Recruitment moves fast, so employers must act urgently to find a CV that matches their role requirements. Therefore, it is not uncommon to invite candidates to interview at short notice. But what might happen if you don’t prepare for a job interview?
In short, you dramatically reduce your chances of getting the job. However, the impact of failing to prepare adequately for a job interview can reach much further than you might think. Although, if you’re unsure if it’s worth putting yourself under such pressure, there are several reasons to push yourself out of your comfort zone, even if you’re not sure you want the job. Read on to find out the consequences of winging it and find out what’s the least you can get away with.
The Purpose of a Job Interview
Businesses sometimes wrongly describe the interview process as the opportunity for candidates and companies to get to know each other. In reality, both parties involved in the conversation should already be familiar with who they are meeting.
For instance, no hiring manager would invite candidates to job interviews without first studying their professional profile or CV. Similarly, hiring managers expect candidates to do their homework and research the company. So what is the purpose of a job interview if not to get to know one another? In fact, job interviews are about determining whether you and the business are the right fit for each other.
6 Risks of Not Preparing for a Job Interview
If you are wondering why you should prepare for an interview, here is the number one reason to do so: When a business advertises a job vacancy, it is looking for the missing piece to complete its jigsaw. The answers you give to their questions will help them decide whether or not you are that missing jigsaw piece.
In not preparing for a job interview, you won’t understand how to present yourself as the best fit for that vacant space. In other words, if you want to nail the interview process, you must be confident in your understanding of the business and its job description.
Below are a few consequences of not preparing for a job interview:
- You put yourself in an unnecessarily stressful situation
- You won’t be able to answer questions like:
- Why do you want this job?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- Why should we hire you?
- Neither will you have any questions to ask the interviewers
- Possibly put yourself through all of this for nothing because it’s unlikely you’ll get the job
- Ruin your chances of future employment within the business
- Risk damaging your professional reputation
How to Prepare for a Job Interview
Research the Company
Before applying for a role, at least make sure you understand the business. When companies disclose their names in the job advert, this makes researching the company easy. Your primary source of knowledge about a business will be the online sphere.
Where a job advert does not disclose a company name, a recruitment company is usually behind it. While this makes it impossible to research the company before applying, this can make life easier for applicants.
When dealing with recruitment consultants, candidates can seize the opportunity to ask the recruiter essential questions about the business. During such conversations, you are safe to ask questions that you might be scared of asking in an interview with the employer.
In either scenario, your primary source of knowledge about a business will be the online sphere. The brand website should be your first touchpoint. You will find out more about the products and services provided by the company. The about us section can share the company culture and history, giving insights into the growth process and potentially future aspirations. Most candidates find valuable information to prepare for the interview process.
The business social media profiles can reveal a lot about their interactions with their audience, tone of voice, activities, and values. Additionally, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for candidates to refer to a current campaign from the company during the interview.
When the company runs a blog, candidates can easily understand their areas of expertise and tone of communication. Hence blogs can help you identify essential information about the company ahead of the interview. As a candidate, you can thus promote your most desirable skills accordingly.
Figure out the Interview Format
When preparing for an interview, you also need to tailor your approach to the interview format. For example, there’s no point stressing yourself out, preparing for a case study when all you’re invited to is a telephone screen. Typically, when you are invited to job interviews, the hiring manager will highlight the type of interview:
This is a fairly self-explanatory situation. You should approach a video interview the same way as any face to face interview. Only, you must check your tech first. Practice setting up your equipment, securing a quiet environment and a stable Internet connection. Hiring managers expect IT, digital, and marketing candidates to handle remote interviews smoothly.
During a panel interview, you will face multiple individuals simultaneously. Questions can target behavioural, competency-based or even take a case study approach. Candidates should prepare for various topics to keep pre-interview stress levels low.
Group interviews can be a fun experience. During this kind of interview, there will be several candidates together in the same room. They aim to test each individual’s team working abilities, leadership skills, and professional competencies.
Behavioural interviews are often also called competency-based interviews or STAR interviews. They aim to assess how a candidate is likely to behave in the workplace based on their past behaviour in a similar situation. Interviewers achieve this by asking candidates to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain behaviours, knowledge, skills and abilities.
A case study or skills test puts a candidate in a hypothetical situation to determine how they might tackle a particular problem. These scenarios are sometimes used for digital or technology roles to assess candidates’ coding skills.
As you might imagine, stress interviews aim to test your ability to handle extreme pressure. In stress interviews, interviewers might ask deliberately confrontational, emotionally unsettling questions. What’s more, the simulation is likely to be under stressful conditions, such as in a hot room with harsh lighting. Thankfully, you’re unlikely to come across a stress interview unless you’re applying for an exceptionally high-pressure job.
Understand the Job You Are Applying For
The job description provides an answer to the following preparatory questions:
- Which skills and experience does the business expect?
- How does the successful candidate apply their skill set?
The responsibilities and desirable skills list will help define whether you are a suitable candidate. It will also provide guidance to determine how the hiring manager expects you to evidence your skills, including
- Academic degree
- Case studies from previous work experience
Once you understand how to demonstrate your competencies, you can also prepare the relevant materials. Software developers, for example, can design a mock programme tailored to the company to showcase their knowledge. A digital marketing expert can prepare a presentation of their previous projects.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Last but not least, it can be beneficial to practice your answer with a mock interview. You can record yourself answering tricky questions and talking about your skills and experience. It is a valuable exercise to identify issues in your introduction to address those before the actual interview. Alternatively, you can also ask a friend to interview you to help you prepare for the most common interview questions.
There’s no denying that rehearsing questions, especially awkward ones, can avoid many interview mishaps on the day.
You also want to be in a relaxed state, so your body language communicates confidence, self-assurance, and friendliness. Your body language can leave a positive impression, differentiating you from more nervous candidates. Making eye contact, smiling, and staying on one spot (rather than fidgeting) can work wonders in face-to-face and online interviews.
A Few Final Thoughts on Why You Should Prepare for a Job Interview
Walking into an interview room without any preparation is, more often than not, a waste of your and the hiring manager’s time. However, knowing what to prepare for can seem a little overwhelming if you don’t have a great deal of interview practice.
If you’re really short on time and want to know where to concentrate your efforts, at very least, you should:
- Research what the company does
- Know your CV inside out and be able to reference examples of past achievements
- Understand the job role
- Be able to explain why you want the job and why you think it should be yours
One of the main advantages of applying for jobs through a recruitment consultant is that they can help you with interview preparation. Reputable recruiters often have long standing relationships with their clients, and this puts them in an excellent position to guide you on what they look for and the questions they most commonly ask.
Before you embark on your next job search, speaking to one of our specialist IT Recruitment Consultants could give you the edge over the competition for the position you are applying for.