One of the most crucial parts of the job search process is the interview. Interviews can be a stressful interaction, but preparation will help you remain calm. Nervous behavior discourages the employer from talking with you. So rehearse, and approach the interview like you would a discussion with your colleagues or other contacts. Interviews are merely a discussion between adults to ensure that both parties are suitable for each other.
Earning an interview is encouraging in the job search. You should be excited that the client wants to talk with you. By inviting you to interview, the employer believes your experience matches their company needs. The conversation will allow the employer to ask additional questions to get to know you better, and hopefully determine if your personality fits in their work environment.
The interview is set up so both parties can achieve certain goals:
- Verify your skills, work background and the ability to do the job.
- Determine whether you will fit into the environment and company culture.
- Confirm that you are confident, enthusiastic, and positive.
- Observe you can communicate effectively.
- Determine if the position and company are right for you.
- Assess whether the employees are the type of people you would desire to work with.
- Demonstrate your communication skills, experiences, and interests.
- Make an excellent impression.
- Impress upon the employer that you will add value to their team.
Successful Interview Tips
1. Prepare yourself by doing your homework before the interview.
Obtain as many details as possible from the recruiter, HR personnel or hiring manager. Always ask for a detailed job description. Read their website, if you have any contacts in the company then ask relevant questions to gain information, read up on news articles and gather any company literature that may be available to the public.
Ask about the interview format:
- Will there be one or several people conducting the interview?
- What do you need to bring to the interview?
- Do they plan on conducting a skills test at the interview?
2. Always confirm information about the interview such as the address, start and end time. If the interview is in another city confirm the time zone so you are on their time.
- Always follow up 24 – 48 hours before the interview and confirm the time and place.
- Always leave early in case any hold-ups or issues should arise.
- If you are running late and have to rush, it will affect your interview.
3. Prepare your appearance and your attitude.
- Confirm with your recruiter or the human resource department the attire for the interview.
- Dress professionally, and remember to smile.
- Introduce yourself to the interviewer and give a firm handshake.
- Smile and make eye contact with the interviewer and any people you meet.
In the event it is a phone or web conference interview, always smile as you are speaking, as the interviewer will sense a positive personality.
4. Determine possible questions they may ask you, and prepare your responses.
Interviewers vary from company to company and it is difficult to predict what you may be asked.
- They will probably want specific examples of what you have done in the past.
- You will be asked about why you changed jobs and why the change now.
- Typically you are asked to identify your weaknesses. It is important to have an answer and show how you have improved, or how the weakness could be turned into a strength.
- IMPORTANT – Always be honest with your answers. An interviewer will sense if you are lying.
5. Sell yourself and be considerate of the time during the interview.
- Keep in mind that you are probably not the only candidate they are interviewing that day.
- The interviewer is only going to remember those who give interesting points about themselves.
- Bring pen and paper.
- In advance, write down your skills, strengths and achievements to discuss during the interview.
- Be prepared to discuss the areas that you could improve.
6. Always listen carefully to the questions.
People tend to fail tests because they did not read the question properly. This also happens on interviews.
- Listen to each question they ask you
- Take time to think about the question before responding.
- Make sure you understand what they are asking, and if not, ask them to repeat the question.
- Be very clear with your response. Try to incorporate some examples.
- Be aware not to ramble; speaking too much can be a costly mistake.
- If you do not know an answer, simply tell them the truth. They will respect you more for honesty.
7. The interviewer might require further information, so be prepared.
Be sure you can explain everything thoroughly regarding your employment history. The interviewer will probably ask you to elaborate on your career achievements. Always keep your answers detailed but keep in mind they are looking for the big picture unless they specify otherwise.
8. Ask the interviewer questions about the company and position, and consider their responses.
At some point in the interview they will ask you if you have any questions. The worst thing you can do is say “no”.
- Conduct research of the company to identify areas of discussion.
- Prepare some questions before you go to the interview.
- Frame questions around what is important to you about the job and culture. This could make you stand out because you understand the position and company.
- Ask questions specific to the role, not general questions that could easily be answered by some quick research.
Make sure you limit the number of questions. The interviewer may only have a certain amount of time to speak with you.
9. Do not be afraid to take notes.
This looks very professional and if you are called in for a second interview it would allow you to do some research on their questions. Also, when they are describing the job benefits, you do not have to ask them again.
10. Never think the interview is over until it has been confirmed.
Always leave the interview with a pleasant vibe:
- Look the interviewer in the eye.
- Always give them a firm handshake and warm smile.
- Thank them for their time and for considering you.
- If you want the job then tell them you want it, and why.
A follow-up letter to the interviewer via e-mail or mail always leaves a good impression. Do this within 24 hours of the interview. Remember, you could have been the only candidate to do this and it could make a significant impression on them.
In the event the position is not within your expectations be polite and tell them why. They will appreciate the fact that you are not going to waste their time. They could have another position that is more catered towards your expectations and experiences.
11. Some of the “do nots” of an interview.
If you demonstrate these behaviors, you will most likely be rejected.
- Do not make negative comments about previous employers. Any criticism should be balanced with a positive comment.
- Do not gossip about things from the past.
- Do not talk about politics or religion.
- ABSOLUTELY DO NOT lie about anything – you may get the job and it can almost be guaranteed that if you lied about certain skills and requirements the employer will find out. This could lead to your termination during the probationary period or later on.