If you are ever going to get a job and work for some other person (and most of us do), now is the time to understand what an interview is and know what to do in preparation for it. Whether you think the exercise is important or not, your performance during a job interview would be the main reason why you either get the job or not. Just the word “interview” usually scares a lot of people. That’s because though there is so much information about interviews, how to go about them and stand a better chance of succeeding, people still carry about this uncertainty that causes anxiety. Getting ready for an interview is very important because they are pretty much like school examinations. Even the best students become anxious after writing exams, especially when they hear the results are out. It is important to first know that you can actually stand a better chance at succeeding at a job interview and consequently getting the job. But that will happen if you know and apply the following job interview preparation tips.
Do your research
When we talk about job interview preparation tips, the first thing to look out for is the importance of research as this will guide other decisions you make. Generally, interviewers will want to know whether or not you have the slightest genuine interest in the company you desire to work for. Of course if you do, it should be able to reflect in how much you know about it. Don’t panic, whatever interview questions you are asked will normally be about general issues concerning the company, its services or products. Just simple things of that nature. So find out about the company, it’s date of creation, the founder, the different significant episodes and changes it has gone through etc. Some companies have a lot to find out about so better take out some time to do your research. There are particular websites like career search which could give you a rundown of the company and its profile. These will be an asset when it comes to understanding the structure or oganigram of the company. Besides that, you can also go through the company’s website to do your findings.
Most companies that exist today have websites and some of those websites provide detailed information about the company. At least there would be enough information on it to know the answers to some interview questions that may be asked during your interview. Therefore when you visit the website, be sure to check up its background information, mission statement or goal. The founders, the team of workers or at least top workers and other such important information about the company. Find information on the company’s products, services, target customers, as well as recent reports on their projects and growth rate. These are things you should never ignore when getting ready for an interview.
You can also inquire on who will be conducting the interview and do some background check on their personality and service to the company.
These things may not sound important at the moment, especially if you have never really been through an interview before but be rest assured, they are job interview preparation tips you cannot afford to ignore. Believe me, knowing them could make a whole lot of difference regarding the impression you make on the person interviewing you and whether or not you get the job. It is better to know and the information is not required of you at the interview than to not know and be asked. Getting information concerning the company you intend to work for as well as the person who will be interviewing you is one of the most important tips for a successful interview.
Consider your skills and the job requirement
This is one of those tips for a successful interview that actually increase your chances of getting the job. Before you even start getting ready for an interview, make sure your skills match the job requirement. Usually, information about job vacancies will come with briefing on the qualifications and skills applicants are expected to have. When you have that information, it is not time to make assumptions. You have to seat down and make careful considerations. One way to go about this is to make a clear list of the responsibilities you will be expected to carry out if given the opportunity, then make another list of your skills. You can go on to make a distinction between the things you are really good at and those you are not too good. This should help you judge how fit you are for the job. Sometimes, people go after certain job opportunities just because they need to have something doing and earn a living. Consequently some do not take out time to consider the job requirements versus their skills and ability to deliver results before going in for the said job interview.
Also the fact that the name of a job sounds like your field of study or is related to your last job does not mean you are going to fit in with the new position. Job descriptions and requirements are becoming complicated as things develop. Sometimes they are very specific, at other times, they are so general it could seem you are occupying two or three positions under a single name. For example if a company say they are in need of a Cooperate communications officer, you may want to find out what exactly they mean by that and the scope of responsibilities one who holds that position will be required to take charge of. In some companies, the person who holds that position acts as a manager who supervises the cooperate communications department that could be subdivided into different parts depending on the intensity of work involved. Yet you may be going in for an interview to get the position of a cooperate communications officer in a company that expects you to take responsibility for a number of activities that are more than one person should be doing. Be sure you know what the job is about before going for the interview.
By considering the job requirements and your understanding of the company’s structure, you should be able to have an approximation of where your job fits within the organizational hierarchy. Usually, this will determine to some extent how important the job is to the company and the challenges you should be ready to face as far as getting and keeping the job is concerned.
Consider job interview questions and possible answers you can give
Of course when you go for a job interview you are going to be asked questions and your answers to them could sometimes make the difference between success and failure in the interview. Considering possible questions you may be asked and what response you are going to give is a vital part of getting ready for an interview. Unlike what some people think, each interviewer may expect to hear a particular answer from you. There are no specific answers to specific interview question although you can always expect to hear certain questions being asked during a job interview. The most important thing is not necessarily the answer you are going to give because we cannot provide specific standard answers to suit these interview questions where ever they are asked. However, we can help you understand what the questions are really about and why the interviewer asks them so you stand a better chance of giving right answers. Lets look at some of the most common job interview questions and what they are all about.
Tell me more about yourself; Seriously, most people who are not prepared to hear a question like this are usually thrown off balance the minute it is asked. For one thing, it is because there are usually a lot of things to tell about yourself, but as you will already know, your interviewer is not interested in most of the things you may want to say about yourself. So you ought to understand why he or she is asking this question in the first place.
Usually, job positions require people with certain character traits. These are things which come naturally and may have nothing to do with your previous job experiences or background of study. It is mainly about knowing what kind of person you are. For example, a job position you may be going in for may require someone who is able to show a lot of empathy and stability under pressure. This is one reason why you need to do a background check on the company and the position you will be required to hold in the company. Take a marketing position for example. The right candidate would be one who has a passion for representing and talking about a product or company for example and has the character traits required to do that. Of course you know marketers ought to be bold and open people who can meet and talk to people at whatever level or situation they are called up to represent the company. Its about your personality and profile, so don’t get it twisted.
