Welcome to 2021 and a Happy New Year to you all!!

  • Are you working on the premise of ‘New Year, New Job’?!
  • If so, how much preparation do you do before an interview?
  • Are you a last minute Larry who grabs their paperwork and arrives a few minutes late for every interview?

Or are you someone who takes time to prepare, like one of the members of my Facebook Group ( who, when asked how much time they spend preparing for an interview, commented, “Way too much! I think I prepared for the interview for my current job for about 3 weeks daily. The way I see it, you need to be better prepared than the competition.”

If one of your goals this year is to change jobs / career, or to secure a new role following redundancy, then it is really important to take time to prepare in advance of any interview that you are lucky enough to secure.

We are in challenging times currently, particularly now that we are working through another lockdown, which was imposed on 5th January 2021; as such, it may be proving harder to find a new job so when you do get invited along for an interview, you really do need to give it your best shot.

And that starts with your interview preparation.  You can never be too prepared!  Here are my 5 top tips for on how to nail the thorough research and effective preparation that are absolute essentials to guarantee interview success:

  1. Do your research!

Most companies will have a website.  This is a great starting point.  Take a look and find out what you can about the company.  There is a high chance that they will ask you what you know about them, and if you haven’t got a scooby doo, then you’ve probably wasted your time attending the interview in the first place.  They won’t expect you to know every intricate detail about the company, but if you can at least demonstrate that you have been onto their website and can quote a level of interest, that will stand you in good stead.  The more senior the role you are being interviewed for though, the more they will expect you to know – if you’re an accountant, they’ll be expecting some understanding of their financials whereas if you are applying for an entry level role they will expect you to know what their business is and what they do generally.  And key to all of this is enthusiasm for their business based on your research – so make sure that comes across!

  1. Understand the job!

It may sound daft, however, it is important that you know exactly what role you are being considered for and what it involves.  That way you can ask questions yourself.  Ideally you will have kept a copy of the advert / job that you have applied for, or a job description has been provided at the point of interview.  If not, ask in advance if they can send you a copy.  At the very least, know the job that you are being interviewed for – make sure you have read the full description in advance if it is has been provided directly to you. If not, request a copy. Failing that if you are being interviewed for a new position that you haven’t undertaken previously, find out what you can via the powers of Google and YouTube and any other platform that will give you some insight into the role and responsibilities in advance.

  1. Know who you are!

Again, this might sound a tad daft, but know your own CV!  Make sure that you know exactly what is on it, and if you have updated it since applying for the job you are being interviewed for, take a new copy with you.  And be prepared to answer questions about your experience.  DO NOT say, ‘It’s all on my CV’!  It might well be the case, however the interview process is all about finding out about you and your experience and suitability for the role hence the interview itself.  If they were hiring from a CV alone, it’s unlikely that you would be invited for an interview!

  1. Learn how to get there

Right now, most interviews are being conducted via Zoom or MS Teams, however, if you have been invited along for a face-to-face interview, make sure you know where the company is located and how to get there by car, on foot or public transport.  And do a reccy in advance. It’s far better to arrive early than 2 hours late!

  1. Get savvy with Zoom or Teams

If your interview is being conducted remotely, make sure you have secured some space at home or work where you won’t be interrupted; also make sure that you are dressed appropriately.  It is still an interview after all, even if you are working from home in your PJs most of the time!

These tips are vital; and within each point, I could go into more depth but this basic information is a great starting point.  I would, however, always suggest doing as much research as you can, as it will stand you in good stead – every time.  There is a wealth of information available at your fingertips in terms of preparing for and attending interviews on YouTube alone.  Please do take a look at and subscribe to my channel where there is a growing library of videos regarding interviews and careers, as well as career success stories and collaborations.

Good luck for 2021 and remember that Boy Scout moto ‘Be Prepared’.*

*In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to ‘Be Prepared’ means “You are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”

And I think that is a good state to be in, don’t you?