10 Tips to Prepare for your Job Interview
Preparing for job interview does not need to be a struggle!
Many people spend ages worrying about the answers to common questions or what to wear.
Many other do very little to prepare and wonder why they don't get hired.
The truth is looking for a job is easier if you consider it to be a job in itself and that there are skills needed to secure one in the same way that one needs skills to excel in any job. Additionally, many variables play into whether one will secure a job or not. The process is not always as straightforward as we may like it to be. An employer doesn’t just pick up a stack of resumes and decide that this one will do while this one will not. The process for both the parties involved is an intricate affair that calls for patience and persistence to ensure that they both come out happy with their pick: an employer with the best employee from the pack and employee a job with meaning and purpose.
Behind the Scenes
One part of job searching is attending job interviews. If you are called in for an interview, you are already ahead of many others because you have the opportunity to meet a potential employer face to face and convince them that you are their best bet. There are however factors that play behind the scenes that most people are not aware of - an understanding of which will put you miles ahead of the competition.
The potential employer is probably just as nervous as you are
Crazy as that seems, it is reality - the employer wants to make the right decision and choose an employee who will meet their needs. They are concerned that making the wrong choice will play negatively against them since they will have wasted resources on the wrong employee. The entire process of choosing an employee is time-consuming, and money is spent on things such as training. Additionally, a wrong employee could negatively affect the employer’s corporate culture. As such, the employer does not want to get this wrong and is just waiting for you to show him/her that you are their best bet and the best fit.
Interviewers are human
Much as we have made numerous technological advancements, job interviews are still conducted by human beings and not robots. As such, as an interviewee, you should know that an interviewer may not have much experience in conducting interviews. They could easily make a poor decision in the end, and it is up to you to ensure that the interviewer’s limited experience does not affect you negatively.
Whatever the situation, you should make the decision of choosing you as an employee easy on the interviewer’s part. Even if you are interviewed by an interviewer with truck loads of experience, you should still remember that he/she is human. Bear in mind that their interviewing style may not be what you are used to but still strive to show them that you are their best choice.
Tips for Succeeding in an Interview
Having covered what goes on behind the scene, what should you bear in mind even as you walk into an interview room? Below are ten tips that will set you apart from the rest of the pack during any interview process.
These 10 tips will give you all you need to get the job.
These tips will prepare you for a wide range of interviewers and ensure that you stand the best chance of getting the job.
In the video the importance of practicing your answers to common questions is discussed so that you can practice meeting the concerns of the employer - skills, experience and commitment to doing a good job.
Research involves doing your homework. For an employer it can be annoying when an interviewee walks in without having an idea what is needed of them. As an interviewee, you should come armed with knowledge of the skills, experience and commitment needed from you to Excel in the job vacancy.
There is absolutely no excuse for walking into an interview without knowledge of what is expected of you. Read the job description and what it calls for. Ensure you are clear on what the job is asking for. Show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable in what you are talking about. Show them that competence is your middle name. That you follow through with everything you put your mind to. Research on the company that you are hoping to join.
How big is the company?
What is their work culture?
Where are they based?
How will you fit in if given the opportunity to join them?
How suited are you to the needs of the company?
What can you find on their LinkedIn profile?
Can you get a sneak peek into their current employees and what their skill set for the job you are applying for looks like?
Research! This can never be emphasised enough. You don’t want to be caught off-guard and flat footed when the interviewer asks (even subconsciously) if you’ll fit in.
These tie in well with the point above. As you do your research on the job description and the company you are hoping to join, come up with stories that will show that the skills and experience you have tie into the job description given. Everyone loves a good story. Remember that you are being interviewed by human beings. Interviewers like a good story. Stories make you more likeable while showing off your skills and competencies. Getting the interviewers to fall for your stories could be the “it” factor that actually lands you the job. Stories are perfect for breaking the ice and creating human connection that will prompt the interviewer to want to know more about you and come to the conclusion that you are their best fit. Practice these stories on someone and have them give you feedback on how to improve and properly tie them into the points you are trying to make.
Run through Answers to Common Interview Questions
We all know the interview questions that never miss out:
Tell me about yourself?
What do you know about us?
- Why are you applying to this job?
How would you describe yourself?
- Why us?
