Basic preparation

Preparing for an interview is actually pretty easy, provided you’re well organized.

  • Don’t let yourself get distracted.
  • Make enough time and space to prepare, preferably at least three days.
  • Make sure that all your information for the interview is all in one place and easy to access.
  • Make sure you have access to a computer so you can research the employer and the job.

Preparing for interview questions

Most interviews are a combination of “behavioral” and practical, job-related questions. Please bear in mind that these questions are also designed to test your essential skills and knowledge. You need to think about the questions in advance, and preferably rehearse your answers with a friend or simply by speaking your answers out loud. (Speaking helps memory, and you can listen to your answers as you make them.)

If you research typical interview questions, you will find quite a few standard questions:

  1. Why do you want this job?
  2. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
  3. Can you describe a situation where you faced a problem and solved it?
  4. What are your greatest strengths?
  5. What are your greatest weaknesses?
  6. What can you bring to this job?
  7. What do you know about our company?
  8. Why should we hire you?

As you can see, these are all very practical questions, and you need to think about your answers. Also, remember that job interviews are competitive. This is why you need to prepare. You need to be able to give good answers to these questions which showcase your skills and knowledge and understanding of the work.

Prepare for the questions systematically. Write a short answer to each question. Now read it back to yourself.

  • Is it a good answer?
  • Does it say what you want to say?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how good is each answer?

You can see why you need to prepare for an interview. Your first answers will probably be semi-OK, but you will instantly see how you could have given a better answer.

Try comparing your answers to professionally written interview questions and answers:

  • What have you left out?
  • How much of what you left out was something you already knew, but simply forgot to mention?

Don’t get discouraged. Everybody makes mistakes in interviews. The idea is to avoid making those mistakes. The best interview tips always emphasize working on answer quality during preparation. That’s what you need to do.

Good interview tips also, quite rightly, emphasize research. That question, “What do you know about our company?” is very important. You do need to research the employer, and particularly the job itself. Take the time to thoroughly research the role, the work involved, and how the job fits into the employer’s business operations.

The better you prepare, the better you will do in the interview.