How To Prepare For An Onsite Interview

Going to an onsite interview is one of the most challenging and tense experiences anyone has to go through.

Not only is there a lot of pressure to succeed and nail the interview, but you want to make a good impression and ensure that nothing goes wrong to disrupt your interview process.

It’s often when you really don’t need things to go wrong that life throws a curveball at you, whether it be traffic, spilled coffee, or forgetting something crucial.

These can all throw a wrench into your interview plans and totally throw you off your game, causing you to lose confidence and potentially sabotage your chance of getting the job.

The best way to mitigate this sort of disruption is through preparation, as you can offset a lot of potential issues, and also ensure that your interview performance is as strong as possible.

In this guide, we’re going to look at everything from how to prepare yourself to nail the actual interview, to ensuring that nothing disrupts or distracts you while you’re in the interview.

Read The Job Description

This may seem obvious, but a lot of candidates don’t take the job description seriously, and many people who are uncertain about how to approach an interview overlook the clues and details that are available to them in a job description.

In essence, to increase your chances of success, you want to study the job description closely and ensure that you fulfil these requirements and also have specific, concrete examples.

Of how you have met these requirements or used the skills that are needed to demonstrate your confidence and proficiency in the areas the job requires.

Finding and picking out key details in the job description can really help you to convince recruiters that not only did you pay close attention to the specification.

But that you understand exactly what is needed and can offer an immediate and considerable benefit to the business, making you a very strong candidate for the position available.

Study And Anticipate Common Interview Questions

The next thing you should do when preparing for an interview is trying to anticipate the questions you’ll be asked.

This can be hard if you’re not very familiar with interviews, but there is still research you can do online into common interview questions.

Expect to be asked questions such as, ‘when have you used ‘X’ skill in your career previously?’ or ‘can you provide an example of how you’ve gone above and beyond to achieve your goals?’ etc. 

There are many questions like this that interviewers will use to put pressure on you, and many candidates who haven’t prepared adequately will be caught out by this, giving long rambling answers without clear specific details.

Being able to answer these questions confidently with prepared answers will make you seem very confident and skilled, making you a much better candidate and increasing your chances of success.

Research The Company, Its Projects And Values

Once you’ve prepared some answers and understand what the company is looking for in a candidate, it’s a good idea to try and get a sense of the company or business you’re looking to join.

Look into the company’s projects, both past, and present, as well as its values, ambitions, and culture, as well as reviews about the company on websites such as Glassdoor.

Not only will this help you determine if you’re a good fit for the culture of a company, but it will help you demonstrate how you can fit into the company, as well as potentially reveal whether a company is actually worth working for or not.

There are definitely companies out there with a poor working culture and bad working conditions, and learning this early on will help you to decide whether you want to progress with your application or not also.

Prepare Your Own Questions

There’s often a moment at the end of an interview where you’ll be asked if you have any questions for your interviewer. Many candidates will often simply say no, or ask a few basic questions about the next steps in the interview process.

However, this is your opportunity to show how enthusiastic you are and the research you’ve done into the company and its culture.

Asking specific questions about different projects, or key elements of the role on offer will indicate just how knowledgeable you are and what a strong candidate you’d make for the job on offer.

Always prepare at least two or three astute questions to really help you stand out from the other candidates.

Plan Your Journey To Arrive Early

Arriving late to an interview is a disaster, and when travelling to an onsite interview this can happen, particularly if the offices are located in a busy area.

Always leave in plenty of time and ideally arrive early to account for any issues that may arise during your journey into the site.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Resting up before an interview is also crucial as you will need to be at your most comfortable and alert for a fairly long period of time during the interview.

Getting tired or drowsy will definitely affect your interview performance, so try to go in rested to make the best impression possible.

Plan Your Outfit

Plan your outfit ahead of time, ideally a day or two before, and ensure that everything is ready and clean so that your morning is as stress-free as possible.

It’s also important to make sure you dress appropriately for the specific type of role or company you’re interviewing for.

Prepare And Bring Interview Materials

Bringing interview materials such as notes, a pen and paper, and credentials or ID may be critical, so double check before the interview that you have everything you need to be able to nail the interview once you’re in there.

Remain Calm And Focused

A key part of having a good interview is remaining calm and focused both before and during, to ensure that you answer clearly and confidently and give off an air of confidence and professionalism.

Think of all the preparation you’ve done, and your strengths, and tell yourself you’re going to have a good interview. A positive attitude and mindset are key to keeping confidence high.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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