How to prepare successfully for an interview
There are 3 steps:
1. Before the interview
2. On the day of the interview
3. The interview itself
STEP 1: Before the interview
You can easily find out more about the role by searching for similar roles online, particularly through linked in and Xing. Do not be afraid to bring up queries/questions about the job description during the interview. This will demonstrate your interest in the role
Try to get as much information as possible about the company: its culture, production or services, trends, projects and financial condition. Use your social networks, the internet and the organisation’s website to find your information. Be clear about what you like about the company’s organisation and why you’d like to work for them as this may come up in the interview. Your interest will be noticed and appreciated.
3.Find out about the interviewer
Where possible, try to find out who will be interviewing you (i.e. their name and position within the company). If you know who is interviewing, it will allow you to predict some of the interview questions and to ensure that you are as well prepared as possible before the interview.
4.Think about the admission criteria
During the interview, company representatives are mainly interested in 3 things: your personality, your motivation and your ability to do the job. They also try to find out whether you will suit the organisation’s culture and whether you will fit well into the team. You can be most prepared for this by reviewing the job description and researching the company’s culture.
Before your interview, review the job description and criteria for the selection - the interviewers will most likely want you to demonstrate how you fulfil these criteria. Look at the duties and responsibilities in the role and think of examples of how you have carried out these duties/ fulfilled these responsibilities in the past.
Interviewers may look to you to demonstrate core competencies, years of experience and key personality traits. This will likely be obvious in the job description.
Check out the company website (particularly the Corporate Social Responsibility and Work for Us sections). This should give you some idea of the company culture. In addition, ask your friends and social networks if they know anyone who works in the organisation and sound them out on what it’s like to work there.
5.What are your strengths and why do you want this job?
Sometimes it is difficult for people to promote themselves and their strengths. However, at an interview it is very important that you identify:
- Your key strengths
- Your key character attributes
- Your qualifications and experience
- Your key successes and how you have learned from your failures
- Why you would be the best choice for the particular role
- Why you would be the best choice for the organisation - i.e, what you can bring to the company (that they may not already have) and how you would fit into their organisational culture?
- Why you want this role
- Why you want to work for this particular organisation
- Why should the company want you
After all, if you don’t know your own strengths, how do you expect a potential employer to identify them?
If you find it difficult to identify your positives, why not ask your friends and family - you will be pleasantly surprised by what they have to say about you!!
6.Review all the information the night before the interview
Get all the necessary documents together for the interview. Read through all the documents you have sent to the company so you will be consistent during your interview. Get an early night to ensure that you give yourself plenty of time the next morning so that you can arrive at your interview in a calm and collected manner.
STEP 2: On the day of the interview
1.Dress for Success - Take special care to dress appropriately
Make sure to plan what you are going to wear to your interview the night before. Your outfit should be modest (i.e, not too much flesh on show), tidy and always one level more formal than what you normally wear at work. Make sure that you are confident and comfortable in your outfit and that you feel you look the part for the role you are applying for. Make sure that your shoes are polished and that your shirt, trousers and jacket are pressed.
Do not wear jeans, trainers or shorts at any time. First impressions are very important.
2.Make sure you are punctual
DO NOT BE LATE. Ideally, you should arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time. You will have time to get used to the new environment and also to observe the company culture. If you have never been to the location before, make sure you plan the route the day before. Do not leave it up to chance.
Make sure you have mints with you or brush your teeth before the interview so that you have fresh breath.
4.Demeanour and Body Language
Try to be pleasant the moment you arrive at the company – you never know who will be observing you. From the receptionist to the person in the lift - it’s possible that they will be asked their first impression of you or they could potentially be a decision maker for the job you have applied for.
Body Language is very important. Smile and be polite but make sure you have a firm handshake - test your handshake with someone you trust to tell you the truth (i.e, a friend or family member) to ensure you have the right balance. There is nothing worse than a limp handshake. Do not cross your arms, yawn, slouch or lean on your elbows.
STEP 3: The interview itself
1.Switch off your mobile phone
If you forget to switch your mobile off and receive a phone call, switch it off immediately with an apology.
2.Get yourself into the right mindset
- Stay natural.
- Be positive and smile.
- Remember that your handshake says a lot about your personality.
- Before you sit down, wait for the invitation.
- Keep your hands under control – make sure to gesture but not too much.
- Listen to others without interrupting them.
- Express yourself clearly, briefly and intelligibly.
- Trust yourself. Be self-confident.
- Do not speak too quickly or too slowly.
- Choose the right words.
- Express a keen interest.
3.Remember your strengths - see above
- Do not try to make a false impression by using jargon and technical details.
- Do not twist your personality and do not lie about your personal qualities.
- Your answers must stay strictly in a professional sphere.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer; speak to the point and be precise.
- Do not criticize your former colleagues or employers.
- Do not avoid the answers.
- Do not lie.
- The discussion must be in the interviewer’s control.
- If I succeed, what are the main tasks I must focus on?
- Do you run any training schemes for the role?
- I am very interested in the role. Do you think that my experience and previous jobs are sufficient?
- Where could I find more information about your company?
- What is your company culture?
- Who will be my immediate superior?
- Am I going to have any subordinates? How many?
- What authority would the position have?
- What must be approved by my superior?
- Is it possible for me to be a part of the recruiting process in case of the need for a new team member?
- Is there a chance to meet the company executives (board)?
- What is the shareholder structure of the company?
- What is the company´s position on the local, regional, and world market?
- Do you think I am a good candidate for the job and if so, why
- Always be prepared to answer why you are asking these questions above.
6.Say thank you at the end of the interview
Say thank you at the end of the interview and ask what the other steps of the recruiting process are.
7.Do not be frustrated by a possible failure. Every interview that you do improves your interview skills and makes you better for your next interview; always try to learn from your mistakes.