Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

By Mary O’Brien-Killeen, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers (Claremorris)

Mary O'Brien-Killeen
Mary O’Brien, Career Coach, Claremorris. Tel: 094 95 42965.

How important is preparation?

‘If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe’
(Abraham Lincoln)

Preparation demonstrates to the interviewer that you have done your homework and that you have drive and ambition. Good preparation portrays a very good message about the candidate.

There are many interviews where the successful candidate has had less experience than others but have obtained the job by doing their research.

Research on the company (website, brochures, advertisement) – this demonstrates initiative and interest in the position. Ensure that the Interviewer knows that you have researched the company. You can include ‘your knowledge’ at the end when asked if you have any questions i.e. ‘I was researching your company on the Internet and came across your areas of growth, can you tell me a little bit more about this?’

‘Talk to people’ in a similar position/industry/company. Their advice is crucial. They highlight facts that are not often given to you in the advertisement/job spec.

Talking to someone who ‘knows the job’ will be able to give you an insight into what is vital. Ensure that you bring a pen and paper when having a meeting with them and take key notes on what makes a person successful in this position.

Know your route – ensure that you leave plenty of time, try and do a ‘test run’ before the interview if possible. You need to avoid at all times rushing in at the last minute complaining about traffic!
Know what you are going to wear in advance – have this prepared. You don’t want to find your best suit with a stain as you run out the door. Ensure that you are calm, relaxed and ‘getting into role’. If you are dressed appropriately, you will act so.
Know your job Spec (if given one) – this is what the Interviewer will be assessing you on. Often, people overlook the important of Job Specifications and glance at them before the Interview. The Job Spec should be seen as the ‘answers to your exam questions’. Ensure that your answers reflect what is in the job spec.

Be familiar with your own CV (It’s very common during the Interview for a candidate to forget their details, this only adds to your nerves!!).

Know your key statements – try not to rehearse your Interview line by line. Key statements are a lot easier to recall and use and are very effective in using during your Interview.

PRACTICE the Interview with a friend. Practicing the interview with someone in advance (ideally not someone in your family) is very helpful. Try to do this with a colleague or someone that will be honest. Best to stick with professionals here as they will give you honest feedback.

Mary O’Brien-Killeen is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Claremorris, Co. Mayo.

Make a booking HERE  for CV Preparation, Application Form writing, Interview Training and Mock Interviews.

More articles from her blog can be accessed HERE