10 things you must do before a job interview

Preparation is everything when I comes to job interviews. If you’ve done your homework, you’re half way there.

Here’s our pre-interview checklist, to maximise your chances:

1) Research the company thoroughly
Potential employers love a candidate who’s really done their homework. It’s flattering and shows you care about their company too. Trawl through the website and make a note of:

  • What is the core business of the company?
  • Who are its customers or users?
  • Have they been in the news recently? Check out the press releases or news section of their site.
  • What is the history/background of the business?
  • Check out the Annual Report, or other corporate document to see what their priorities are.

2) What is the job and why do you want it?
It sounds obvious, but you really need to spell out why this job is right for you and show that you know already what it will entail. Go through the job description point by point and really take it in. There will be items in there that you have missed that will give you a full rounded picture of the role.

3) Get your stories straight
Nothing’s worse than coming out of an interview and realising you forgot to tell them your best story. Prepare in advance by going through the job description and noting down all the great experience you have next to each requirement. And you don’t have to stick to professional or business projects. School or college achievements, hobbies and other outside interests are great experience too.

4) Dress the part
If you’re not sure how you should dress for the interview, then find out. If you live nearby then go have a coffee opposite in the morning. Or simply call the HR department, or even reception and ask. Saying you’re coming in for an interview and would like to know the office dress code. When you walk into that interview, you don’t want any surprises.

5) Research the interviewers
The chances are you will be given the names of at least some of the interviewers in advance of the meeting. Check them out on LinkedIn, or do a couple of Google searches. Maybe your both worked at the same company five years ago. Maybe they have bright orange hair. Either way, it’s just about being more prepared and more in control.

6) “And is there anything you would like to ask us?”
This one always comes up. Prepare one or two questions in advance that show you’re interested in the job and want to know more. Don’t make them too tricky to answer and too specific, perhaps a question about the work culture, or ask the interviewees what their favourite things are about the employer.

If you have any questions about salary, vacation leave or flexible working, then leave these for a follow-up email, unless the question comes up or you feel it would be appropriate.

7) Plan your journey
Think about your journey and even if you know the route, leave an extra margin to allow for late trains or traffic jams. Arriving at an interview out of breath will not help your composure.

8) Pre-interview pitstop
To be extra sure, find a local coffee shop or café near your interview location and aim to get there 45 to an hour before your interview. Drop in, relax and read through your notes one more time, safe in the knowledge you’re only a few minutes’ walk away.

9) Arrive 10 minutes early
Not too early, not too last minute. Reception will call your interviewer and say you have arrived. They will check the clock and admire your in-control time-keeping.

10) And when you’re sitting in reception…
Turn off your mobile!

Confident friendly smile, handshake, a little bit of small talk about your journey or the weather, and you’re off…


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