If you’ve reached the interview stage, you should now be confident in the knowledge, skills and experience you have to offer commercial businesses. Whether this is the first interview you have had since you left the military or the 10th, you are still going to want to get it right and first thing to note is that preparation really is key! For more guidance, read this post showcasing SaluteMyJob’s top five tips on how best to prepare for a job interview.
1. Do your homework
Make sure you understand the breadth of what the company does and what the job you are being interviewed for, requires from you. You must be fully prepared to answer any questions about the company and the job role. Nobody is expecting you to be an expert, but you must show the employer that you have done your research. We also recommend researching the interviewer/s so you know who you are talking to.
Visit the employer’s website, look at their mission statement and annual report. Find out how they are performing - and where the job you’re applying fits. Look at news articles, read their blog and social media posts to get a real insight into the company you could be working for.
Use LinkedIn to gain an insight into your interviewer/s. This will help you pitch your answers appropriately.
Find out who their competitors are.
Find out about recent news stories that have been published about the company, that would be suitable to discuss at the interview.
2. Understand how your skills, qualifications and experience translate to the job role
Make sure you have analysed the job description and the job’s requirements so you understand how your own skills and experience make the right candidate for the role. This will most likely be one of the questions an interviewer will ask - so make sure you know the answer!
If you have registered with SaluteMyJob, one of our expert employment advisors will help you translate your skills and experience to the specific job role and for extra guidance, check out our skills translation guides on our website.
3. Prepare and rehearse
One of our recruitment experts will be able to help you prepare by running through some practice interviews - but it is important to also do your own research. You must be prepared to answer, with confidence, a range of questions on yourself, the role, your skills and your career ambitions.
For extra guidance, look on the internet to find out the most commonly asked questions during an interview and prepare example answers so you aren't fumbling to respond.
Research Competency Based Interviewing and STAR method of answering.
Be ready to talk about yourself and your career aspirations.
4. Plan what you are going to wear, what to take to the interview and how you are going to get there
An interview will be the first time an employer is meeting you so it is important to dress the part, look clean and be tidily groomed. We advise you wear business attire - and make sure your overall appearance is professional.
Research which method of transport will be the most reliable for getting to the interview location - if possible recce the location beforehand and make sure you arrive at least ten minutes before your interview slot.
Switch your phone off and if possible, leave it in your car or coat pocket.
Ensure you take the required documentation. As a minimum it is advisable to take photo identification, a copy of your references and your education/qualification certificates.
Always take two copies of your CV. The interviewer should have it already but if they don't have it to hand, it looks great when you're able to hand them a copy and have one to reference yourself. Also print off a copy of the job description and highlight key points, make sure it is visible to the interviewer so they can see that you've done your research and highlighted the skills you have.
5. Plan what questions you are going to ask
At the end of an interview, an employer will ask if you have any questions. This is a great chance for you to show the employer you have done your homework - and prove you really want the job.
Many jobseekers make it all the way to the final hurdle of being interviewed, but fail to successfully showcase their true potential during the interview. We interviewed a Senior Manager, who served a full career in the Army, to find out about his experience of being on an interview panel, where an ex-infantry soldier had all the potential and experience to get the role - but did not perform well in the interview.
“An ex-infantryman came to an interview for a professional post within the organisation. He had been through the initial sift, he had all the right qualifications, he had completed all his resettlement courses and came across as having the right experience for the role and made it to interview. But how he conducted himself in interview was the key thing. The way he handled himself in interview was simply all wrong. The first thing that stood out was I do not think he did enough prior research into the role. It seemed like he did not have a good enough grasp of how his skills could be translated into the role he was being interviewed for. Quite simply - he had not done enough homework. The other issue and the most important, was how he conducted himself during the interview. It was if he was delivering a set of battle orders or fire control orders. The way you deliver fire control orders is very succinct, straight to the point CLAP - clear, loud, as an order with pauses - that is how he came across. That is not how you conduct yourself in an interview. Although I knew where he was coming from, the other two on the panel did not. The bottom line was, although I could see the potential in this guy and I thought he was the man for the job - he scared them off.”
If you would like additional help and support in preparing for an interview, please register with SaluteMyJob. We will fully prepare you for your interview, making you more of a competitive candidate, so you can really show our clients why they should hire you.