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How the perfect job candidate prepares for an interview

12.01.2015

So we’ve covered how recruiting managers should prepare for interviews, but what about the candidates?

Whether you’re reading this as a recruiter or a shortlisted hopeful who’s been invited to interview for a dream job, knowing how the perfect candidate prepares is essential. The former can use it to assess which candidate has demonstrated commitment and professionalism more than any other, while the latter can gain some vital tips on becoming that irresistible, highly employable person.

Research thoroughly

You will make an instant good impression if you know more about the company you’re being interviewed for than any other candidate. That’s why research is so crucial. Done right, it will help you to demonstrate to your interviewers that you are passionate about what they do and have a genuine awareness of the job role at hand. Knowing your stuff will also allow you to ask well-informed questions about the company, so that you have something impressive to say when that dreaded ‘do you have any questions?’ moment rears its head.

Where to research? As well as obvious places like the job ad, the company website and social media streams (find out if they use sites like Pinterest and YouTube as well as more obvious ones like Twitter and Facebook), you can ask the person who invites you to interview for relevant materials and company information to swat up on. Do this, and you’ll demonstrate your sincere interest in the position before you’ve even come into the office.

Plan perfect answers to potential questions

Based on your research, you should now have a good understanding of what you will be doing if you’re offered the job. Using a bit of common sense, you can now come up with a few of the potential questions that will be thrown at you and prepare pitch perfect answers that are bound to impress your interviewer.

Don’t rely on these practice answers word for word – you never know when an unexpected curveball question will be thrown at you – but think on your feet and save your best lines for the right time. At some point, you’ll have your moment to turn on the pre-planned charm and score major points with whoever’s quizzing you on your credentials.

Demonstrate professionalism

Simple things like knowing the appropriate dress code, arriving half an hour early and treating everyone you meet in the office with politeness and respect will always be staples of making a good, professional first impression at interviews.

It is far too easy to get caught in unexpected traffic and turn up late, accidentally underdress or make an offhand comment that ends up costing you the job. Anyone can anticipate these common mistakes and ensure they don’t happen, so you should too. Don’t scupper your chances of success due to a stupid error – plan for the worst, and you’ll increase your chances of being the best.

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