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How to prepare for an interview

At Michael Page, we gain insight into both sides of the recruitment process so we know how much emphasis is placed on interview preparation for candidates. However, we also feel that it’s important that hiring managers understand how to prepare for an interview in order to engage with the best candidates.
 
Candidates always go to interviews armed with at least one question about your organisation, and if you can’t give them a better answer than the information they’ve already found on your website, they’re unlikely to be inspired.
 

Steps to take to prepare for an interview

 
Taking the time before meeting a candidate to make sure you’re ready, can mean a smoother and more effective process. The following steps are our suggestions for how to prepare for an interview:
 
  • Really read the candidate’s CV and cover letter
 
You should already know why they’re looking for a job, and be able to convince them that your organisation can provide them with the opportunity they’re looking for (if it’s true). Going into an interview without knowing details about their CV shows the interviewee that you can’t tell them from the next candidate.
 
  • Relax
 
Many candidates get nervous about interviews, and this won’t be helped if you aren’t composed and confident yourself. Offer the interviewee a drink and take a few minutes at the beginning to settle into the interview; if you can’t think of anything to discuss, ask them about their journey to the meeting or the weather!
 
  • Know your competition
 
Chances are candidates will be applying to more than one role at a time, so the interview is your chance to really sell the benefits of working at your organisation. Consider the reasons you joined the business yourself, was there something that made it stand out from the competition?
 
  • Be prepared to talk about your brand
 
What are your organisation’s values? What message do you convey to an external audience? What type of atmosphere can the candidate expect if they work in your office? Your marketing department may take care of branding, but it should be evident in the way all your employees conduct their business so you should already be confident in discussing this.
 
  • Be prepared to give feedback
 
Although feedback is given after an interview, it’s a much easier task if you prepare for it beforehand. Think about what notes you’ll be taking during the interview and then how they’ll relate into post-interview comments.
 
Always keep in mind that interviewing is a two way process, professionals who know their skills are in demand will be looking to see what you can offer them in relation to other opportunities.
 
Need advice on attracting the best candidates to your organisation? Contact your local Michael Page office to see how we can help your hiring process.