The surprising truth about when to prepare for an interview

16 Aug 2016 by Lynne Wilkins.

There are lots of reasons why we leave preparing for things to the last minute. Our natural instinct is to avoid stress and interviews are definitely up there towards the top of the list of scary things. Sometimes for good reason – perhaps a really dreadful interview we had in the past is stuck in our mind, or we might recall what a friend told us about the shocking time they had met someone from the company we’re about to interview with.

The key is to prepare for your interview – at all times, collecting valuable examples of your achievements, attitude and skills along the way.

You’re not going to find an easy answer to behavioural questions unless you have invested time beforehand gathering lots of examples which demonstrate you at your best. And what interviewers love more than anything else is evidence of when and how you’ve demonstrated your high performer attitude. And the more examples you have of this the better.

To do this, you will need to collect examples of the way you’ve done great things. This means stuff that YOU have influenced, not just team results. The more evidence you can bring to the table the better and what you should really be keeping track of is anything that is quantifiable.

Think of it this way. Who would an organisation be more likely to hire? The candidate who says what they ‘would’ do something or the one who says exactly what they have done, with how much extra revenue or other quantifiable return they made for their employer?

The trouble is, pulling together examples of ‘return on investment’ (ROI) you produce is time consuming to collate. Nearly all PR professionals do this for their clients or employer on a regular basis but how many do this for themselves too? Even in this day and age of fantastic knowledge management technology, it can still be time-consuming.

What is even more difficult is to demonstrate how what you did relates to ROI. When I recruited PR professionals for clients, I was always more impressed by candidates who said ‘we got x likes on Facebook which meant x for the client’ rather than just telling me they got loads of likes. The very best people would give me names of journalists they’d spoken to and how that led to results, what angle they had used and what that did for their client’s or employer’s business.

If you’re primed to collect this kind of evidence regularly, you will find it much easier to prepare for interviews and the bonus is that you will enjoy a great sense of achievement as you do it. We tend to get more of what we focus on, so this is also a great way to prime yourself for success.

I have met so many people over the years who struggle to come with examples of their achievements – don’t be one of them. You never know when the next career opportunity is going to come your way, so always be preparing and don’t just leave it to the night or week before. Make a point of collecting evidence as you go along, think through how this connects to value and you could even set a regular date with yourself in your diary to focus on this.

The best employers are always on the look out for great talent and will fish in the pool (about 60%) of potential employees who aren’t actively looking in the job market. So make sure you’re ready for them. Do yourself a favour and start collecting the evidence of your greatness on a regular basis.

About the Author

Lynne Wilkins, former partner at The Works, now channels her passion for helping people change as a Career Coach ( and Cognitive Hypnotherapist ( She’s an accredited member (HPD) of the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) and is also a qualified NLP Practitioner. If you would like to talk to Lynne about her bespoke Career Coaching support or Cognitive Hypnotherapy email

Salary Survey 2018 - 2019