So it’s the day before your big interview and you are really nervous.
Hopefully you have put a lot of effort into preparing yourself well, so that you will be in as good a position as possible to ace the interview and get the job. But no matter how well you have prepared already, there’s still a lot more that you can do in these final few hours. In fact this time might be the most important of the whole process, since it is now that you will focus your thoughts and get into the correct mind-frame ahead of what is sure to be a testing and taxing experience. Perhaps this is a last minute interview, in which case you have a good deal of work to do in a very short space of time.
The key here is not to over stretch yourself. You are not going to become an industry expert overnight; instead you should focus on those things which you have perhaps neglected up until now, but are none-the-less crucial in ensuring that you walk into the interview room, confident in your ability to perform well and become the successful candidate.
Here are a few of the things that you should be doing before your last minute interview.
Familiarise yourself with the interview process
Try to collate as much information about the interview logistics as possible. If there is something that you don’t already know, try to think of a way of finding out. Some of the information that you should be familiar with includes;
- Who you will be meeting, and what their role is within the company.
- What is the expected attire for the interview? Has a dress code been stipulated, or are you expected to use your best judgement?
- Do you know precisely where the interview is to take place and how you will get there?
- Have you thoroughly planned your journey and do you know how long it will take you to arrive in good time?
- Do you know what will be asked of you in the interview? Will you be expected to make a presentation and how long will the whole thing last?
- Are you completely versed in the job description?
Amongst the excitement of being offered an interview it can be easy to neglect researching the company for which you are hoping to work. This is a rookie mistake, because to an interviewer, who has perhaps been working for them for many years, it will be abundantly clear that you have not done your research. Luckily this is something that can quite happily wait until the day before the interview, and is actually a pleasant and non-strenuous task to complete in these last few hours. The internet should prove invaluable in this effort, since most of the information will be available with a little digging. Make sure that you are familiar with things like;
- Their history; when they were founded, who their founders were, how their business has changed over the years, and any big news stories in which they have been involved.
- Their future; what their vision for growth is, how they hope to achieve this, how their industry is changing, and how they are planning to meet the challenges of the future.
- Their present operations; what are their main products / services
- Their business structure; who are the key players within the business, is it a privately owned or publicly floated company?
- Who are their main competitors and how do they try to differentiate themselves?
- What is their mission statement? Do you understand this statement and are you ready to discuss it if need be?
This is an essential last minute interview tip.
Of course this might seem like a rather obvious point, but you would be surprised how many interviewees fail to grasp the true extent of the duties and responsibilities which come alongside the job for which they are applying. Even in the case where you have been working in a very similar role, it is unlikely that the job description will exactly match your currently role. It might seem rather petty, but failing to possess a full appraisal of what will be expected of you, might be the difference between getting the job and not. In an interviewer’s eyes, understanding a role is utmost in your capability to perform it well, and if they are in any doubt over this, they will not offer you the position. Make sure that you are crystal clear on the main points including;
- A complete list of your job responsibilities and the activities that you will be expected to carry out
- The hours of work that are involved
- The environment in which you will work i.e. home, shared office, etc
- Any key targets that will be used as a measure of your success in the role
- Whether the role is temporary or permanent, and also whether it is subject to a probationary period
- Who you will be directly answerable to, and whether you will be responsible for any other staff
“But how can I plan some answers when I don’t know what they will ask?” is a really thin argument against this crucial step in last mintute interview prepartation.
The truth is that no matter where you interview, or what job it is for, it is likely that you will hear at least some of the same questions being asked. This is not because interviewers want to bore you, it’s because these particular questions encompass things which every employer should want to hear from prospective employees. The great thing is that this means you have the chance to plan and prepare your answers in advance. Here are a few of the questions that are most commonly asked during interviews:
- Tell us about yourself
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Why did you apply for this job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What motivates you?
- What is your greatest achievement?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What are your salary expectations?
N.B. These questions are deceivingly straightforward; check out our guide on how best to answer them, for some handy thoughts on the matter.
Fingers crossed, we have helped to equip you for your last minute interview preparation!
At this late stage, you might also like to take a look at some of these recent interview related posts.
Top tips for unusual interview questions
5 Ways to deal with interview stress
Top questions that you should ask in an interview