Making it to the interview stage clearly shows that the employer is interested in your abilities. After reading your CV they want to find out more and see if you really are what they’re looking for. It’s now all down to how well you can answer their gruelling interview questions.

To help you better prepare for an important moment in your career, here are 3 steps to giving an awesome job interview.

Plan your answers

Although there is no way of knowing what the employer will ask, you can however guess for the most part. There are always certain questions which will be asked in some form or another. It doesn’t matter how the employer decides to phrase them as the subject is always the same.

Here are a few examples of common questions you are likely to encounter:

  • Tell me more about yourself (more of a statement, but may be asked)
  • Why did you apply?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What are your three weaknesses?
  • Do you know what we do?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What would your previous employer say about you?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years time?

As you can see from the above questions, they are quite obvious and very likely to be asked. So prepare your answers to all of the above and any more you can think of. The examples we’ve given are quite generic, so you may be able to narrow the exact question down further knowing more about the role and the industry.

Even if you are just asked three of the questions above you will smile to yourself knowing that you’ve already gotten an answer in your head. How awesome is that?!

Bonus tip – look for flaws and weaknesses within your CV. Are you missing a skill as requested in the job advert? Do you only have a little relevant work experience? Think about how the interviewer may challenge you and poke holes in your résumé or CV. You can then construct questions that you can prepare answers too.

Remember, talk about what you can offer rather than what you can’t!

Be inquisitive

Prepare some questions of your own for the employer and impress them with your keen interest. The manager wants to know if you are genuinely passionate about their company, the industry and your own career. What better way to demonstrate that by asking questions of your own.

Knowing when to ask the questions is also very important. You need to time them correctly so you don’t disrupt the flow of the interview. Our advice would be to ask the odd question as you go along, especially if you are genuinely unsure of something and feel it’s important to know. So don’t ask a question every time they ask one, but just from time to time when you want to clarify something.

The end of the interview is also usually the best time to field your questions. You will usually be asked by the manager if you have any, so be prepared. If you say no, it could impact your overall interview – no matter how great you were. They may feel like you are not that interested.

Prepare some questions in advance that you can take in with you. Having a pen and notepad in the interview also looks professional, so they won’t mind if you take a few notes. Here are a few examples of common questions to ask:

  • What is a typical day like?
  • What are the main challenges I would face in the role?
  • What is the working culture of the company like?
  • Would there be a chance to take on more responsibility in the future?
  • What kind or training is involved?

Practice makes perfect

The only time you ever really get to practice a job interview is when you’re in one. But this is too late, and preparation should and can be done in advance. Practice makes perfect, which applies to interviews just the same as it would anything else.

One proven method of preparing for an interview is to practice in front of a mirror. It will allow you to see how you come across, how you present yourself (you could wear your interview outfit), and analyse your body language. Are you sat with your arms crossed? Do you seem happy or nervous? Do you come across as confident?

Another great way to practice is with a video camera. Recording yourself is better than a mirror as you get to re-play your audio as well. It will also help to build up your confidence as talking to a camera can be more difficult than talking to an actual person.

Finally, our recommended method of practice is to rehearse with a friend or family member. Try to find someone who has managerial experience because their knowledge will be very helpful. Provide common interview questions to make it easier for them, and don’t be afraid of challenging yourself. Get them to ask you the trickier questions, like ‘what is your greatest weakness’?’

Ask for feedback at the end and then go again – maybe with a few different questions this time. You could also consider setting up a camera facing you so you can review your answers later.

Do you need more help with your job interview? We recommend:

Carl Thomas

Carl Thomas, an expert in employment law with 15 years of experience, advises firms on UK recruitment legislation. An LSE graduate, he writes for top legal publications and mentors law students.

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