The GRG Guide to Interview Prep
There are two basic premises in the approach to interview prep, which can be summed up in the following (admittedly clichéd) expressions.
- Better safe than sorry.
- It’s not rocket science.
To summarise: be as prepared as possible – but don’t overthink it.
Kick things off by getting in touch with the kind soul who arranged your interview and have a run through the basics. That means ensuring you have a detailed job description, finding out who’s conducting the interview (and more importantly, what their expectations are), and verifying what the office dress code is.
A word on office dress code.
In this diverse and vibrant world that we live in, there are many occasions where you’ll have the opportunity to express yourself through the medium of fashion. Unless the real inner you could be described as an extremely smart, clean, and capable member of society, an interview is not one of these occasions.
This means nothing with marks, stains or creases. This means no extravagant head wear. No feather boas. No leathers. No masks. This means erring on the polished side of common sense – whatever the office dress code is.
By the way: an office with ‘no dress code’ does not translate as an excuse for you to saunter in, grinning, in ripped jeans and flip flops as you smugly flash every tattoo in your repertoire. As far as interviews go, ‘no dress code’ simply means ‘something slightlyless formal than a full suit’. You’ll still need a shirt or a blouse, and that garment will still need to be clean and pressed. And yes, you will still need to polish your shoes.
Don’t fall into the trap of preparing for questions which only relate to your suitability for the role itself. The interviewer will have expected you to have done your research on the company. Thanks to the internet, this shouldn’t take you more than an hour. Try these on for size…
- How big is the company? When was it founded? Do they have multiple offices?
- What do they have to say about their products/services?
- What are their core values?
- Are there any recent developments that you could bring up during the interview?
If you’ve got the name of your interviewer, have a peruse on LinkedIn and see if you can track them down. Then proceed to do a little (light) research. I will reiterate: there is no need to delve too deep here. Cyber-stalking might seem like a bit of harmless fun, but you don’t want to pick up too much irrelevant knowledge. You could mention that you both went to the same university, for instance, but there’s no need to bring up the fact that you both worked in a supermarket when you were 16. Yes, shelf-stacking is monotonous, and yes, it might well have hindered the trademark teenage joys of sitting in a local park listening to the gentle clink of a Bacardi Breezer bumping against your braces – but really, such grievances are neither here nor there.
On the subject of not taking it too far, make sure you stick to LinkedIn only when doing background research on your interviewer. Starting an intimate Instagram or Facebook-fuelled trawl through their personal life will most likely work to your detriment. Casually throwing in the name of their household pet or hastening to tell the interviewer that you’re right for the role on the basis that you, a Libra, are compatible with them, an Aquarius, will – at best – alarm them. So, when it comes to social media platforms, keep it strictly business, and use it only to determine things like how long they’ve been at the company, how swiftly they’ve progressed there, and whether they’ve been commended for anything lately.
Conjure up some success stories.
Don’t lie, obviously; but think of a couple of occasions throughout your life which give you a vague stirring of pride and boil them down into three compact tales of achievement. Such accounts will make you memorable and will help to verify traits that are difficult to quantify – like using your initiative, judgment or ability to work in a team to tackle a challenge.
Go to bed.
Not fully dressed, face down on the sofa, hand plunged into a half-empty bag of Doritos. Your interview outfit should be laid out, alongside your scuff-free shoes. Alarms and back-up alarms should be set. You’ll need to know exactly how you’re going to get there, and how long it will take you. Once you’ve figured this out, tack on an extra half-hour to mitigate any hold ups. It is incredibly unlikely that the interview will go well if you arrive late.
Would you like to put this process into action? Take a look at the jobs we are currently recruiting for here.
Credit – Clare Toner