Prepare for the Interview
Prepare for the Interview
The best way to ace your next job interview is to prepare for it. This may sound obvious, but it's not. Too many applicants walk into an interview without knowing as much as they should about the industry, the company and its problems. Please remember the following points.
1. Know the Company
Find out as much as you can about the position, the company and its needs, so that you can show how your background meets those needs. Telephone the receptionist and ask for copies of company brochures. Be friendly and professional on the phone and when you go pick up those brochures. (A receptionist who takes a liking to you can be one of your most important allies in getting a job.) Research the company at your local library and on the Internet.
Mentally review the skills and character traits you have that will help the company's bottom line. Think in terms of the value you can add to the position and the company.
Know your Job Hstory
Mentally review your past achievements and be prepared to describe your work experience in detail. Gather letters of reference and samples of your work to present to the interviewer as proof of your past accomplishments. Practice describing your experience in terms of your responsibilities and accomplishments at each job.
Know the Questions
You can almost bet on being asked: "Tell me about yourself." Approach this from the employer's point of view. Ask yourself, "If I were hiring someone for this position, what would I want to know?" Then answer those questions. And be ready for tough ones, too. Think of the worst questions you could be asked about your experience and abilities, then prepare positive responses.
Prepare questions of your own
Employers are as interested in your questions as they are in your answers. And they'll react favorably if you ask intelligent questions about the position, the company and the industry. (Examples: Where does this position fit into the company as a whole? Is there any problem on this job with waste/accuracy/meeting quotas, etc.? What is the largest single problem facing your staff now?)
Get the big picture
Visualize the entire interview, from start to finish. See yourself as performing with style and confidence. How will the interview end? Will you get a job offer or be called back for a second interview? How much salary do you want? What kind of benefits? The research you did in step 1 will give you an idea of what to expect. Be ready for any eventuality.
Make a Good First Impression
The outcome of the interview will depend largely on the impression you make during the first five minutes. To succeed, you must project a professional, competent and enthusiastic image. Your aim is to convince the interviewer that you would be an asset to the company. Keep the following in mind:
Do whatever it takes to arrive a few minutes early. If necessary, please arrive in the location at least one day earlier which will save your time due to traffic jam or sudden blockade of the highways due to strike.
Your clothing should be appropriate for the position you're seeking. If you don't know what the typical attire at the company is, call and ask! Shoes should be polished; pants/skirts and shirts pressed.
Clean hair and fingernails are essential. Hair should be styled conservatively. Avoid excessive make-up, jewellery or cologne.
A firm handshake is appropriate and projects confidence. Make eye contact when you shake.
Send the right message by standing straight, moving confidently, and sitting slightly forward in your chair.
Conduct the Interview
Have your own agenda and know where the interview should be heading. They will give you confidence and help you move from one area of questioning to the next. Most interviewers are as uncomfortable as you are. They just want the position to be filled as fast as possible. If you can put the interviewer at ease by helping things move smoothly, you'll improve your chances of being hired. Remember the following:
Enthusiasm and eye contact.
Show your enthusiasm by making eye contact and keeping an interested expression. Nod and gesture in moderation; excessive body movement can distract and annoy the interviewer.
Listen carefully and ask questions to probe deeper into what the interviewer is telling you. Most interviewers are delightfully surprised by a question such as, "How could I help you solve the problem you've just described?"
Good grammar and articulate speech are essential. If this is an area where you're weak, work on it. Practice in front of a mirror, record your voice, take classes -- do whatever it takes to become a more effective communicator.
Negative statements about previous jobs or employers. NEVER make them.
Instead, be diplomatic. No matter how bad your last job or boss was, there's probably something good you learned from the experience. Emphasize the positive -- with a smile.
It's essential that you write a thank-you note to every person you met at the company.
Your most important letter(s) should go to the interviewer(s). In your letter, be sure to summarize your conversation and re-emphasize the skills you would bring to the position. Thank them for their time and ask if it's all right to call later in the week to see how their search for a candidate is going. That candidate may well be you!
Some General Job Interview Tips
- Do not smoke, chew gum, or eat garlic beforehand.
- Wear suitable interview clothes.
- Take copies of your CV with you.
- Arrive on time for your job interview.
- Any applications handed before the interview begins, are to be filled in as accurately as possible, make sure they match the information in your Cv and Cover Letter.
- Always greet the interviewer by his/her last name and try to pronounce it correctly.
- Have a good firm handshake.
- Look alert and interested. Scan the room once and then keep your eyes on the interviewer.
- Wait until you are offered a chair before you sit down.
- Stress your achievements.
- Always conduct yourself professionally and if something beyond your control occurs, show a sense of humor.
- Be enthusiastic and show it in your replies and body language.
- Answer the interview question by more than a simple yes or no but try not to go over the 60 second limit.
- Avoid at all cost complaining about your current or former employer in your job interview.
- Do not answer questions about politics or religion if the job is completely unrelated.
- Do not raise salary discussions on your first interview - this is usually done on the second interview. Make sure you do your wage research before hand.
Your answer to the initial opening statements in the job interview are important, these are called "ice breakers".
Some times the interviewer will ask whether you had difficulty finding the company premises. Your answer should be brief and polite. The interviewer is merely being polite - if you had problems in finding the premises he/she doesn't need to know that.
Use replies such as
I'm fine thank you, and you?
I'm very well, thank you.
These replies express a careless attitude
Not so well