Most people don't need to prepare for job interviews very often, so it can be hard to know how to prepare and what to focus on in your preparation.
And I can tell you from experience, that most people focus their job interview preparation on the wrong things!
Most people only prepare for the behavioural or STAR questions. They brainstorm examples and practice them, using specific questions.
But in doing so they miss a big opportunity to sell themselves.
And they lock themselves into a small range of interview questions.
As an experienced interview coach I have helped a lot of people with job interview preparation.
Here are the top job interview preparation tips I have learned:
Job Interview Preparation Tip 1: Prepare an answer to 'tell us about yourself'.
I recommend focusing a lot of your preparation on the introductory questions. These are questions such as 'Tell us about yourself and why you want the job', or Tell us about yourself and why you think you are the best person for the job'.
Most people do not prepare for this type of question, and consequently bomb out at the start of the job interview.
Don't let this be you!
So prepare a thorough answer that not only outlines your career relevant experience, but that sells your top skills or unique selling points.
Plan out an answer and practice it until it sounds natural.
This is super important as your response will set the tone for the rest of the interview, and it's your opportunity to really sell yourself.
Job Interview Preparation Tip 2: Never assume the panel has read your resume
When you are responding to a question, always give context. Never assume all the panel members have read your resume in detail, if at all (people are busy!).
Always say which role and organisation you are talking about, as well as what your responsibility was in the situation you are discussing, before launching into your example.
Job Interview Preparation Tip 3: Brainstorm and practice general STAR examples
Most people do prepare for the behavioural or STAR questions. However they brainstorm examples and practice them using specific questions (from previous interviews or from Google searches).
It's a much better idea to brainstorm, plan out and practice responses based on the job selection criteria, rather than specific questions.
This ensures you have an example ready to go, no matter how they ask the question.
Job Interview Preparation Tip 4: Practice with another person
Yes, planning is important, as is practicing by yourself (out loud and by recording yourself on your phone or computer).
But there is nothing better than practicing with another person. It truly puts you on the spot. Plus you can ask for feedback on your response, and then practice and refine.
Job Interview Preparation Tip 5: Treat the interview like it's a meeting
A good way to approach a job interview is to treat it like a meeting or chat with colleagues or clients. This can help reduce your stress levels and help to sell you to the panel.
So, start with small talk to try and develop rapport with the panel. Then during the interview remember that you are interviewing them too! You want to find out if you would be a good fit for the role and organisation.
Ask insightful questions to find out more and establish if you would actually like working there.
And be proactive during the formal questions too. Ask for clarification if a question is unclear. And after responding, you can ask them if you have answered their question, or if they would like another example.
Need extra help with Job Interviews? Check out my new Job Interview Confidence online program!
Want to know the Top 5 Job Interview mistakes, and what to do instead? Download it here.