Going for an interview can seem a daunting task, but it doesn't need to be unduly stressful or scary. The better prepared you are for an interview, the better you will feel and perform, and the better your chance of being hired.
Good communication is the key to a good interview; you need to know what you want and why you are there, and be able to convey that to the employer. You are trying to convince the employer that you would be a positive and beneficial addition to their company or business.
Know yourself. Know what your personal and career goals are, and how they fit with the company's goals. It can be a good idea to do some research on the company beforehand, to get an idea of what it does what it believes in and even who the company works with or competes against.
You should also study the job description carefully, and be able to talk about the skills you have that are listed in that description, as well as other skills that may apply to the position. Be able to discuss where or how you acquired these skills, and how you might best put them to use for the company.
Practice answering questions. While this may seem silly, it will go a long way to preparing you for an interview. Nerves and adrenaline make people inclined to rush or babble, two things that should be avoided during an interview. Practicing beforehand will help to combat this.
Most interviews will consist of fairly similar questions. Some will, of course, be specific to the job and company, but you will likely always be asked about past jobs, past projects, hobbies and interests, your ability to work as part of a team and for to be a leader. Keep your answers brief and to the point, without leaving out any important information. Always focus on the positive.
Dress well. Regardless of a winning personality or stunning intelligence, much of a first impression is based on physical appearance. Follow the old adage to "dress for success" and demonstrate by your attire and how you carry yourself that you are professional, organized and confident.
During the Interview
The first few minutes are crucial; studies have shown that interviewers form their overall impression of applicants within the first four minutes of the interview. Be sure to keep in mind the following basic things:
Make eye contact.
Shake hands firmly.
Be polite; use the formal address of Mr., Ms., unless invited to do otherwise.
Wait for invitation; do not sit until invited to do so. Sit straight and tall and look attentive and enthusiastic.
All of these things indicate that you want to be there and that you are calm, confident and professional.
What to Expect
All interviews have certain basic elements in common. When you first arrive, the interviewer will likely try to put you at your ease with some small talk. This may include discussion of the weather or current events, or questions about your interests and hobbies.
Respond appropriately. Be warm and conversational, but donít ramble. Remember that your hobbies, your life in general, will reflect to the employer who you are and what kind of employee you might be.
The body of the interview will likely begin with the interviewer giving a detailed description of the job. This is an opportunity for you to ask intelligent questions and demonstrate what you know about the position and the company.
The main portion of the interview is all about you, the applicant. You will be asked to answer questions about yourself: your skills, applicable studies and training, past work experience, etc.
Remember to make eye contact, keep your answers succinct but thorough, and focus on the positive. Be enthusiastic and use good grammar; do your best to avoid too many "um"s, "ah"s, "you know/s and other such fillers.
Don't fidget or exhibit other distracting nervous mannerisms, and don't offer any negative information about yourself or criticize previous employers.
Remember, this is your chance to make a great impression in person and get the job you want. Make sure you are well prepared and practice answering questions before the interview. During the interview be sure to make eye contact, shake hands firmly, sit up straight and show enthusiasm. Be confident and give it your best.
Interviewing Tips for Candidates
Know the time and place of the interview and the interviewer's full name and title.
Ensure that you fully understand the job description of the position for which you are interviewing.
Plan to be 15 minutes early in anticipation of traffic problems or other unanticipated delays. Also, know where you're going. If possible acquaint yourself with the route. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
Dress professionally (i.e. proper business attire).
If presented with an application, fill it out neatly and completely.
Ensure to shake the interviewer's hand firmly.
Speak slowly and clearly. Don't rush your answers.
Ensure to answer every question fully and honestly.
Don't jump ahead or give more information than is required. Pay attention to "cutoff" cues.
Ensure you are consistent in your answers throughout all interviews.
Don't answer with a simple "yes" or "no". Explain answers where possible.
Avoid saying anything negative about present or previous employers or co-workers.
Ask questions to show interest in the Company and the position.
Ensure they know you are interested in the position; never close the door on an opportunity.
Look alert and interested at all times and look the interviewer in the eye.
Relax, smile and have a positive attitude. Give the appearance of energy as you walk.
What to prepare beforehand (5 Step Process)
I) Chronological Outline of Career and Education
Break down your life into "segments" (i.e. university, first job, second job, etc.). For each segment, write down:
A.) why you went into the program or job;
B.) what you did when you were there; and
C.) why you left.
