You've got the Interview? Now research the job!

  | James Innes

As with many things in life, the more you plan and prepare for an interview, the easier it gets. And while interviews are often seen as a gruelling experience, they don’t have to be. In most cases, you will be notified that you have got through to the interview stage at least a few days in advance. Use this time to prepare – the better prepared you are, the fewer reasons you have to be nervous.

The first item on your list should always be to thoroughly research the job in question. Not knowing the ins and outs of a job is amongst the worst blunders you can make in an interview – as is failing to demonstrate to the interviewer how you meet the requirements for the job.

A very large proportion of the questions you can expect to be asked will focus on two key areas:

·       Your understanding of what the job will entail; and

·       Your suitability for fulfilling the demands of the job.

To convince a recruiter that you are right for a role, you first need to convince yourself, something you can’t do unless you have properly researched and understood what it will involve.

Your first step should be to go over the job advert, description and/or person specification thoroughly. Most employers (and recruitment agencies) will have provided you with this type of information. Some organisations are kind enough to send out a whole wealth of literature to potential candidates – although most of this will relate to the organisation as a whole, not the particular job for which you are applying.

Compare your CV with the employer’s outline of the role – and try to identify both how and why you are a good match. Write it all down and feel free to take that piece of paper with you to the interview as a form of ‘cheat sheet’. You may have largely memorised it by the time you get to the interview but it can still be useful to trigger your thought processes should you freeze up during the interview as a result of nerves.

Many interviewers will use either your own CV or the job description/person specification as the agenda for your meeting. These are vital documents and you need to study them carefully. Now is the time to start envisaging what questions you might be asked – and to start drafting rough answers. Start thinking how you can demonstrate that you meet the recruiter’s needs – and how you can evidence that through appropriate examples.

Also start making a note of any questions about the job that you would like answered at the interview – you have the right to ask questions too! – and there’s no shame in having pre-prepared and written down these questions. A prospective employer can’t expect a candidate to make an informed decision as to whether to accept a job unless they have all the necessary information to hand.

Getting an interview may be a victory in itself in a competitive labour market, but you want to go one step further and land that job yourself. Proper planning and preparation not only helps deal with interview nerves, but can give you the edge over the competition. Start by researching the job and that you have what it takes to not only do it – but to do it well!

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