Preparing in the right way for an important interview means covering a few key areas – what are some of the main things that you should be focusing on, from researching a post, through to preparing a portfolio, and ensuring that you are psychologically ready on the day of the interview? It’s also important to be able to anticipate questions before an interview, and to be able to prepare for rejection, while still being able to learn from problems and build on them for your next interview.
1. Researching the Post
You’ve received an invitation for an interview, and now have to wait for the date – during this time, you should go back over a job application pack to check all the specifications for the post that you’ve been given; read through your CV and covering letter to check that you’re able to elaborate on points, and read up on a job online. You can gain a broader understanding of what a business or institution does, and can be prepared to discuss topics and issues around a job or industry.
2. Preparing a Portfolio and Documents
You may be required to prepare a portfolio and other documents to bring with you for an interview; double check your application materials to see what you need to bring with you, which might include invitations letters, a CV, and application forms – take notes and have them to hand if you need to develop points. Check to see whether or not you’ll need to present your work, and if there’s nothing specific in the job advert, keep a portfolio in a bag ready in case they do ask to see it.
3. Anticipate Questions
While it’s impossible to know exactly what an interviewer will ask you, there are some common questions that tend to come up again and again in these situations – they may ask you for examples of where you went above and beyond in a job, and how you dealt with certain challenges; make sure that you can also talk about problems with other jobs in a reflective way, and have a statement roughly prepared for why you want a particular job, and what you’ll bring to the role. Similarly, consider asking friends and family to test you with questions, and to time yourself with how long you spend answering them – you don’t want to ramble on too long, but you should also avoid having a specific script that you stick to.
4. Personal Preparation
On the day of an interview, make sure you have plenty of time to get ready, and to get to a meeting – take a taxi if you’re unsure about public transport or routes. In the days before an interview, consider getting a hair cut, and make sure that you have an outfit set up and ready to on the day. Try to avoid smoking or drinking alcohol the night before an interview, and get plenty of sleep the night before. Making a good first impression with your appearance can help to avoid any difficulties at the start of an interview.
5. Reflecting on an Interview
If you don’t get offered a job or called back after an interview, make sure that you’ve prepared for this eventuality – this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have confidence in yourself or the post, but means that you have to take a broader perspective on the situation. The position may not be right for you, or you might have been thrown by certain questions – remember to reflect on an interview, and to get feedback from interviewers if you can about what you can focus on improving in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Jane is a secondary school teacher in the UK. Lisa can be found blogging about the different challenges faced by teachers today.