Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail. In these unprecedented times, it’s even more important that you give yourself the time to properly prepare for interviews. Check out our guide to interview prep…

In such unprecedented times, it’s important to get the basics done well.

1. READ BACK

Remember that application you wrote? Make sure you’ve kept a copy of it. Read back through to familiarise yourself with it. It’ll give you a confidence boost, remembering again all the great things you’ve done, and it’ll remind you of anything you missed, so you can be sure to get it across in the interview. Also, don’t forget to read back through your CV so you’re reminded of what’s there in case they ask you any questions related to it.

You applied for this job. Which job? Especially if you’re doing lots of applications, it’s easy to get muddled with which was which. Hopefully you’ve kept an e-copy of the Job Description and Person Specification. Read through these again – often the person specification will tell you which bits they hope to see demonstrated in the application, and the interview. Make sure you’ve got some great examples ready to share of how you meet each criteria.

This is a really good time to write down any questions you have about the role itself – don’t forget, you’re interviewing them as a potential future team too! Have you got any questions/ clarifications about the role? Are there things you’d like to ask the interviewers? Make sure you have one or two questions ready, as you’ll be asked for any questions at the end of the interview. You might want to ask their hopes for the role, how they hope to work best with the new postholder, what they enjoy about working for the company, their biggest challenges, or even just when you’ll find out the result of the interview!

2. LOOK FORWARD

Who’s interviewing you? Usually you’ve been given the names – do a bit of research. It doesn’t matter if they’ve seen you look at their LinkedIn profile, it means you’re doing your homework. You might find you studied at the same University, or have common interests – this can really help you feel less nervous, and build rapport.

The same goes for the company. Make sure you’ve done your homework on the company or organisation you’re hoping to work for, and be ready to answer why you want to work for them specifically. Have they got a motto or tag line? Is there a USP to their brand? Get clued up, so you can show you know your stuff..

Have you tried using Interview360 on the Careers & Enterprise Hub yet? If not – do! It’s a great resource, and includes a bank of questions you can browse through and get tips of how to answer, and it gives you the opportunity to have a mock interview, with AI (Artificially Intelligent) feedback. You can choose to do the interview by video, which means that it might closely emulate an online interview!

3. GET READY

At the moment, your interview is probably online. This means you need to make sure you’ve tested all your technology, and make sure there’s a big ‘do not disturb – interview in progress’ sign on your door. Look at your surroundings, specifically what’s behind you, and make sure there’s nothing embarrassing or controversial in the background – interviewers probably don’t want to see you laundry drying on an airer, or lots of mess. If this can’t be avoided, you can always choose a pre-set virtual background through the interviewing platform – but make sure you check this out and set it up in plenty of time.

Dress to impress. Whether your interview is online or in person, this rule still stands. How you dress affects how you feel, and you want to show how professional you are. Also, if you’re wearing pyjama bottoms and need to get something from across the room mid-interview, it might not be your well-prepared answers they’ll remember you for.

Journey to the interview. If you’re doing it online, don’t skip this point, it still stands. Whether you need to plan your three buses to arrive on time, or need to decide when to put your outfit on and enter the room you’ll interview in, the journey matters. Don’t underestimate it!

Lastly, take a big deep breath. The best you can do is be yourself. So before you click the button to join the call, or walk through the door, make sure you take a big deep breath, and smile.

We wish you all the best with your interviews. Please know we are cheering you on from afar, and do email us and let us know how you get on!

If you have any more tips for others, feel free to add them in the comments below.

Getting further support from The Careers and Enterprise Team at CCCU

You can get ongoing careers support via the following ways: