You have been invited to attend an interview, which means you have been selected as a high potential for the position.

So, what next?  Preparation ‘as many experts say’ is the key to success, so what preparation?

Follow these three steps and checklists to help you with your planning and preparation to ensure you are equipped and ready for your interview practically, physically and mentally.

Step 1: Practical Preparation
  • Check the time, date, duration, location of the interview
  • If ‘virtual’ check you are familiar with the format and your computer is setup to run the interview software
  • Check the name(s) and job titles of the interviewers or interview panel and, how many will be present
  • What is the interview format? Ensure you know exactly what will happen eg any testing; scenario group work; presentation etc
  • What are you expected to take with you? Always take backup copies of papers/cv etc
  • How will you get there? Check travel, roads and always have a ‘contingency plan’ in case of any last minute delays, strikes etc (you can’t plan if a sink hole is suddenly going to appear on your route!)
  • Research what is current trending with the organisation – any news, current affairs, change and transformation, press releases (you might be asked a question to test your knowledge)
  • Make sure you are as familiar as possible with the organisation’s products and services, their competitors, market positioning
  • What is their strategic mission/vision? Objectives for the future?
  • Why is the vacancy there? Expansion, growth, promotion, new position?
  • What is the culture of the organisation and their values – the way they work and behave?
  • What will you wear? Always dress professionally and smart for your first interview, even if the dress code is very relaxed
  • Prepare the questions you will ask (working environment, future prospects, continued professional development, travel, who you report to, level of responsibility, accountability and authority)
Step 2: Physical Preparation
  • How will you portray drive, energy and enthusiasm for both the position and the company?
  • Most organisations pay attention to employee wellbeing because of links between wellbeing and engaged, productive staff. Reflect on how healthy your lifestyle is – especially leading up to the interview remember to:
  • Eat well – lots of fresh food full of nutrients
  • Exercise regularly – take a nice walk to clear the mind
  • Reduce alcohol levels (if you drink)
  • Gets lots of sleep
  • How will you come across as confident and in control? Pay attention to your body language and start to observe how you stand, sit, make eye contact, smile.  A confident and relaxed body language is portrayed through opening up and being relaxed.
  • Watch TedTalks: Amy Cuddy uses the interview scenario and body language in her research
  • Practise engaging with people and building rapport through good questioning and listening skills. Talk to the person next to you on the train or in a queue to test your influencing skills!
Step 3: Mindset Preparation
  • Start now with developing a positive ‘can do’ mindset
  • Create your vision of what you want to achieve at the interview – what will you look like, how will you feel, how will you react to tough questions? Building an image in your mind.
  • Create your vision of you in the job – what does it look like? How will others respond to you, what do you want to be known for?
  • Focus on success and block out any negatives. Use a mantra – a word or group of words that you can say that bring you back to your positive state and stay focused
  • Prepare how you will remain resilient if you are not offered the position – what can you do not to ‘beat yourself up’ and quickly move on to the next stage in your job search?
  • Remember to keep breathing! And practise breathing techniques to help you keep relaxed and not rushed – nice deep inhalations and exhalations
  • Feel good about yourself and your strengths, unique things you have to bring to the role – be proud of what you have achieved and securing the interview
  • Revisit the Job Description, Person Specification and the company ethos/values and note how you match these and will add value through your strengths, knowledge and expertise
  • Belief in yourself and what you have to offer – your features and benefits – what sets you apart from other candidates
  • Focus on the ‘now’ and block out the ‘what if’s’
  • Smile!

Draw a mindmap of the three steps and post words, cut-outs, pictures, job description etc to help keep visualising and focusing on the opportunity.  If the position is something you truly want, then you have to put in the work to make sure you are selected.

If you are not sure about the position and going just for ‘interview experience’ then don’t expect to be offered the position.  If you are offered the post then be truthful about ‘is it right for you?’ because if it is not, then the chances are you will not remain there for very long or be very happy.

Read what some of the experts say and the principles to remember

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