There are plenty of pages on the internet that give you pointers on how best to answer these questions. This doesn’t mean that you should cram a given response from the internet and recite it word for word. No. Get the key point then paraphrase it in a way that sounds more like you. After all, you are not the only one who will have looked into how best to answer them. Remember, you want to stand out. You don’t want to sound come off like a robot. Your aim is for a human connection that will give you an advantage over everyone else. Remember to tie in the stories we talked about above into your responses.
Have Questions Ready for the Interviewer
At some during the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have questions for them. You would better have at least a question or two ready. Some questions you can ask include:
What is my day-to-day?
What do you reckon are the most important skills and experience?
Who would I report to? And/or Who would I be responsible for?
Was I able to show that I can do this job well?
Nothing screams ready and competence as much as having questions for the interviewer. Questions show that you took the time to look into what the company stands for. That you put in the effort to check whether you will be a good fit for the company. They show that you value your potential employer and you took time to ensure that the employer will be getting the best out of you if you are picked as their next employee. Questions subtly communicate the message that you take yourself very seriously and the interviewer should also take you seriously. You want to show that you are bringing your best on board and that by hiring you, they are getting the best of the best.
Be Clear About the Money
The conversation around money always crops up, and most interviewers will want you to give them a figure. Keep off this agenda until later on in the interview since this shows that you are committed to the job. Ensure that you don’t get excited and say something silly that will put off the interviewer and see you lose any chances of securing the job. Once again, research is key. Show that you know what your role is worth. Research on the industry rates for the job you are applying for. If possible, find out the rates of your job description for the company you are interviewing for. This shows you are keen. Keen is good since it bestows confidence on your reliability in the long-term. Don’t under rate or over rate your worth. You want to get it just right. Above all, endeavour to have an open discussion on this matter so that you get what you deserve.
What to Wear
Whether you like it or not, people tend to judge others based on how they are dressed. With dressing, you want to go a step above the everyday wear of the company you are interviewing for. If it’s a button down shirt and slacks sort of environment, throw in a tie. This makes you relatable while at the same time showing that you respect the interviewer and the workplace. You may need to invest in an attire suitable for interviews so as to leave a good first impression. Additionally, dressing appropriately boosts your confidence putting you at ease to tackle the rest of the interview instead of being overly anxious. Dress to impress. It always works.
You might have been thinking that all the above will have already made you stand out. Well, there is still more you can do to impress and to stand out. Research crops up once again. You always want to ensure you are a step ahead of your interviewer and competitors. Take the initiative to do something special. If you can meet with individuals in a similar role at the company you have applied to or even their competitors, they will give you tips on how you can impress. For example, you may want to carry printouts showing something you’ve prepared for a project similar to those the company may be currently working on. If an opportunity comes up for you to go above and beyond, you want to be ready. This ties into your competence once again and shows that you are the one they should choose.
Keep It Positive
Positivity is crucial during interviews. Given that you are attending an interview, it means that you are either not happy at your current job or that something happened that made you lose or quit your last job. This creates a recipe for you to be tempted to talk bad about your current boss or your past boss. Additionally, interviewers will try to bait you into talking negatively about your current or past employers. Don’t fall for it. Steer away from negativity at all costs. Keep it at a non-personal level so that you are not badmouthing your current or past employer. A potential employer does not want you talking negatively about them as soon as you are hired and that you won’t be talking negatively about them if you ever leave the job they’ve given you. An employer wants to know that their reputation will still be intact if they hire you.
It’s amazing how being nervous can make us forget all courtesy. Smile during the interview. Have a firm handshake. Let your body language show that you are actually interested in attending the interview. Sit forward. Use gestures when necessary. If something funny is said during the interview, laugh if it calls for it. Your body language should speak that you are relatable and that you will fit in with the rest of the people who are already working for your employer. Show that you are human.
Say Thank You
This is the greatest tip of all time. Say thank you. Show your appreciation for being called in for the interview. You don’t have to buy flowers and send in balloons or anything of the sort, a simple email or text message depending on the platform you were using to communicate prior to the interview will do the trick. You’d be amazed at how many employers choose employees simply because one took the time to thank them for the interview. The best time to do so is a couple of hours after the interview and latest on the next day.
There you have it. Ten interview tips to help you stand out from everyone else and to land that job you’ve been eyeing. All the best in your interviews.