You’ve got the job! How to make sure it’s the one you want

Interviews used to be a pretty one-way thing. The interviewer or panel would ask you questions and you’d answer them. Today’s interviews are much more collaborative, sometimes very challenging, and sometimes downright uncomfortable. So how should you prepare?

Recently, an interview story went viral on social media. The interviewee felt she had been bullied and poorly treated. She shared her experience and her response to the company when she was offered the job, and it’s kick-started a debate amongst candidates, recruiters and employers about what constitutes a reasonable interview.

How you can prepare for interview

No-one is suggesting that the person who shared her experience hadn’t prepared for her interview. She just wasn’t prepared for the route it took – and nor could she have been. Sometimes, difficult or uncomfortable interviews simply serve to show us that this company’s culture is not for us. Sometimes they force us to think differently or demonstrate on-the-ball responses – and that’s the point of the questions.

So, one of the first things to do is see what you can learn about the company’s culture. You might have done some of this work when you applied, but now’s the time to do some more research to see how they operate, how they treat their staff, and what they’re interested in. You might be able to get a feel for this from the benefits they offer, the location they’ve chosen and the Corporate Social Responsibility sections of their websites – where they share charity, volunteering and team-building stories. The better the feel you can get for a company, the more you’ll understand whether it’s right for you.

Re-read the job description and make sure you can explain how your skill-set fits with what the interviewer is looking for. Go armed with examples of projects you have worked on, things you are proud of, something you’ve learned, and ways you want to improve. Think a little about what ‘curveballs’ might be thrown at you in terms of dealing with a scenario or problem, so that you’re prepared, and focus on being honest about your strengths and your weaknesses.

Today, interviewing for a job is a two-way process – it’s just as important that you’re getting what you want as it is for the company. So go armed with questions – about training and development, about career progression, about mentoring and about anything that demonstrates a positive attitude and a willingness to grow professionally and personally. Those are far better questions than ones about salary and holidays – which you should know already.

And finally, dress appropriately for the business, do some deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves and smile! That first 30 seconds can make all the difference.


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