Fail To Prepare – Prepare To Fail. My Top Interview Tips

Fail To Prepare – Prepare To Fail. My Top Interview Tips

I’m Preparing to go back to work to work after my maternity leave, I have my first interview lined up this week. I have put together a list of my top interview tips below.

Fail to prepare

1. Research

This is the main one, you can do all of my other tips on this list, but if you turn up to an interview without an idea of who the company are, what they stand for, and what your job role is. You’d have been as well not turning up at all. Do some serious research on the company, read everything. It’s better to know too much about the company than nothing at all. Ensure you look for any mission statements they may have (these are always great to drop in during an interview) Know what your job role would be, ensure that it’s something you’d be able to do, and willing to do. They are going to ask yous questions through the interview about their company, and why you want to work for them. The only way you can answer these is if you do your research.

Interview prep

2. Practice interview questions

Get a family member, a friend of a mirror to help you out. I genuinely talked to myself in the car on the way to the interview to get some last minute question prep in. You will always get asked some of the same questions in almost every job interview, so it’s good to prepare for these. Ones like “Tell me what skills you can bring to the company?” “Why do you want to work for us?” “Tell me a bit about yourself.” These can be some of the hardest questions to answer, as it involves blowing your own trumpet, but if you have a set of skills and qualities stored in your head, you can answer these questions confidently. You will also get questions that start with “Tell me a time when….” these ones aren’t as easy to prepare for as it’s really dependent on the job role your applying for. However they may finish with, “you worked as part of a team,” or “dealt with a challenging situation” These co-inside with question that start with “Tell me how you would”

Turn your weakness into a positive. They are likely to ask you what your biggest weakness is! I always say don’t use your typical “I care too much” “I can’t leave until I finish a project”‘ect. Use something that you actually have a weakness in. Be honest (not too honest!) however ensure that you can turn your weakness into a positive. For example, “I struggle doing…. but I am a really hard worker, dedicated and enjoy learning new skills….. ect.

Finally prepare a question or 2 to ask your potential employer. I recommend asking about training opportunities or career progression. These ensure you look interested in the post, and are interested in growing with the company. Your interviewer is looking for you to ask questions.

3. Research your travel.

Whether you are taking public transport or driving, know exactly where to go. I always do a drive around before my interview day, to ensure I know exactly where the building is. I know how long it will take me to get there. It allows me to assess the road, and look for anything that would potential cause a delay. If I was to take public transport, I would check the travel times, keep a look out for any delays, or cancellations. Ensure you will get there with plenty of time to spare. It’s better to get there too early, and have time to gather your thoughts, than be rushing in there, all flustered, and starting your interview off on a bad note! However I would recommend not going into the building far too early, as you might look “overly keen”

Prepare yourself

4. Prepare yourself

This is anything from looking out your clothes, making sure they are ironed and presentable, polish your shoes, prepare your handbag. Look out any documents you might need. This could be any qualifications, regulated body registrations, proof of ID and address. Have everything laid out the night before, this will ensure you don’t feel rushed and harassed the next day. Don’t go OTT on the make up, perfume/aftershave. You aren’t going on a date, you don’t want to overwhelm, you want to be remembered for your talent, not that you had an over powering smell. Obviously you want to smell nice, and look good to feel confident, just don’t over do it.

5. Accept the glass of water

This one might sound crazy, but if they offer you a glass of water say yes! If they don’t offer you one, don’t be afraid to ask. If you get stuck on a question, and need a minute to gather your thoughts, then having a sip of water. It looks so much better than sitting there, looking like you don’t know how to answer the question!

6. They expect you to be nervous

Interviews are nerve racking. It’s totally normal to be nervous. I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t have any nerves at all before an interview. Don’t worry about it. Most of the time, the person interviewing you has been exactly where you are now. Everyone has had to apply for jobs, and have interviews. Your interviewer is a person too, and knows what it’s like to be in your shoes. In fact, they may be new to interviewing and be just as nervous as you. Just try and find ways of coping with it. I tend to hold my hands under the table so the interviewer can’t see them shaking or fidgeting! I also go in with the mindset that if I make an idiot of myself and they love me, I get the the job. If I make an idiot of myself and they don’t like me, then I never need to see them again. That really helps me deal with my nerves.

