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How to prepare for a job interview

Preparation is the key to success in any interview. But, what should that preparation actually entail? We caught up with Jon McCahon, Account Manager at Talent’s Perth branch, to find out how to prepare for the all important interview stage and what has stood out for him in the past as great interview practice.

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How much research should you do before an interview?

“It often depends on the role and how much you want it – if it’s your dream job you could spend days researching, but in general you should spend at least a couple of hours looking into the company. Most research can be done online these days, and an excellent place to start is social media, especially LinkedIn.”

In fact, according to Glassdoor, social media is becoming so popular in the job hunt that 79 per cent of job seekers use it at some stage in the process.

“If you don’t have much time, focus on the job description and matching it to your resume. This doesn’t mean tailoring your CV, but instead searching through it to see which skills and past successes best match the role.”

How can job seekers go about anticipating employer questions?

“If they’re being represented by a recruiter, ask them as many questions as possible to get an idea of their interview style – will they ask about your CV or have technical questions? Will it be formal or informal? Even if you aren’t job hunting through a recruiter, simply ringing the HR department and asking what sort of questions are normally asked is a good place to start.

“Don’t worry if you can’t find anything out about the interview. If you’re well prepared and know your CV, you’ll be able to lead the interview yourself by making the employer ask questions around what you’ve chosen to tell them.”

What should you do if you’re doing a group interview or assessment centre?

“You need to focus on your soft skills. This means communication, but also listening. It’s important to stand out, but be a team player. I recommend preparing three things that you definitely want to get across, and spend the rest of the time sitting back and listening.”

How should candidates prepare for IT interviews?

“Know your successes. Look at your past experiences and highlight the projects that you’ve led or played an integral role. If you don’t have that much experience, bring ideas to the table and show you have a sound knowledge of the role you’re going to undertake.”

Do you have any other tips for interview?

“One of the most important things I can tell you is to be fully present in the room. You only have an hour to sell yourself, and it’s not worth it if your mind is elsewhere. One thing you should never do is answer your phone in an interview. If this is only your first or second interview, remember that while you may not always be successful, it’s still great experience and will help you perform better in future interviews.”

What’s stood out for you in interviews?

“I like it when candidates bring something extra to the table, for instance some slides they’ve prepared on a particular project they did in the past. This shows they’ve gone the extra mile and prepared above and beyond others. There might be one candidate that is a perfect fit, but if they’re complacent and don’t prepare sufficiently, they will lose out to less experienced people that really show they care about the role.”

Talent International is an IT and digital recruitment specialist with offices worldwide. For more information, and tips for job seekers, please contact us.