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How to effectively prepare for a job interview

Your finally here, you’ve produced a cracking CV and cover letter and you’ve received a call to arrange an interview… Congratulations!

What do you do next? Well next, you have to prepare for it. Being prepared is the key to any interview, as the saying goes, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. So, how do we go about preparing ourselves? These helpful tips will help you leave a lasting impression on your interviewers.

1.       Get the basics out of the way. Firstly decide what you are going to wear, always go to an interview suited and booted, it doesn’t matter what job you go for, first impressions always count.  You need to decide how will you get there, is the location accessible by public transport, will you drive? What is your Plan B? Have you driven the route before, will the traffic be different at a different time of day? Then after you have decided that, make sure you prepare your paperwork.  If you have been asked to provide documents or your passport, get these together well in advance of the interview.

2.       Do your research – a typical opening question to any interview will be “what do you know about our company?” You should look at the website in detail, the company history, key staff, current news and publications so you can converse with confidence. Look at who you are meeting and see if you have anything in common that you can use to build rapport, you should not connect with them on social media as this can be seen as being overly familiar and may be awkward for the interviewer.

3.       Practice your answers - Think about the questions you may be asked. If it is a technical interview for an analyst position and you have HPLC on your CV, you may be asked to what extent is your experience of HPLC.  If you are interviewing for an ecology vacancy and a key area is GCN surveys, a question may be around, how you go about a GCN survey. Both questions are fairly open questions and are intended for you to demonstrate your capabilities.  You should also prepare answers to some of the most common interview questions, about your strengths and weaknesses and why you would be the best person for the job.

4.       Ask Questions - It is always good to have questions prepared to ask, in order to demonstrate your interest in the position.  Prepare at least five questions, these could be related to culture, promotion, performance, qualifications, retention or the next steps. For example, what training would I receive? If I were successful what would you see me accomplish within the first 3 months in the role? What would the progression be like in the company?

5.       Be Yourself - Most importantly remember the interviewer has chosen you to interview for a reason. On paper you have the right background for the role, do your research and most importantly be yourself.

Finally remember, mental preparation may be the difference between victory (getting the job) and defeat (back to the job boards).  For assistance preparing for your interview contact Dawn Alderman on 01423 813520 or email

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