New Year, New Job. Preparing For Your Interview

In a world increasingly defined by a massive amount of competition, a single job interview may very well make all of the difference in the world between rewarding employment opportunities and economic frustration. Therefore, it is critical that you prepare yourself accordingly and cement a lasting impression during the process. Let us take a look at some of the top suggestions which will enable you to put your best foot forward.

Before the Interview

It is always a good idea to understand the interview format beforehand. Are there a specific number of candidates, what is the position of the interviewer and how long will the entire process take? We should recall that most sessions exhibit one of two forms:

  • The job description is provided first and then a “question-and-answer” takes place.
  • You could be asked questions immediately and the job description is put off until the end of the engagement.

Recall that it is your ultimate job to “sell” yourself and describe why you will make the perfect candidate.

The Process Itself

Always keep in mind that your main responsibility is to quantify specific traits that were mentioned within your CV while not going into too much detail on any single talent. A well-rounded presentation is always the best. Break your speech down into easily digestible segments so that the interviewer has time to absorb what it is that you are saying. Be attentive and if any questions are asked, this is generally a good sign. Be ready to respond enthusiastically and clearly. However, another effective method to mention is to briefly delve into your motivations, your inspirations and your ultimate goals. This can be referred to as a “story statement” and it will add a personal touch that would not otherwise be possible.

Responding to Questions

This is obviously a very important part of the interview, so it is wise to review how to respond to some of the most common queries.

“Can you describe yourself?”

This is normally the first question asked and it will allow you to put your best qualities forward. Narrow your response to those traits which will make you an integral part of the firm and as always, never rush through these descriptions.

“Can you elaborate on your last job?”

Once again, be very specific in regards to the role that you had within the previous company and if possible, focus upon how those strengths can be carried over into the new firm. Avoid mentioning the reasons for leaving unless specifically asked. It is better to highlight day-to-day responsibilities and how they have improved your current levels of expertise.

“Do you have weaknesses?”

Never shy away from this question (although it may be tempting). It is best to mention some of your shortcomings while not dwelling on any one in particular for too long. You can also choose to “turn” the question around to stress why this new firm will help you to hone any such weaknesses.

“Why should I hire you over another candidate?”

This tends to be one of the queries which is asked during the final part of the interview. Be specific with your answers as opposed to a generic reply such as “I feel that I am the best qualified”. Cite your strengths, what you can “bring to the table” and how you are eager to pursue a more rewarding career with room for upward mobility.

Proactive Questions

This is another important area to address, for many employers will now enable a candidate to ask a few final questions before the interview concludes. Unfortunately, this is also a topic which is not often covered. Be ready to ask how the company is organised, the possibility for advancement and the challenges that the current environment poses. Another excellent idea is to ask the interviewer what problems the company currently faces and if you would be in a position to help. This illustrates that you care about your potential role within the organisation and it is likely that this will leave a lasting impression.

Following Up

As many reputable sources highlight, the process is not necessarily over once you leave the room. Send a thank-you email for allowing you the time to present yourself and once again, quickly state how you are excited about the potential opportunity.

When these tips are all followed with other recommendations such as maintaining steady eye contact and highlighting your strengths over any perceived weaknesses, you will undoubtedly find that the entire process has gone much smoother. As the expression goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. These guidelines can help to make sure that you are at the top of your game.