Some students will be interviewing or about to interview for Graduate Recruitment and Summer Internships so I thought it timely to do a quick round up of my top tips for interview preparation, with a specific focus on time. Or rather, lack of time. I know that employers will often only give us 1 or 2 days’ notice to come in for an interview and if that also coincides with when a test or assignment is due then this can cause even the most organised person to have a mini freak out. Try not to though. First of all take pride and joy in the fact that you’ve been invited to an interview! This means you did well in your application and psychometric testing (if applicable). It’s important not to forget this. They wouldn’t get you in to interview you if they didn’t think you had potential. The interview is a chance to show them that yes, what you said on paper really is what you can do and what you have to offer.
So, here are my top 5 tips for preparing for an interview in half a day*
- Review your application – remind yourself what you actually wrote in your CV, Cover Letter and the application form (if you had to do one). If you don’t have these anymore take this as a lesson to always save your work and answers. If it’s an online application form and you have trouble printing off your answers write them on Word first. Chances are the interviewers will refer to something in your application and even ask you to tell them more so you want to remember exactly what you wrote.
- Review the job description – if you don’t have it, ask for it! For some graduate and internship positions there may not be an actual job description but there will always be something. This will be one of your main keys for trying to work out what questions they will ask you. Look for the key skills or the competencies. Once you know these you simply prepare answers that highlight your ability to perform this competency or skill.
- Prepare examples – especially when you’re doing a behavioural/competency based interview you will need to think of examples from previous work or university experiences to highlight why you think you have good organisations skills, for example, and where that skill has been developed. Using the “STAR” technique will always help you structure your answers when answering competency based questions and hopefully avoid waffling.
- Research the employer – this doesn’t have to take long but you must do this. Who are they? What do they do? Who are their clients? Who are their competitors? What are their products? You need to have some knowledge about them and the particular industry they are in. Use the job description, their website, their Linked In and Facebook pages, anything you can find that helps you learn more about them. This will also help you to prepare questions for them which is also important. Even if they answer all your questions during the course of the interview still have at least one up your sleeve.
- Practice out loud – I don’t care how silly you feel your answers will always sound different out loud, you need to make sure the examples you have prepared flow reasonably naturally. If you have someone you can force to listen to you then do it! They may not know anything about the job but they can still tell you if you sound like you are making sense.
There is heaps more information on this blog for preparing for interviews so do a search as well as using other websites. Here is a link to our interview handouts
*not strictly tested but I have faith in you to do it!