Predicting and planning an interview

An interview is like an exam, right? You're never quite sure what questions are going to come up.

Well, that's true in some ways – but like with any exam, you do have a good idea of the sorts of things that will be coming your way in an interview. And there are definitely things you can do to help make sure the experience goes as well as possible.

No one is a massive fan of revision, but it can be really interesting – and will definitely pay off when you come to be tested. The same is true of preparing properly for an interview.

Create a question list

A question list can be an excellent tool to create pre-interview. You may not be able to predict exactly what questions will come up, but chances are you can have a good stab. Write down a list of everything you're likely to be asked – then consider in detail how you would answer each query.  

The great thing about this? It will pinpoint any obvious things that you really should be able to speak about, but might not be able to yet.

You CV is the first port of call for this task – it will hold many of the topics your interviewer will want to cover when you meet.  

Some of your predicted questions will be about your past work for example. Look for added details that aren't on your CV, but which the interviewer could want to know more about. How long did you have a particular responsibility, for example? What was your biggest achievement in a particular role?

If you think about questions that could come from your CV for a long time, you may well come out with more possible questions than even your interviewer – who may well not have spent that long with the document – has thought of!

Next stop – the company you could end up working for and its wider sector. Think about what you might be asked about these things, and remember to look at the company website to get an insight into how things work there. Find out about recent developments in the sector that you might be asked about. Again, spend plenty of time considering your answers to any questions that might come up.

There will be other topics that might be covered at interview too: the particular role that you're applying for, for example.

It always pays to be prepared and have what you want to say on the tip of your tongue in the sometimes nerve-wracking scenario of the interview.

Practice

There are various ways that you can practice the interview scenario, once you've spent time considering possible questions.

A good technique is to get a friend to ask you some of your questions, to test whether you're able to answer them quickly and well in conversation.

They may be able to point out places you're underselling yourself or sound unconvincing.

Another technique is to write all the questions on different pieces of paper, pick them at random and answer them out loud to yourself. Try recording your efforts on your phone or another device, so you can play back your answers and get a feel for the impression they make. 

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.

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