Why do you want this job. Well, there are clearly more than a hundred reason why people want a job. Sometimes, it is because they like the company, other times because they are passionate about the position. Many more people just need something from which they can get a pay and have a living. But companies never hire just because they want to help someone earn a living. There is work to do and what they are primarily interested in is how well you are able to do that work. So it is beyond seeking to know simple things like your need for a job or maybe just stating that you are qualified. You have to make the connection between the needs of the company and your ability to meet that need or solve their problems.
Why did you leave your last job. The reason why you left your last job (if you had any) tells a lot about the kind of person you are and what they can expect from you. Everyone knows that one of the worse answers to give when asked this question is to say you were fired. But from an interviewers perspective, there could be answers that are just as bad. For example someone saying he left his last job because he wanted something that pays better. Such an answer simply means you are more concerned about money than the passion you have for the job. We all want money but trust me, the interviewer would prefer you did not give such a response. It will be proof that you have issues with loyalty. However, what interviewers want most in response to this question is the truth. If you were fired, say just that and be open enough to state the reason why you were fired even if that reason is embarrassing. You could wrap it up by promising your interviewer that you have moved away from whatever landed you the sack letter. Companies are increasingly placing emphasis on integrity over other issues these days. Therefore if you can give proof of integrity, you stand a better chance.
What are your most formidable strengths? This is to know what you really think about yourself, it determines a lot.
Where do you see yourself in some years to come? This is simply to know how ambitious you are and sometimes how much effort you are willing to put so you can attain your dreams.
Why should we hire you? There are obviously other people coming for the same job. The interview wants to rate your level of self confidence. Avoid talking about other people and don’t bluff.
Decide what to wear.
Ever heard the phrase “first impression matters”? If you don’t believe it, you should. Now what gives a first impression about you when people see you for the first time is the way you are dressed. So it is important to take out some time to decide what you want to wear while getting ready for an interview and prepare it for the meeting. The first thing you want to check when considering what to wear is decency. Choosing the right clothes to wear has always been one of the most common tips for a successful interview. Your choice of dressing must be decent enough to give the interviewer an impression of seriousness and self discipline. We are not going to get into specifics for men or women as far as dressing is concerned. Just remember to be decent and official. Wear work appropriate clothing and make sure your colors match well, look mature and official and you have it well ironed. The most common colors for official purposes are black and navy blue. Avoid bright colors. For women, keep make-up toned down. You are not going for a party. Both women and guys must remember to keep their hair neat and in shape.
Know what to carry along
Some interviews may need you to carry along something out of the ordinary. But usually things you should take along for an interview are a pen, a file containing your documents, a notepad, questions, directions and contact information. It is one of those job interview preparation tips that could be ignored because it seems so obvious.
Be there before time, no matter what it takes
The last thing you want to do on the day of your interview is cause the interviewer to wait for you by coming late. If you don’t know the venue of your interview, go there some days before and get yourself acquainted with the area. The day of your interview is not the day to figure out where the interview will be taking place or how to get there. You can even call the interviewer to get confirmation on the place of the interview and when it is scheduled to take place. Hopefully this will give a positive impression about you. People usually say go on time for the interview, but that may not really help you. Instead you need to go before time. Take some of the extra time before your interview to settle down and be psychologically prepared.
Practice if you can
One of the tips for a successful interview is to practice. It is easy to simulate an interview session, especially if you have done your research properly and have someone who can play the role of an interviewer well. Create the right atmosphere and setting for an interview, do everything as you would suspect it to be and remember to be as serious as you possibly can. In case you don’t have anyone to practice with, you can read out the questions to yourself and answer them as the interviewee. If it helps, do this in front of a mirror and pay attention to how composed you act. You can also record yourself with an audio or video recording device and watch your performance after each session. Practicing in preparations for an interview is one of the most vital job interview preparation tips especially necessary for those who find it difficult dealing with anxiety. Hopefully, you will be able to tell where you make mistakes and know how to correct yourself.
Be conscious of proper interview etiquette
For an interview setting, you will be expected to compose yourself in a certain way. Consequently, there are do’s and dont’s as far as interviews are concerned. Don’t chew gum during the interview, don’t interrupt your interviewer, pay attention, etc. We cannot discuss these at length but you cann check up on more of what behavior will be expected of you during an interview.
Be cautious of non verbal communication
Not many tips for a successful interview are as important as being conscious of non verbal communication in an interview. A great part of interview sessions are about nonverbal communications. Most people fail during interviews because they fail to realize that beyond what they communicate with their words, there is information that is sent and received between the interviewer and the interviewee. Most often than not, interviewers are watching very carefully to get information or clues from your body language. Therefore, be careful about your seating position, body movements, and facial expressions. There are some questions the interviewer could ask you, not necessarily to get a response but so he or she can get nonverbal clues which are in fact usually more true than your the words that come out of your mouth. If your words often contradict your body language, then you have issues as far as telling the truth is concerned.
Be prepared to ask questions when given the chance
Even teachers like to hear their students ask questions during classes. It gives them the impression that the students are following through on the subject. It is about the same concept when it comes to an interview. If you go for an interview and do not ask any important question, it could be considered that you are not as interested in the job as should be. However, this does not mean you should make up your mind to ask just about any question. Some questions will just put you in a worse position than should have been the case if you did not ask. What then should you do?
Go with questions you will like to ask and be attentive enough to know whether or not those questions will be necessary. For example, if in the course of the interview one of your predetermined questions are answered, you should strike it off. But those who don’t pay attention will not even be able to tell whether or not a question is answered. So they have to still ask the question and of course you know what impression that will give to the interviewer. One other advantage of listening attentively during an interview is that you will be able to ask important follow-up questions on things you do not understand. Remember not to interrupt your interviewer in order to ask follow up questions. Just note them and ask when you are given the chance.