How to Effectively Prepare for an Interview

You got the call for an interview – Awesome! How are you going to ace the interview?

I think of interviews as being both for the company and for the applicant. When I have had interviews in the past, I used them to be sure it was a company that I wanted to work for – were they able to answer my questions to my satisfaction? What “vibe” do I get from the staff that are interviewing me or the staff that I encounter en route to the interview? Do I share the vision they are talking about? Is this a place that I can see myself working? Am I excited about the prospect of working this company?

Make sure that you know where the interview will be and that you’re on time to the interview – even showing up  a couple minutes early is good. If for some reason you are unable to attend at the agreed upon time, call them to reschedule.

Preparation is key! Research the company that you are interviewing with – what are the company’s goals or values? How do they align with who you are and where you want to be? This is very important. If you are going to be spending 8 hours or more a day working for a company, you want to make sure that you agree with what they represent.

Is there someone that you can do a mock interview with you? Practising questions can help you to solidify the answers in your mind. The better prepared you are the better you will feel. Depending on the job, you should be able to research some generic interview questions for that field of work. It’s a good idea to do this to increase your confidence when you attend the interview. While doing your research check the company website to see how they interview. Do they do behavioural based interviewing, group or one-on-one interviews? Knowing this can help you to better prepare for your interview.

What to wear? Depending on the job, you may want to dress up or dress down accordingly. With Plan A, it is not unusual for people to be interviewed in their scrubs as they may be coming from school or on their way to work after they meet with us. However, depending on the type of work you are doing, you will need to dress accordingly. This may be a question to ask at the interview, if it isn’t clear from the attire of the people who are interviewing you, or ask if the position will require a specific dress code. Whatever you decide to wear, make sure it is clean and tidy. You should also be well groomed. As they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression!

As a Recruiter for Plan A, I am interested in finding out what skills and qualifications the applicant has and how are they going to complement our existing team. What experience do they have which is relevant to the job they have applied for? How do they handle stressful situations? How well are they able to answer my questions – were they able to give examples? Did they ask for clarification if needed? How would I feel if this person was to provide me or a loved one with personal care?

During the interview you can pull some of the things that they were looking for in the job posting into your answers – match your skills to the job. Can you think of examples that demonstrate that you possess these skills? What would you contribute to the company? Use examples if possible.

If you get the opportunity, you could also think of a couple of questions to ask the company – whether it’s about something you saw on the website, or something that was mentioned in the job posting. It would be even better if you can ask a question based on something that was said during the interview – this shows that you were paying attention and are interested in what they have to say. It shows that you are engaged in the interview process.

What are the responsibilities of the job, and how do you meet those criteria. For each skill you mention on your resume, you should try and have an example of when you have done it.

References – who are you going to use for a reference? Have you contacted them to let them know to expect a call – there is nothing worse than calling someone to do a reference and the applicant has not made them aware that you would be calling. Sometimes people will decline to provide a reference as they were unaware that they were to be contacted.

Follow up with the interviewer to thank them for the opportunity to meet with them. It lets them know that you are still interested and keeps your name fresh in their minds.



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