print extras for the interviewer. You should take a copy of your application form, cover letter and CV as well as the original job ad so you can read over everything when travelling to the interview. Read and re-read it to make sure you’re confident. If possible, put them in a neat folder as this makes you look super-organised!

Plan your journey
Whatever you do, do NOT arrive at your job interview late. It is possibly the worst start to a job interview and can immediately make the interviewer take a dislike to you. In fact, almost half of recruiters won’t give a candidate a job if they are more than 10 minutes late for an interview – regardless of how well they perform.

Practice your interview questions
Make sure you are confident answering typical interview questions. You can practice alone or with a friend (bribe them with a cup of tea!) and be ready for unexpected interview questions as they may throw you off balance.

Look the part
Dress to impress! You should walk in feeling confident and looking smart, but remember to dress comfortably as well. You don’t want to be in discomfort, it may throw you off your answers.

Eating/drinking/smoking
It goes without saying that you should NOT drink alcohol before a job interview, even if you just fancy a pint for Dutch courage. They may smell it on you and it can affect your judgement. If you need to eat before the interview then avoid ketchup down the shirt and try to steer clear of smelly food. Finally, if you are a smoker the smell of smoke can linger on your clothes and create a bad impression. If you can, save it until after the interview. Thanks Nicorette!

Mobile phones
Surveys show that having a mobile phone ring during an interview – or, worse, answering a mobile phone during an interview – is a common reason for employers to say a big fat NO to candidates. It’s common sense but you’d be surprised how many people forget. Avoid that AWKWARD moment by turning off your phone.

Contributed by: Soniya Akthar, Adviser, 5E Ltd

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