How Should I Prepare for an Interview? 4 Top Tips.

Tip 1.  Never go in to an interview and wait to be “sold” to before you decide to do your best to impress. There is strong evidence to suggest that interviewers (i.e. people) make their minds up about candidates (i.e. other people) subliminally or otherwise in the first few minutes of the interview and rarely change their minds during the course of the interview. So be confident, be interested and be clear on what you want in your own mind before you go in. Which is to be the one making the decisions here – “Is this the job for me?” is only a decision if you get to make it. There is no point deciding half way through that it does indeed sound like what you have been looking for, if the person interviewing you is already running train timetables through their head and wondering when they can get away.

If this is your 1st interview set the intention before you go in that you want to be invited back for a 2nd. If it’s the final interview set the intention that you want to be offered the job. After you leave the interview you can then reflect on what YOU would do if you are invited back or offered the position. You have choice.

Tip 2. Don’t rely on the interviewer to ask you the right questions. You work in Digital?  There is every possibility that the person interviewing you has never done the job you are being hired to do. There is actually a possibility that the job you are being hired to do didn’t exist when the interviewer was at the stage of his/her career that you are now at. There is even a possibility that they don’t actually understand what it IS that you do – they just know they have a problem that needs fixing for their team/company/client. So please don’t rely on them to ask the right questions to get all the information they need to make the right decision, or to get the best out of you – it just isn’t realistic. Ask them questions which will
A. get you the information you need
B. give them the information they need. And by doing so…..
C. …..make them think positively about you. Everybody wins!

Tip 3. Prepare  a list of questions beforehand. Write them down – there is a good chance you will forget at least one of them if you don’t and it simply looks more professional if you have a list to refer back to at the end of the interview. It’s not OK to “wing it” – show that you have bothered to prepare for this meeting. By not preparing you will look as if you aren’t that interested in the job, and even worse look as if you aren’t interested enough in your own career to take a proper brief on what the job is really about and how you would fit in to the role and the company.
Aim to ask questions which will give you deeper insight in to the job, the company and the particular issues facing the person who is interviewing you.  Remember your audience here – the CEO is probably not going to know granular detail about the day to day responsibilities of the job but will (hopefully) have a clear vision for the business.  The person you report to or someone you will be working alongside will be your opportunity to dig down in to what doing this job successfully would actually look like for you and the company.

Tip 4. Prepare 2 Verbal Pitches  This one works wonders! Think of 2 highly successful projects, campaigns, client meetings, design jobs, product designs, sales, brand partnerships – whatever you think might be most appropriate for the person who is going to be interviewing you to know about. Write about half a page on each one talking through the Think about what YOU did the first day you started work on it. Then think about what you did next. What challenges did you overcome? What obstacles did you face and how did you get around them? What external resources did you draw on? What strengths did you draw on? What relationships did you need to make or improve to keep things on track? What were the positive outcomes for you, your company, your team, your client, your client’s customers when you successfully completed your part in this? How was this success measured (demonstrated (Awards? Increased sales? Retained client? Promotion?)

Tell the story and show them the happy ending. Then practice saying it, without looking at the written notes until you know it. As well as being of value in the interview itself, this is a brilliant way of building your own confidence and of starting to remember all the good stuff you have done in previous roles which could be applicable here. You’ll be (pleasantly) surprised!

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Claire Griffin on LinkedIn