Preparing for an interview: our unbeatable 9 step guide

So you’ve crafted the perfect CV and secured an interview at your dream job.

Now, it’s up to you to make sure you are prepared and ready to put your best foot forward and step through the door and into securing an offer.

Keep your nerves in check with proper preparation

Interviews are always a nervous moment and perhaps one that’s totally new to you, which is why FutureProof has drafted this guide to ensure you present yourself in the best light and give yourself every chance of getting the job.

If you follow the steps outlined below and put in the time and effort required, you will find that your nerves will diminish since you know you are ready and prepared.

Step 1: Research the organisation

No doubt you will have done some rudimentary research ahead of your application, but now is the time to dive deeper into the organisation:

  • Consider the secretor they are in and explore some of the big news stories.
  • Find out whether its a fast growing organisation and industry and if possible, what is fuelling that growth
  • Try and figure out who its competitors are and see how they differentiate themselves
  • Read the company’s corporate news and find out if there are big projects or key contracts just signed
  • Review the company’s clients, core products or services and work out what the unique selling points are
  • Check social media for any further announcements or interesting campaigns

Demonstrating a deep understanding of the organisation, its market sector and products or services can make a powerful first impression that will linger long after the interview is over. And, if you know who is interviewing you, it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit of digging as to who they are and what they’ve achieved in their careers either.

Step 2: Prep the possible questions and their answers

A detailed review of the job description and associated skills will give you a steer on the kinds of questions that could be asked. The FutureProof team can support you through this process. Actions could include:

  • List the possible questions and note your answers
  • Find a way to show your knowledge and skills but also your personality and career ambitions
  • A typical question is, “Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?” Have something prepared that demonstrates your ambition and where you want to be on the career ladder. Think management/leadership opportunities – even if this isn’t your plan!
  • Highlight transferable skills, focus on personal projects you’ve developed, or relevant examples from your sport.
  • Your hobbies and interests might be relevant to the interviewer – particularly if there are elements that relate to the work you will be doing.

A solid combination of all of these things will demonstrate to the interviewer that you’re a good match for the job.

Step 3: Research career progression and training opportunities

A good understanding of the role and the organisations is great, but try and take it one step further and evaluate your role within the broader context of the company and how you might progress to the next stage.

Showing that you’ve thought about your career progression and potential opportunities to develop yourself is an attractive quality in a candidate and signals that this is more than just a job.

  • Is there a particular course or qualification you think would be relevant to the role you’re applying for?
  • Express an interest in possible learning and development opportunities – it shows you’re proactive and it will fit well with your journey as an elite sportsperson too.
  • Highlight any examples you have of how you have developed yourself and career in sport.

Step 4: Preparing for an online interview

Now a far more common interview technique, particularly in the early stages of a process, make sure you give consideration to where you will take the interview and what will be in your environment on the day.

  • Consider what is in the background and if you must, conceal things. Most video conference tools offer an option to grey out or blur your surroundings so make sure you try the software out before the interview
  • When answering questions, try to look directly in the camera rather than the picture of the interviewer on your screen. This will recreate eye contact and distract you from looking at your own picture!

Step 5: Plan your trip to a physical interview

If you are asked to come in for an interview, plan your route and find out how long it will take to get there.

If you can, try and travel the route beforehand so you get a better idea of how long it takes and minimise stress on the day. And of course, allow yourself plenty of time to avoid arriving flustered or late.

Step 6: Think of questions you want to ask

No doubt during your research you will have uncovered some things you’d like to ask and know more about.

Draft some clear questions you have for the interviewer, it will avoid any awkward silences when you’re asked.

Step 7: Practice and rehearse

Just as you would ahead of a big game or event, visualising, practicing and rehearsing the interview will help make it feel less daunting.

Rehearsing questions and answers with friends, family or a mentor will be a huge help on the day. The FutureProof team can support you with this should you need it.

Step 8: Read through your notes

Take the time to familiarise yourself with your notes and questions ahead of time.

Don’t worry that you can’t remember everything.

Try creating a bullet point list of key elements to discuss, your key skills, qualities and experience, and keep it simple to prevent you from reading answers back to the interviewer.

Step 9: Rest and relax

In order to represent yourself in the best possible way, try your best to get a decent rest and have a relaxed day ahead of your interview.

Feeling refreshed and alert will help you cope with any unforeseen situations or unexpected questions and prevent your nerves from getting the better of you.

Every interview is different and in some instances you may not have all the time you would like to prepare.

These steps can be condensed but the most important thing is that you do what it takes to walk into that interview as calm and confident as possible, ready to show the best version of yourself.

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