How to prepare for an interview
Have you already prepared and sent a resume for the desired vacancy, and the company invited you for an interview? It’s time to identify the skills that will help you succeed in your interview.
Following tips below will help you make the best impression on the interviewer, and you will even get your desired job.
Preparing for the interview
What is an interview?
It is a dialogue that gives you a chance to show the employer that you are the right person for the job. This is often the last and most important obstacle in the job search process.
Preparing oneself (including psychologically) for an interview is essential.
As you enter the interview room, reassure your mind of your own abilities. Things will get easier if you manage to do it in the previous days.
Match the job description to your profile
- Bring a copy of your job description (key tasks and responsibilities). Most employers will evaluate you through this very sheet.
- Find and read information about a company or organization (the more you know about them, the more you will be impressed by them). These can be: mission, values, goals, key products, or services.
- Make sure your personal and work experience matches their requirements (skills, experience, qualifications, responsibilities, projects or achievements).
Conduct several mock interviews
- No amount of advice can help you more than just the interview experience itself. So, ask your friends or family for help. When summoning for an interview, always try to reach out and attend; this is also a kind of experience as you will be able to correct the mistakes made there and be ready for next important interview.
- Put yourself in the place of an interviewer: think about the types of questions you might be asked during the interview.
Pay attention to dress style (dress code)
- The first impression is paramount. Consider the company and position for which you have submitted your resume. If they have a specific culture in this regard, it is better to dress formally; however, it still depends on the position for which you are applying.
- Find out in advance if the company has a dress code and what it looks like. If they have a dress code and you show up for an interview in jeans, this may cast employer's doubt on your motivation. If you cannot figure it out, wear it formally.
Avoid common mistakes, such as:
- Taking the interview lightly. Do not be overconfident and do not think that the vacancy is already yours.
- Dressing in an overtly provocative way. Even if the company does not have a dress code, do not miss the chance to succeed in the interview. Only once do you have the opportunity to make a first impression.
- Excessive modesty. There is a boundary between self-confidence and arrogance. You need to “sell” yourself. Most likely, the employer has no information about your achievements. Make sure you talk about yourself properly.
- Too much talk. Do not interrupt the interviewer talking! (This should be taken into account at other times) Listen carefully and answer their questions thoughtfully.
- Criticism of a previous employer. If you lost your job or just did not like your ex-employer, cover it up with a positive impression. Name the reasons for leaving, but do not describe in detail.
- Demonstrating a lack of enthusiasm; maintain a positive attitude. Do not rush into an interview and do not say that you are not ready for an interview for some X reason.
1 day before the interview
- Physical and psychological training is very important. Get ready physically: eat lightly, do not drink alcohol, and go to bed earlier.
- Define your route in advance. How are you going to get to the interview site? Will the transport run according to the schedule? If you plan to arrive by car, will parking be difficult for you? Do not forget about unforeseen events: congested roads, etc.
- Prepare clothes in advance. It is important to think about what you will wear during the interview.
- Try to figure it out before the interview. This will help you reduce the stress of the interview. Arriving 15 minutes early is ideal.
- Create a first positive impression. When you enter the interview room:
- Smile as you enter the room;
- Introduce yourself: “Hello, I am ... Nice to meet you.”;
- Shake hands formally (if the situation arises) and look them in the eyes;
- Take your place after being allowed to.
Use appropriate body language
- Sit upright in a chair;
- Watch the interviewer talk;
- Be moderately confident.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer;
- Do not talk much;
- Use position-appropriate speech; do not be overly open!
- Pay attention to the questions and answer them correctly;
- If you do not know what to answer, just admit it.
An interview is a dialogue between you and the panel. The format often varies, though many choose the following structure:
- Introduction and ice breaking.
At the beginning of the conversation, the interviewer reviews the interview format and gives you some details about the job. Listen carefully to the information heard from him/her. If you fail to pay attention to details well, then you show poor communication skills.
You have the opportunity to tell them about yourself
- Prepare in advance for self-presentation. Talk about your work experience, qualifications, and any details that might be relevant to the vacancy. Make sure you convey well and use examples from your work experience. If not available, focus on the volunteer activities and trainings you have participated in.
- Do not devote more than 2-3 minutes to presenting yourself.
- Questions you may be asked during the interview:
- Why do you want to hold this position? Explain that you came up with interesting details when describing the job and that you have the skills needed to do the job.
- What is your strong point? Try to name at least three qualities (purposefulness, ability to work under pressure, responsibility, etc.)
- What is your weakness? The worst answer to this question is “I do not have a weakness”. Do not name the widespread clichés, for example: “I am a perfectionist” and so on. Try to describe a real feature, one that really characterizes you.
- Will you be able to collaborate in a group? Show that you can adapt to different sides. For example: “In difficult situations I was able to increase the motivation of the group, thus exceeding the expected result”.
- If you start a partnership, how long do you plan to stay in our company? Make it clear that you plan to stay with the company for a long time if you agree. It is futile for a company to spend time and resources on your training and development while you are not going to stay long.
- Why are you going to leave your current employer? Do not say that you are planning to leave because of incompatibility with the manager or the team. It is better to mention that you are looking for a new challenge and you have already achieved everything that was possible in the old place.
- Why should I hire you? Don’t say you are the best for the job. Mention that you fit the position because you can work in a team, have enough experience, skills, and so on.
- Can you name a situation where you had to work under pressure? Give a real example of what you have achieved while working under pressure (deadline, budget, etc.)
- Will you be able to go on business trips? If the business trip requires a specific position that you agree to and your answer is no, there is a good chance you will not get the job.
- How much salary do you expect? In this case, try to get the sum from the interviewer itself, if you have to, do it yourself, take into account your own experience, the pay and responsibilities for a position in the labor market. Find the mean between the lowest and the highest.
In many cases you also have the opportunity to ask questions to the interviewers.
- Prepare two or three questions that you want to ask at the end of the interview. For example, “If I pass the interview successfully, when will I be able to start working?”
- Try to refrain from asking questions about pay. You will be able to negotiate this at a later stage if you successfully pass the interview.
- Do not ask how your interview went. Do not wait for interview feedback immediately.
At the end of the interview
Regardless the interview result, be positive even at this point. This is the last thing the interviewer will remember during the interview.
Thank them for their time: “Thank you for inviting me for an interview. It was a pleasant experience for me”.
After the interview
- If you fail to get the job, do not give up. Do not despair in case of a negative answer. You may have more opportunities in the same company in the future.
- Tell them it was a pleasure to interview them. Ask to be contacted again if you have any current vacancies in the company.