Anything between 45 minutes and 2 hours can decide the future of your career. It’s therefore hard to believe how so many people leave it to chance and shun the most crucial stage of the interview: the preparation.
Having spent many years interviewing candidates, sitting in on interviews, and advising clients on how to effectively interview top Fire & Security candidates, I have put together some quick fire tips on how to prepare for an interview and the types of questions you should ask to help you on your way to securing you next Fire & Security job.
Quick Fire Tips on How to Prepare for an Interview
Knowing the company you are interviewing for is crucial. If you understand the company’s goals, how they work, and the types of people and clients you will be working with you’ll be one step ahead of the rest.
Do your research:
- Take a look at the company’s website, social media presence, and latest news and blogs, taking note of anything particularly interesting.
- Make a list of things that stand out to you about that company whether they are positives that would entice you to work for them, or challenges you have noticed that you would love to solve and take on.
- Find out who their clients are and see if there are any case studies for the types of projects they have worked on, have you worked in similar sectors?
In the small amount of time you have to impress, one of the biggest assets you have in convincing the interviewers that you are right for the role is your appearance and body language.
Dress the part.
- Dress appropriately. Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter or the company for advice on this, it’ll make all the difference.
- When you’re in the interview don’t forget to smile and make eye contact – you will never get a second chance at a first impression, so make it count!
In the same way that your body language and appearance can make a huge difference so can the way you speak. A few little psychological tricks can go a long way.
- Find out your interviewer’s name(s) and use them during the interview. It sounds basic but research has suggested that someone’s own name in the word that people most like to hear.
- Further show your engagement throughout by acknowledging the interviewers questions and answers and take brief notes if you need to. It’s all about showing your engagement and the value you see in what they are saying.
Answering questions on the spot can be especially nerve-wracking, so prepare for the questions you think you’ll be asked and have a strategy for answering them. The likelihood is that you will answer many of those questions you have prepared for and in doing so will come across as confident, knowledgeable, and accomplished, you will also be able to use the best examples rather than the first that comes to mind in that exact moment.
Ask the right questions
- Prepare a list of 7-9 questions which will be crucial to the role, and practice your answers to these beforehand, ensuring that your answers talk about past achievements rather than just duties.
- If there are negatives in your answer, finish up your response with a positive; be honest about the things you can’t do but discuss a previous example of a time where you didn’t know something but overcame that situation or went the extra mile to learn a new skill.
- If all the questions you have prepared for don’t come up, turn them into a question for the interviewer, due to your preparation and relevance of the question, you will be able to agree with much of their answer and give examples of how you have previously accomplished this.
Through your prior research you should be able to name a couple of things about the company that excite you, whether they are exciting policies or problems that need to be solved that you would love to take on. It’s important to express this interest in the employer throughout, however the perfect chance to do this is when they ask if you have any questions.
Go the extra mile.
- Use what you have learnt about the company through your research to add to your list of questions ready to answer and ask.
- If you are using a recruiter, make sure to ask them if there is any further info they can provide you that will help you stand out.
- A perfect question that is able to give you an insight into the key criteria that the client is looking for and allows you to raise appropriate strengths would be as below;
“What would someone have to have achieved in 6 months in this position for you to consider them an exceptional hire?”
With a little bit of research and knowing how to prepare for an interview the process can be a lot less nerve-wracking, and you are much more likely to stand-out from the crowd and show you are the perfect fit for the role.
Remember, you have made it this far based on your career history and experience, this is now your chance to show how well you have applied your skills during this time and how you would fill the needs of your new employer going forward, in the modern business landscape companies don’t just require skills to survive, they also need talent!