The chronology should flow logically and bring you to the present day. You should then write down where you want to be in the short and long term and why it makes sense based on where you've been according to your chronology. Also, write down the reasons why you would be appropriate for the job you are interviewing for and why you are interested in the position.
II) Strengths and Weakness
Strengths: Write down 3 technical and 3 non-technical personal strengths For each strength, document something external that proves the strength is also perceived by others as strength, i.e. you received a bonus in recognition, there were some savings achieved, you completed the implementation of a system, you met objectives, it was noted on your performance evaluation.
Weaknesses: The area of weaknesses is difficult. The way to answer any question ab0ut your weaknesses is to either:
Described a weakness or area for development that you have worked on and have now overcome; or
Describe a characteristic that could be perceived as either a strength or a weakness.
III) Questions to Ask
It is important to ask a lot of questions both throughout the interview and at the end of the interview when interviewers generally ask if you have any questions Therefore, you should prepare a list of 5-10 technical and 5-10 non-technical questions and memorize them before the interview. Do not inquire about salary, vacation, bonuses, or other benefits. This information should be discussed with
Could you tell me about the growth plans and goals for the company/ department/division?
What needs to be accomplished in this position in the next 6-12 months?
What skills are important to be successful in this position?
Why did you join this company?
What types of systems do you use throughout the company/department/division?
Why is the position available?
What made the previous persons in this position successful/unsuccessful?
To where have successful people in this position advanced?
What criteria will my supervisor use for my performance evaluation and how frequently, and in what manner, will my supervisor and I meet?
How do you (the supervisor) like to operate in terms of assignments, delegation of responsibility and authority, general operating style, etc.?
What long and short term problems and opportunities do you think my prospective area faces?
With whom will I be interacting most frequently and what are their responsibilities and the nature of our interaction?
What particular things about my background, experience and style interest you?
What experience, training, attributes, operating style, accomplishments and personality factors should the "ideal" candidate for the job have?
Is there anything in my background or experience to prevent you from considering me as a viable candidate?
What else can I do to get a job offer from your company?
What is the time frame for making a decision on this position?
IV) Questions you should be prepared for.
What do you know about our company? Why do you want to work here?
Why are you looking to change positions? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What do like most and least about your current position (or supervisor)? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What are the best and worst things your boss would say about you? Name 5 adjectives that would best describe you.
What are your concerns in your current situation and what would you improve? How have you changed or improved the nature of your job?
Why should we hire you?
What can you do for us that someone else can't? Why did you choose this particular vocation?
What contributions to profits have you made in your present or former positions to justify your salary level there?
What do you think determines a person's progress in a good company?
Behavioral questions: i.e. tell me about the time that you were most successful in dealing with a difficult client or Give me an example of a time when you had to get something accomplished with someone whom is a bit more difficult to get along with.
V) Negative Factors Evaluated by an interviewer
Lack of a firm handshake.
Being unprepared for the interview, i.e. little or no knowledge of the company.
Poor expression of thoughts, including incorrect grammar.
Not asking questions about the job.
"Superiority complexes" and "know it all" attitudes.
Indifference or lack of enthusiasm.
Being evasive, nervous and lacking in confidence.
Lack of career direction - undefined goals or purposes. 10 Candidate is too interested in compensation factors.
Overaggressive, overbearing or conceited behavior.
Speaking unfavorably of previous employers.
Lack of courtesy and maturity.
No appreciation for the value of experience.
Not looking the interviewer in the eye.
Closing the interview
If you are interested in the position, ask for it or ask for the next interview if the situation demands. You might say something like: "Mr. /Ms. Employer, I am very impressed with what I've seen and heard here today and am confident that I could do an excellent job in the position you've described to me. When might you be in a position to make an offer?" Your enthusiasm should make a favorable impression
If you are made an offer, accept it only if you are ready. You don't have to accept the offer on the spot.
Don't be discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with first your recruiter or interview more applicants before making a decision.
Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration of you. If you have answered the two major questions in his mind: a) why are you interested in the company? And b) what can you offer? You have done all you can.
After the Interview
The first thing you should do after the interview is call your recruiter to let them know how the interview went and whether you are still interested in the position. At the same time, your recruiter will be determining the client feedback. The next thing you should do is send a thank you letter to your interviewer(s).