You’ve made it to an interview – congratulations! While this stage can be challenging, it already means you’ve got what it takes to land it. Follow these tips on how to prepare for an interview and you’re ready to go.

We collated the magic from Skills Leader Louis and recruitment expert Simmane Bangura’s Main Stage Webinar ‘Own Your Interview‘. Read on to put your best foot forward for any interview.

Get Your Mindset Right. Prepare for an Interview with Self Belief!

Knowing your worth helps beat those nerves and lets your potential shine through.

1 . Try writing down your top 5 skills and attributes that match the job description/ school requirements. Read these out loud.

2. Try creating your own elevator pitch. This is great for practicing introductions and illustrating your passions.

Need some more inspiration? Catch the replay of Louis’ Webinar ‘The Power of Self Belief‘. Promise you’ll leave feeling pumped.

Research, Research, Research

You are winning the heart and mind of your current employer almost more than illustrating your skills. To prepare, start by:

1 . Reading through the job description or any documents provided at least twice to have a clear understanding of what the interviewer is looking for.

2. Google searching the organisation. Explore Twitter, articles, LinkedIn posts of team members, recent projects, and the ethos of the company. Note any ideas or feedback – they may ask for your thoughts!

Recruitment expert Simmane Bangura shared:

“Great is the biggest enemy of good. When you want to make your answer great, make sure specifics really align to the company. Match the job spec with your answer.”

First Impressions are Everything

The way you act and treat other people will give insight into how you’ll fit in the team. Not only will a good first impression help your chances in the interview, but it will also create strong connections for future opportunities.

Simmane and Louis guarantee a good impression by:

1 . Reading the interview invitation again. You may need to bring your ID or be prepared for an assessment. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time!

2. Getting there on time, leaving 10 minutes to find the building so you’re not stressed when you walk in!

3 . Turning your phone off and avoiding scrolling while waiting for your interview to start. Instead, take this time to do some breathing exercises and relax your body.

4. Practicing positive body language (35% of our communication is through words, the rest – visual!). Try: not crossing your arms, getting comfy in your seat, keeping up eye contact, smiling, using your arms and hands while speaking.

Krept & Konan shared even more tips in the ‘How to Make a Great First Impression‘ Short Set:

“First impressions for me are a deal breaker. If you meet someone and you’re just not feeling their vibe, then ‘nah don’t wanna do this'”

Before answering a question, think about what is being asked.

Seems like an obvious tip right? When you’re caught up in the adrenaline of answering questions, it’s easy to just talk.

You can break this habit by practicing common interview questions. Book in an Apprentice Nation Interview 101 Mentor Session to learn how to prepare for an interview by getting used to speaking to someone who hires regularly.

Don’t be afraid to take a moment to start your answer or ask the interviewer to repeat it themselves if you missed the question. It’s not a deal-breaker! Sometimes being conversational and asking questions yourself can help ground you.

Look out for keywords in questions such as ‘WHY?’ ‘HOW?’, specific numbers, and try not to trail beyond what is being asked.

Respond with the STAR Framework

It’s hard to know what questions an interviewer will ask, but it’s easy to prepare with the STAR framework. It’s used by employers to gather all they need about you easily.

Let’s make it as easy as possible for interviewers to see how great you are:

STAR stands for: Specific situation, Task, Action, Result of the situation you are describing

Write down around 5 examples of situations from your work experience, school, volunteering, training. For most questions, having these examples to hand with a STAR framework will help you ace your answer. Here’s an example:

S: At my retail assistant role at xyz, I was working a sudden lunch rush with my manager on her break. A customer complained that she isn’t receiving any help with her shopping.

T: As the manager wasn’t in at this time, I had to think on my feet to make sure this customer had a good experience at our store.

A: I apologised to the customer in a friendly manner, noted down what she was saying, and was as understanding as possible. I offered to take her through her shopping list. When I could, I called my manager to see if I could give a money off voucher, and rang up the customer individually.

R: The customer was really grateful and said sorry for complaining, even wrote us a good review online! I then fed back to the team that we need staff available during lunch which my manager was impressed by.

Prepare 3 Questions for Your Interviewer

This shows you’re interested! Don’t leave an interview without asking at least one – and avoid ones about salary or holiday! Here are a few ideas:

1 . What’s your favourite part of working for this team?

2 . What is the company culture like?

3 . What’s a challenge in your team you are trying to address with this role?

You’ve owned it. Don’t let them forget!

Send a short email after your interview saying thanks for their time and that you’re excited about the role. Enthusiasm goes a long way.

Perhaps this is a connection that would be beneficial for your career path. Add them on LinkedIn! You never know where that relationship could take you, regardless of landing the role or not.

Good luck. Remember, that it takes a lot of practice and rejection before getting it right – and a perfect interview doesn’t exist! Prepare as much as possible and you’ll get there.

Looking for more tips on how to prepare for an interview?

Catch the replay of Louis and Simmane’s high-energy ‘Own Your Interview’ Webinar

Get even more top tips to prepare for your interview with Skills Leader Mark.

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