How to prepare for an interview

Ever felt nervous in advance of a job interview? There is one thing and one thing only that can prevent you from feeling stressed; PREPARATION. Being fully prepared will help reduce any pre-interview nerves and set you up for success.

You may think you have heard this all before, but here is our take on how to make you feel cool, calm and collected on the big day.

Don't blame the tube

Being late for an interview is unacceptable. Plan your route the day before and give yourself enough travel time in case there are disruptions. You are better off having a coffee around the corner to kill 15 minutes, than having to sprint and arrive with sweat stains on your shirt.

And remember, arriving half an hour early isn't good either, as it might impose stress on the person you are meeting with. Our golden rule is to ring the doorbell 10 minutes before your appointment.

Study

It is imperative to understand the role you have applied for. You may be surprised at the number of applicants who receive a call from a potential employer and don’t have a clue what it’s regarding – this is an embarrassing situation for everyone that can be easily avoided. Ensure you understand the job description and write down any questions you might have about the role.

It is also incredibly important to do your homework on the company itself. If you have an interview with a retail brand you will need to know their product offering, what they stand for, if they have an ecommerce website, and who their main competitors are. Have they been in the news recently? Opened up a new store? Anything you can memorise and mention during the interview will make you look well-prepared and genuinely interested.

Who are you meeting?

Similarly, you need to get to know who your interview is with. What is their background? Have you worked with the same brands in the past? Have you got common connections on LinkedIn? Make sure you take a look at their profile page on the company website as well as LinkedIn, and understand their role within the business.

Arrive prepared

When you are initially invited to interview, ask if you need to bring anything. They may require proof of right to work or another copy of your CV (which we advise bringing regardless). It may also be a good idea to bring a notepad and pen in case you are informed of anything new regarding the role.

Know your CV

You may have various versions, so it is important you know which one you have applied with and are able to explain your previous experience in detail. It reflects well if you are able to explain your weaknesses as well as your strengths within each role and how you overcame any difficulties. It is a good idea when asked for a weakness, to explain something that can be turned into a positive (without sounding cliché!).

First impressions count

We don't need to tell you to arrive professionally dressed and well groomed. If you are worrying about looking too formal, remember it is always better to look over dressed than under dressed.

Questions at the end

Come up with a few questions you can ask at the end of your interview - you will guaranteed be asked if you have any. This will show you are enthusiastic and eager to get involved. You could ask if there is room for progression within your role or if there is a possibility of travelling with the company, if that is something of interest to you.


There is one other reason you might be nervous before an interview, and that is if you have lied on your CV and spiced up your experience and qualifications. If that's the case, we can't help you...