How can you prepare for a Job Interview?
Your moment has arrived. You have been selected for an interview at one of your dream job places. But now it comes the tricky part where you have to show what you’ve got to give. If you have found this article, congratulations! You are in the right place to find plenty of valuable tips to be closer to your professional dream.
One simple rule to remember is this: employers interview candidates to find a good fit for their needs, so that has to be your number 1 goal. The interview is also your opportunity to show your prospective employer what you’ve learnt about the company and your target job before meeting your interviewer.
Preparation is the key to your success at the end of the process, and at CvKnights.com, we want to help you nail the interview by sharing with you the 6 steps to nail any job interview.
Step 1 - Read the Job Description carefully
A job description is the only information you will have before your interview, so we encourage you to take it as the bible. When preparing for an interview, your first step would be to go back and read it ten times. You will realise that every time you read it, some aspects will look different and lead you to different questions (or answers) about the job.
Most job descriptions follow a similar structure which can be outlined as:
- Job title and department
The job title and the department will give you a better understanding of the position and where the role fits into the organisation. Also, the department will provide you with a better idea of who your potential manager could be (i.e. Sales Manager, Technical Manager, etc.)
Ask yourself: Is this really what I want to do?
- Duties and tasks – What you will be doing
- Skills required – What you should be able to do
Read this section carefully to align your strengths with the skills required. Identify those skills you would feel more comfortable being asked about and those where you should be more prepared for hostile questions. How can your profile help the company achieve their objectives? If the answer to this question is unclear before the interview, then find ways to improve it.
- Remuneration – What we are offering
Do some research in the market to check whether the company is offering market conditions. A great website to do so is, for example, www.glasdoor.com
Step 2 - Do your Research of the Company
Companies are looking to hire people with values aligned to their own culture. Therefore, researching the company and finding out what values they appreciate before an interview is vital.
Thorough research will give you a better understanding of the organisation’s business principles and present and future company goals and plans. By knowing them and showing alignment with them, you will talk confidently during the interview, making your interviewers see you as a valuable long-term investment. Here we have prepared some interesting tips to do your research before the interview:
- Check out the company website to see which sectors they are operating in and the main business lines. Google is also an excellent way to know the latest news about the company (i.e. are they going through a merge?). Social networks as LinkedIn are a good source of information too.
- Look through the company website to know how the organisation hierarchy is and how globally they are expanded.
- Check out their LinkedIn or Facebook page to know more about the company culture. You Can use these networks to research your interviewers. Also, find out comments and reviews made by current and former employees. This will give you a better idea about the type of interview you’re going to go through.
Step 3 - Be prepared for different types of Job Interviews
Are you ready for every type of interview? The more you know about the company, the better prepared you will be for the interviews they usually undertake. Take a look at the following types of interviews to get a better picture of what to expect in each of them:
- Telephone interview: often, companies request an initial telephone interview before inviting you in for a face-to-face meeting to understand the type of candidate you are. The great thing about a phone interview is that you can have your notes in front of you during the conversation. It’s always easier to prepare for a phone interview than for a face-to-face meeting, but on the other hand, the general impression that you can give over the phone can have a significantly smaller impact. Make sure that you speak confidently, at a good pace and try to answer all asked questions. Use headphones to keep your hands free.
- Face-to-face meeting: this is the best way to get to know a candidate. Your interviewers will be able to see how you react to their questions, your gestures, and your interpersonal skills. An interview like this will generally take place with at least a couple of staff members, but do not underestimate the chances of having more than two people in front of you. Be prepared for all sorts of questions, with different answers to different problems from your own experience. Show your interviewers how you have worked out issues and how these solutions could also be applied to your future company.
- The sequential interview: these consist of several interviews in turns with a different interviewer each time. Usually, each person asks various questions to test different sets of competencies. However, if you are asked the same questions, make sure you answer each one consistently.
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Step 4 – Things to do before getting to your Job Interview
Stress is not a great companion during any interview. Again the best response to last minutes surprises is preparation.
How can you feel more comfortable before a Job Interview?
Sometimes success is in the small details. By following the next tips, you can find yourself facing a more comfortable selection process:
- Plan your journey to the job interview: if you plan to drive to the interview, a good idea is to check that your tank is full. On the morning of the interview, do not forget to check the traffic reports and have a backup plan just in case. If you are travelling by public transport, check for any delays well in advance.
- Have a tidy room if you schedule a video interview. If you have been planning for a video interview, make sure you have good connectivity to avoid any possible breaking ups during the interview. Finally, make up the room before the interview, so the interviewers can see you are an organised person.
- Bring two copies of your CV to the interview: you may not need them, but if you do, you will avoid wasting your interviewer’s time and resources if they forgot to bring them. It would also be helpful to bring other items with you, such as a notebook and pens, copies of a letter of recommendation, references, portfolios or previous work examples.
- Make a list of things you would like to ask during the interview: Get yourself a list of meaningful questions that will demonstrate your interest in the job and the company. This can include the recent, especially if the company has been mentioned for some reason. Also, ask questions about the job you will be expected to perform.
Here is a list of helpful questions you can ask during an interview:
- What would your day-to-day responsibilities be in this job?
- What is the organisational structure of the company?
- How will your performance be measured?
- What type of software do you use?
- What is the organisation’s plan for the next three years?
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Step 5 – It's Showtime! Nailing any Interview
Well, the first thing that we can say from CvKnights.com is… don’t panic! You have accomplished a great deal at this point and certainly more than those who have not gotten here. Now is your time to show them that you’re the person they’ve been looking for, so relax and enjoy the interview.