7. Maintain Eye Contact and Body language .

This is a biggy!! You want to maintain eye contact throughout your interview. Don’t stare your interviewer out though, you don’t want to be creepy! Haha, but you do want to look interested. Sit up straight, open your shoulders. You want to have an open, welcoming posture. This shows that you are friendly, and approachable. Definitely don’t slouch, you will look lazy, and like you are not interested in the job at all. Ensure that you shake the interviewers hand, at the start and end of the interview. This shows professionalism. Introduce yourself at the beginning, and Thank them for their time at the end of the interview. If you are waiting in a room prior to an interview, ensure you have the same open, positive body language. If there are posters, information on the wall, read them! Do not sit on your phone, do not fidget! A lot of the time, your potential employer is already assessing you. If it’s not them directly, the receptionist may feed back to your interviewer at the end.

Be yourself

8. Be yourself

This is my last tip. You want to prepare as much as possible, but don’t loose yourself.

Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. The person interviewing you, is not only looking for your professional qualities, they are looking at your personality. They are looking to see if you would be a good fit personality wise. Will you merge well with the team that they already have. Also you have to look at the company, and see if they are a right fit for you too. You don’t want to go into work every day hating your job. You want to find a career that you enjoy, and can excel in. So make sure that this company is able to do that for you.

I hope you find these tips helpful for your interviews! If you have any that aren’t on my list, I’d love to hear! What do you do to prepare yourself for an interview?

Some useful links for interview preparation.


Direct Gov

My world of work

Goodbye Maternity Leave, Hello Working Mum

Goodbye Maternity Leave, Time to Prepare Myself for Going Back to Work

Maternity leave

Goodbye Maternity Leave

My maternity leave has come to an end and now it’s time for me to prepare going back to work! How did that happen! I swear I was pregnant like a blink ago! My contract ended whilst I was on maternity leave, so I am on the look out for a new job, as well as trying to prepare myself mentally for leaving my baby and going back to work!


I have my first interview lined up for Wednesday this week, and I am crazy nervous! It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had an interview, and I have had almost a year off work. During this time I have become accustomed to the stay at home Mum life. I quite like it, it’s been a struggle at times, but it’s been so lovely to be there with both my children, and enjoy so much what I missed out on when my son was a baby. With him I went back to work when he was 3 months old, missing out on so much of his firsts. However being a stay at home Mum isn’t something we can afford permanently at the moment, and I have also missed having the “professional me” who wants to climb the career ladder.

Working Mum

Ironically in my last position, I worked with young people who were out of work, and some who had been out of work for a while. As part of my role, I helped them with their CV, applications and interview techniques. So really, this process should be quite easy for me… or so you would think!

Practice what I Preach 

I am trying to practice what I preached and prepare myself as much as I can for the interview this week. My interview outfit  is ready, minus the shoes! I need to find some interview shoes that are easy to walk in, look professional, and are affordable, all suggestions welcome! To ensure I know where I am going on Wednesday, I will be doing a drive round before my interview. I will be doing some serious research about the company, and the job role, and hopefully once I have done all of this, I will feel confident in my interview. A statement I stand by in all aspects of life, and something I’d always tell my clients was “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

I have put together a list of my top interview tips! Read them here!

Most importantly for me at the moment is, I am mentally trying hard to prepare myself for going back to work. I can totally understand why people find it hard to go back to work after being out of it for a while. It’s daunting. I mean there’s a million questions running around in my head. Am I doing the right thing? Will I get the Job? If I do, will I be able to do the job? Will they like me? Will my children cope with me not being around all the time, will I be able to cope without being around my children all the time? How am I going to know the answer to any of these unless I take the jump and head back to work. So Wish me luck! I am going to need it!

Working Mum

Keep a look out for my post on how my interview went! I’d love to hear other parents views on how they felt going back to work. Leave your comments below 🙂