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How to prepare for a job interview

Advice from someone who’s being recruiting Personal and Executive Assistants (and more) for over 20 years’.

The key to securing that perfect job is preparing for your job interview. There are various types, be it face to face, virtually or even on the phone. Whichever method your interviewer adopts, you need to be ready. Here are our top tips:

1. Be honest

Your CV must be accurate, well put together and error-free. If you’ve made something up or inflated the truth you will be caught out on your interview. You need to know your CV back to front and if you don’t it will look like you’ve made it up.

2. Do a social media review

Check that your social media accounts are appropriate. If they are not private accounts (LinkedIn for example) make sure they’re up to date and no awkward photos are going to come back to haunt you.

3. Prepare

Preparation is key to a successful job interview. Do your research on the company and the person interviewing you. Check their LinkedIn profile, company social media pages and any news articles written about it. The more you know, the better. Think about what sort of questions you might be asked and plan some answers. You might get asked common ones such as “where do you see yourself in five years’” or “why do you want to work at this company”. However, lots of job interviewers ask competency questions too: “what are you most proud of”, “give an example of when you’ve shown XYZ…”

4. Presentation is key

Think about what to wear – it must be job appropriate but always smart and tidy. This goes for everything from your hair to your jewellery and shoes. What we wear says a lot about a person, it is part of our identity and if it doesn’t fit the company culture it could go against you.

5. Timing is everything

It should go without saying but be on time. Work out where you are going in advance and allow extra time for delays.

6. Self-care

Get yourself ready mentally as well as practically. Have a good night’s sleep the night before, eat a good breakfast or lunch. Take some deep breaths and smile – it makes you relax.

7. After the interview

Make yourself stand out by emailing the person who interviewed you. And if you don’t get the job, ask for feedback so you can learn from your mistakes.

Preparing for Virtual Job Interviews

1. Take it seriously.

Employers are increasingly using video conferencing for an initial interview, before inviting people in face to face. It’s harder to build relationships this way so think about how you can stand out.

2. Be ready

Ensure you know the software you’re using for the interview. Have it downloaded and tested in good time to avoid last minute panics. Make sure your Wifi is working. Arrive 3 minutes early to the call so your interviewer isn’t waiting.

3. Location

Choose somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. Put a do not disturb sign on your door if there’s a chance a parcel is being delivered just at the moment you’re pitching your fabulous experience.

4. Set the scene

Your backdrop matters. Think about what sort of impression you’re giving off. Make sure no drying laundry is visible and old coffee cups etc are out of sight. Have good lighting, some nice pictures or books, maybe even flowers in the background. But don’t go overboard – keep it natural.

5. Your presentation

As with a face-to-face job interview your presentation is equally important. Treat a virtual interview as a normal one. Dress accordingly for the job. As your interviewer will only see your head and shoulders, make sure your hair is immaculate. Consider what is going to look good on screen. Don’t go for overly bright or patterned clothes.

6. No phones

Have your phone on silent and landline off the hook.