What to say at the beginning of a Job Interview?
The beginning of your interview is to introduce yourself and explain what you know about the company. Here is a list of things you can say at the beginning of your interview.
- “I’ve researched your company” Some candidates only read the job description to understand the qualifications and responsibilities. Researching the company will let the interviewers know about your interest in the organisation, the projects, and the company culture.
- “It’s nice to meet you” or “I have been looking forward to meeting you” Greeting with a smile gives an excellent first impression that your interviewers will likely remember afterwards. Furthermore, showing the courtesy of introducing yourself with a handshake and a positive attitude establishes rapport and professionalism.
- “Thank you for meeting with me today” Showing this gesture of courtesy makes you appear grateful for the interview.
- “I’ve read the job description”, Noticing your understanding and interest in the position.
- “I want to learn more about the company” Mentioning your interest in learning more about the company shows that you are genuinely interested.
Show your confidence during the Job Interview!
Always let the interviewer start the dialogue and send a positive message with your body language.
Here is a list of simple things that you can do to show them how confident you are.
- Shake hands firmly, but only if it is offered to you first.
- Keep eye contact as much as possible
- Listen carefully and welcome all questions, even the difficult ones. A smile is something that can show how confident you feel.
- Give straightforward, honest and direct answers.
- Do not rush with any answers. Think about them in your head before you respond. If you don’t understand a question for some reason, ask for it to be repeated or clarified.
- Whatever the question, do not appear indecisive with your responses.
Things to say during the Job Interview?
To give a great first impression during your interview, it can be pretty positive to ask several questions, express your interest, and describe the qualities that make you an excellent fit for the position. Here are things to say during your interview:
- “I can work with a team” Working on your own is essential, but it also is vital to let the interviewers know you will be able to work as a part of a team. This will show your empathy, your willingness to assist others, and your ability to adapt to different environments and teams.
- “I have experience in a similar job” If you have experience in the job you are applying for, let the interviewers know because this will move the scale in your favour.
- “This job sounds exciting” Prepare yourself to explain what you find interesting about the job position. Expressing your interest during the interview will show the interviewers your genuine interest in the position.
- “The job aligns perfectly with my qualifications” Sharing that your qualifications align with the job requirements can initiate communication about your experience. This way, you can take the opportunity to highlight your best skills with the related job position and how you can contribute to performing the tasks which are required.
- “I can learn the job duties quickly” Normally, the interviewer wants to start figuring out how much time the company has to invest in you before you start being an independent professional speaking. Prepare a couple of answer by relating your skills and how they’ll help you to learn faster than your competitors. By saying this you show your commitment to learn as fast as possible, also your interest in learning the duties of your potential job position.
- “I care about the work I do” an employee who cares about the job he performs cares about the success. Saying this is also a sign of commitment to the results of the different tasks and duties.
- “I will enjoy coming to work every day” will show the organisation your passion for your job, something that can mark the difference between you and your competitors.
Questions to ask during the Job Interview?
- “What can I do to perform better in this position?” By asking this question, your interviewer will notice your desire to evolve and grow professionally in the company. It’ll let them know you’re a committed person, and they can invest in your future as a professional.
- “How is my performance going to be measured in this position?” Shows your desire to meet the goals you will be required in this particular job.
- “What challenges is your company currently facing?” querying about the current company challenges allows you to learn what skills you might offer to impact the company positively. This question also shows your willingness and desire to overcome challenges and solve current problems.
- “What goals does your company currently have?” Typically companies have plans that represent their vision for the future. Asking about their current and future goals shows your interest in the short-term and your willingness to be part of the company’s future.
Why am I not been called for a Job Interview?
If the opportunity you’ve been waiting for does not present yet, it might be a good idea to check out your CV and cover letter, so they’ll catch the attention of your recruiter. At Cvknights.com, you will find useful tips and FREE templates that you can use to boost your chances of getting an interview.
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Step 6 – Ending a Job Interview
Closing a job interview positively is vital to increase your chances of receiving an offer. The statement you make can address the final concerns that an employer may have about your candidacy. In addition, an effective closing statement might separate you from another candidate if they have similar work experience to you.
What to say at the end of a Job Interview?
At CvKnights.com, we want to provide you with the following final statements to make during your interview. Here is a list of useful things you can say to end an interview.
- “I enjoyed learning more about the position” Express not only that you came there for a job, but also to learn more details about the position. Be thankful and show the interviewers you appreciate the information you have received.
- “I’m excited to get started” Showing your enthusiasm about the job demonstrates your willingness to go forward with the selection process. Also, you let them know that the job fits you, which can be advantageous against other candidates.
- “Based on what I’ve learned, I believe I can do this job well” Make the employer know that you can meet the expectation based on all the information you’ve received. That means that you understand what your tasks and duties are.
- “What are my next steps?” This shows your interest in going to further steps of the selection process and, eventually, getting the position. Besides, it shows you may receive information about the process before leaving the interview.
- “I look forward to hearing from you” This will express your interest in getting started. For example, when there is another interview with a manager or business owner, tell the first interviewer that you look forward to hearing from that person. Even better, you might consider asking for his or her name so you can make an excellent first impression when you are called.
- “Thank you for your time” Before leaving the interview, be thankful to the employer, and let them know you appreciate their interest in you as a candidate for the job position.
8. Takeaways from this article
Throughout this article, we have learnt that:
- Preparation is the key to success at any job interview. The more you know about your future employer, the better position you will be in at an interview.
- Do extensive research on the position you are being interviewed for.
- Plan your interview well in advance and be prepared for tough questions and exercises.
- Show confidence in every response and gesture you make during the interview.