Preparing for your next interview

In a previous article titled brand you, we discussed the importance of being authentic. When preparing for your next interview, and the word here is preparing, we still want to meet the authentic and professional you.

Firstly, find out what type of interview and with who?

When preparing for your next interview, these are some of the interview styles you may be exposed to: –

  • A phone interview
  • An informal chat, or a coffee meeting – I would say, there is no such thing, it’s still an interview just in an informal setting.
  • A formal 1:1 interview
  • A panel or one to many style interview
  • A video call
  • An interview where you have to pre-record answers to questions

When you confirm the time and/or place, ask about the style of the interview, and if you’ll need to prepare anything.

There are many and while they’re all different, they’re still the same. The process should provide you a platform to demonstrate that you are the right individual for that particular job.

What can you do to prepare for your next interview?

Do your research.

Try and gain some insight into the organisation, their Board, the Executive team, their parent company, and their products/services.

  • What’s their position in the market?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • Are they growing?
  • What, if any, reviews they’ve had both positive and negative.
  • Read the company report.
  • Have a look at their share price and any commentary there may be. If they’re a start-up or a smaller company check out the various start-up forums and ask around for any insights.
  • What’s their culture like?
  • What are their values? Do these align with yours?

You will definitely want to understand more about the person or people you’ll be meeting. You’ll also want to do some research on the role and other roles within the organisation. This is in addition to understanding the broader marketplace.

There are so many resources available to you, LinkedIn, Seek, Glassdoor, various social media platforms, Google and the list goes on.

When was the last time you were even in an interview?

Did you Ummm and Ahhhh through it or were you able to confidently and effortlessly talk about yourself, your accomplishments, and what you want in a future role?

Now that you’re well researched, think about the actual interview and how you’re going to present yourself. How you’re going to articulate your personal value proposition? This isn’t the tell me about yourself question, this is about you being able to articulate the value you can bring, think of the classic elevator pitch.

Also, don’t be put off by the “what do you want to improve about yourself question”, this is a great opportunity to discuss training and development but more importantly, to discuss your personal growth and development over the years, remember it’s not about perfection it’s about progress.

When you finally do get to the interview, all the upfront effort, planning, and rehearsing will be worth it. It will give you a level of confidence that will not only translate in how you communicate verbally but also in how you use your body language.

To suit or not – that is the question?

20 years ago, I would have said, definitely wear a suit. These days it really is about the organisation and the role, if in doubt just ask the person you’re meeting about what the expectation is. Part of preparing for your next interview is finding out what you want to.

Just a note on presentation, each organisation is different. It’s important to present well, be well-groomed, be prepared, and to be professional.

What will an interviewer ask?

Each interview and interviewer will have their own style. Behavioural-based interviewing is a fairly common style of questioning and it’s really about understanding your core competencies.

The interviewer wants you to provide examples of how and why you’ve done things in the past and what the outcomes were.

If you’ve already examined the job description and compared this against your skillset and abilities, you should be able to provide a number of examples of how and where you’ve been successful in your current or past roles.

The Interview

Be on time, we shouldn’t have to say that, it doesn’t matter if the meeting is face to face (i.e. in-person) or over ZOOM, please do yourself a favour, and be 5-10 minutes early. If your interview is via an online medium, make sure you test everything prior.

If it’s a face-to-face meeting, a nice firm handshake is still appropriate or in the post COVID world, an elbow bump, or just smile say hi, and introduce yourself.

Remember communication isn’t just verbal, smile, maintain eye contact, and just relax (but not so relaxed that you’re slouching or forgetting about being professional)

  • Know the content of your CV
  • You should be able to discuss your experience at a high-level.
  • Know your achievements
  • Be prepared to answer relevant questions about your interest in the role and organisation.
  • Know what your current and longer-term career objectives are and if you don’t maybe it’s time to think about them.
  • Be comfortable enough to just chat … about you or about them
  • There’s always the salary question, don’t feel pressured to provide a specific response, but you should know what you’re aiming for and what you’ll accept if the situation arises.

Hints and tips

Have examples of situations you can refer to that demonstrate your achievements and strengths.

Remember STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result)

Practice using these examples so that you are very familiar with them.

Have you got your own questions prepared:-

  • Is there anything that you haven’t answered or need to elaborate on?
  • What is their culture like?

And then what …

Remember, while it’s important to prepare for your interview, you’re also interviewing them. If you have any questions prepared then be prepared to ask them.

Don’t forget to thank everyone for their time and involvement and if appropriate send an email.

If you want to know what the next steps are then don’t be shy about asking?

Good Luck.


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