Job interview success isn’t just about first impressions and how you come across. Your preparation before you get there is often what separates a new job from a rejection email. So these are the 3 things you need to make sure you nail to get started.
- Know where you’re going
A call 5 minutes before the interview saying you’ve gone to the wrong office, or you’re lost on the industrial estate doesn’t send the best first impression. And getting their late is even worse.
When you’re offered a job interview you need to know exactly where you’re going and how long it takes to get there, so plan your route. Plug the postcode into Google Maps and set your arrival time for the interview so it takes into account the likely traffic. Plan to leave so you’ll arrive 10-15 minutes early – get there too soon and you might end up getting in the way, so be prepared to wait in the car!
If you’re travelling by public transport, make sure you know the directions from the train station or bus stop, as well as how long the walk will take you. And since the bus can’t take a detour if the traffic’s bad, allow some extra time just in time.
Generally, we don’t advise relying on someone else for a lift unless they have a reputation for their organisation and punctuality. But if that’s the only option, you shouldn’t go for the job at all – how would you get to work when they go on holiday?
- Choose your outfit
If your lucky suit has been languishing in the back of the wardrobe for the last 5 years since your last job interview, please try it on well beforehand. You’ve probably put on, or lost, a few pounds since then so make sure it still fits. Check for any stains, holes or missing buttons that you’d forgotten about too so you can do something about them.
If you do need to get something new, you’re far better off going into the shop to try it on first. Buying your outfit online means risking it not fitting, or not arriving on time!
You need to look smart and professional, but you don’t need to spend a fortune. No-one is going to be checking whether your clothes are designer labels, high street brands, or whether you picked up at as Asda with the weekly shop.
Most importantly, make sure your clothes are ironed and cleaned, and your shoes are polished.
- Do your homework
We’ve dedicated a whole blog post to the sorts of things you need to look up about the company. In short, look for:
- The different products and services the company offers
- The size of the business and how long they’ve been around
- Current advertising campaigns and any recent news around the business such as awards or new product launches
- The people you’ll be meeting, their career histories and backgrounds, and their role in the business – take a look on their Linked In (but it’s best not to connect)
As well as looking up the company, also make sure you know your way around the wider industry you’ll be working in too.
If you’re coming into the company from another industry – perhaps you used to sell insurance and now you’re going to be selling IT services – you won’t be expected to be an expert on things. Take a look on the company’s social media, see what they’re talking about and read a bit more around those topics so you won’t get flummoxed by any technical jargon.
If you have got industry experience, make sure to brush up on the basics. You’ll want to seem like you have your finger on the pulse so take a look at the latest developments and news in your industry. Social media is a great place to look, as well as trade magazines – there might be some lying around in your reception where you work now!