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Interview Preparation Tips – ‘The 5 P’s’

Interview Preparation Tips – ‘The 5 P’s’

The key to any interview is preparation and it’s amazing how many people underestimate this. We
cannot stress enough the importance of being fully prepared for an interview. Below, we have set out
some basic underlying principles to assist you, known as the 5 P’s (Preparation, Practice, Punctuality, Presentation and Performance)

Researching and preparing the following before your interview will show that you’re interested in both the role and the firm (with the added bonus of showing how well organised you are!);

1. The company/firm
A good place to start is the website. You’ll find a whole host of information from the development of the firm itself to the services they provide and the areas they serve.

2. Job Specification
As much as possible, try to familiarise yourself with the job role and what they are looking for in a candidate. If a job specification is not available for the role, use the information you researched about the firm to talk about how you would fit into the firm as a whole.

3. Your Interviewers
If the information is available, research the people who will be interviewing you. You should know the names of your interviewers prior to attending and company websites often have profiles of their staff members. And if not, there’s always LinkedIn!

4. Format
Many interviews nowadays have different components. Try to confirm beforehand whether your interview will include e.g. a psychometric test.

5. Your CV
After all, it’s your CV! You can be asked questions on any aspect of it, so make sure you know it inside out.

6. Questions
Make sure you prepare AT LEAST three questions to ask at the end. This is your chance to show that you’ve done your research and that you have a genuine interest. Examples of questions to ask are; ‘What processes exist to support employees in their career development?’ or ‘Tell me more about the firm’s training programme’.

Practice makes perfect! Interviews often contain standard questions e.g. ‘What is your biggest strength?’ or, ‘Talk about a time where you took initiative?’ It’s a good idea to practice answers to some of these standard questions. Remember to keep your answers structured and focussed. Here are some further examples of standard interview questions;

  • Why would you like to work for this company in particular? (an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and research)
  • Describe a difficult work scenario and how you managed it.
  • What are your career aspirations?
  • Reason for Leaving. Remember, don’t be too negative or critical about your current/previous employer(s)! Try to put yourself at the centre of the answer, not your old boss (who maybe you didn’t get on with?!). Interviewers don’t want to hear you tearing strips off your previous employer, they want to hear how you are looking to progress.

These are just a few examples of interview questions. For an extensive list, email us on info@crowewatson.co.uk or use the ‘Contact Us’ form.

This one’s a no-brainer! To the best of your ability, arrive on time. Aim to get there a little early in case there are any delays en route since, let’s be honest, these things happen (did somebody say train strike?!). Confirm the exact address of your interview, check the route you’ll take beforehand and where possible, take a contact number so that if you are delayed, you can let them know.

First impressions are based largely on appearance and body language. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately (even if it’s a Zoom/Teams interview!). Make sure you’re polite and friendly to everyone you meet and always greet your interviewer(s) with a natural smile and, if invited, a firm handshake.

During the interview, try to sit comfortably in a relaxed, open manner (and don’t fidget!). Try to keep your voice nice and even and make sure you’re speaking clearly. Interviews are nerve-wracking, there’s no denying that, but listening to the questions and thinking about your answers will go a long way towards putting yourself at ease. Maintain eye contact throughout and don’t be shy about asking for clarification or repetition of a question. It’s much better to ask for these than to answer a question that’s not actually been asked!

For a more detailed explanation of the above points, call or email us today and we’ll be more than happy to provide some extra information.

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