If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 11 tips for interview excellent preparation

Posted on 24th November 2020 by Dan Jones


If you’ve been out to interview from a consultant of Stream, it is highly likely you’ve seen the below points. However, for the many thousands who are in my network, I thought you may like to know 11 key tips for excellent interview preparation.

1. Plan

Note down the date and time & location of the interview – there is nothing more embarrassing than turning up at the wrong place or time, or even on the wrong day!

Plan your transportation. Map your route. If using public transport, check earlier to see if there will be any delays. Always allow time for contingencies. Arrive at the interview location 30 minutes before your scheduled interview. This gives additional time to prepare. Walk into the reception approx. 5 mins before your scheduled time. Do not be disrespectful to the employer by walking into the reception 30 minutes before your interview or turning up late.


2. Dress for success

Men - dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate for the position you are applying for. You should wear a suit and tie to interviews. Avoid loud colours and flashy ties. Clothing should be neat, clean and pressed/ironed.

Women - generally, you should wear a blazer with a collared shirt and corporate skirt, dress or pants. When in doubt, be more conservative.


3. Research the company thoroughly 

Projects, services, look for annual reports/tenders online, strategic plans. The first question many clients ask to test how well a candidate has prepared is: “So tell me, what do you know about our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?” Make sure you have prepared answers for both questions.


4. Research the interviewer 

look at their LinkedIn profile, look at their social media, ask your recruiter what they are like/what interests they have outside of work etc. Ask yourself - do you have any mutual connections in common that can be used as an icebreaker throughout the interview?


5. Research the role

Review the job description, and ensure you have a thorough understanding of the responsibilities and what will be expected of you in that role. Draw comparisons with your past experience in similar roles. Prepare to talk about what interests you about this role.


6. Be aware of your skills, abilities, and experiences

Ensure you can talk about how you could contribute to the role and organisation. Be self-aware about your strengths, but also your development points and areas you would like to improve.


7. Be ready to ask relevant questions

Towards the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer(s). This is the most poorly handled question by many applicants. Have a few questions prepared in advance. Having no questions to ask reflects on your lack of preparation.


8. Take relevant material to the interview

For example, copies of your resume, qualifications, written references or names/contact details of phone references. Only share these if requested by the employer. IMPORTANT: Always bring a pen/pad and take notes.


9. Summarise your interest in the role

Explain why this opportunity ticks your boxes based on your research of the company, learning more about the job and meeting with the interviewer. If you’re interested, let them know and give them commercial reasons as to why.


10. Ask the interviewer for feedback

This is incredibly important. If you are serious about the opportunity, after summarising your interest, ask if they feel you may be a fit for the role. Follow this question by straight out asking if they feel there are any gaps in your experience or concerns – this is your chance to potentially alleviate any concerns they have on the spot.


11. Be pleasant to the receptionist. 

Many clients of ours ask the receptionist their thoughts on the interviewed candidates. Do not underestimate the importance of your dealings with the company receptionist. They are the face of the business.


Good luck!