Preparation is essential to performing well in an interview. There are 4 key areas which you should focus on:
1. Know yourself
Think about the interview from the employer’s point of view. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your key achievements? Make sure you have examples to provide evidence of the skills you have.
Re-read the covering letter / application form you used to apply for the job. Anything you mentioned may be brought up at interview, so be prepared to expand on what you did and be able to talk about what you learnt and what you would do differently etc.
2. Know the job
Read the job description and the person specification for the role thoroughly. List the skills and qualities needed. Think about which examples, from your own experiences, you could use to demonstrate that you have those skills and qualities. If possible, talk to people doing the same type of job.
The more you can demonstrate that you know about the job, the more likely it is that the employer will believe you when you say you are well suited to it.
3. Know the organisation and the industry
Find out as much as you can about the employer. Visit the organisation’s website and do some internet searches to find out more information. Who are their clients? What are their latest products / services? Who are their competitors?
Keep your eyes on the news for any stories about the organisation or about their sector. Make a note of the facts and try to form opinions. If something significant has occurred (e.g. a change in legislation) try to think what impact that could have on the organisation, or the sector, in case you are asked about it at interview. For example, for marketing roles be ready to talk about your favourite advert, or the promotional campaign you feel was most effective this year.
4. Know the details
Check the time of the interview, the date, the location and the name and job title of the interviewer(s). Take the letter inviting you to interview along with you. Have the phone number available in case anything goes wrong or you are delayed. Make sure you know how to get there, how long it will take and plan a back up route in case of transport problems.