A quick guide to acing an interview

A quick guide to acing an interview

 

Not many people can actually say that they look forward to an interview but unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil when you join the workforce. Be that as it may, interviews don’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience if you take some time to prepare adequately. Here’s a succinct guide to owning an interview like a boss!

 

1. Preparation is key: Do your research

Company background

Find out all you can about the company at which you are interviewing. Among the sources of information that should be on your list include the company’s website and social media pages and company review and recruitment websites such as Jobstreet, Glassdoor and LinkedIn. It would also be helpful to look through the company’s annual and sustainability reports to suss out key management figures, financial information, and current and future events and projects. Also, be sure to review the job description for keywords on the job role, tasks and qualifications needed, and prepare a pitch on how your skills are suited to the role.

 

Typical interview questions

The worst thing you could do is to enter the interview room hoping to wing it and come up with answers on the fly. Interview questions are designed to give the interviewer a better idea of who you are as an employee; your strengths, weaknesses and skill sets; how you handle conflict and setbacks, and other pertinent information about you that would help them make a decision on a job offer. Some of the questions you can expect include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Give me an example of a problem that you faced in the past and how you solved it.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
  • Why should we hire you?

Make sure you prepare a strong answer for the questions above to avoid looking unprepared and clueless. This section of the interview gives you the chance to show them what you can do and how you are an asset to the company, so make sure you seize the chance to shine brightly.

 

Questions to ask the interviewer

An interview is essentially a two-way street so you will have a chance to put forward the questions you have for the interviewer to help you find out more about the job for which you applied. The interviewer would expect you to already have done your homework about the job on offer so it’s best not to ask questions whose answers you can glean from the job description. Instead, pose questions that will allow you to find out more about the company and the role as well as an opportunity to showcase how you can be an asset to the company. Here are some choice questions to help you along:

  • What is a typical day, week, or month like for someone within this position?
  • Can you tell me a bit about the team I would be working with?
  • What types of advancement opportunities are there within the group and company?
  • What type of training or educational advancement does your organisation offer or encourage?
  • What is the single largest problem facing the organisation today?

 

2. First impressions matter: Look presentable

It goes without saying that sneakers and jeans are a big no-no. The idea is to look professional and depending on the seniority of the role for which you are interviewing, the basic requirement is clean, well-pressed office wear and neatly trimmed hair minus the outlandish colours. A well-made jacket and a tie in muted colours (for men) will give you that polished look as well. Dressing well for an interview gives the impression that you care about your appearance and will make an effort to look presentable. Also, if you dress well, you’ll feel more confident!

 

3. Bring the necessary documents

Most companies would have detailed in a prior email a list of documents for you to bring when you come for the interview. They include:

  • a copy of your resume
  • copies of your academic certificates along with the originals
  • your portfolio of recent work that will strengthen your application
  • a recent passport-sized photograph, and
  • an interview application form that the company would have requested that you fill in beforehand.

 

Some companies will also request that you sign a legal document that gives them your consent to conduct a background check and use your personal information for interview purposes. If you’re the type that gets the jitters during an interview (which is most people anyway), it’s helpful to print out all your research information and the answers to interview questions that you prepared earlier to aid you during the interview. Also, bring some paper and a pen in case you need to jot down details from your discussion. Don’t forget to make prior arrangements for transport to the venue and allocate enough time to get there on time. It’s best to arrive 15 minutes earlier so that you’ll have time to freshen up and find your way around the building.

 

4. Bring your “A” game

Greet your interviewer(s) and try to stay calm. Exhibit positive body language by being relaxed (no slouching though!), exuding a polite and pleasant demeanour, and maintaining good but not excessive eye contact. Contrary to popular belief, interviewers actually hope that you will do well during the session as it’s one less candidate to screen if you happen to be their golden catch! Do yourself a favour by answering their questions confidently, honestly and succinctly, in view of the limited time each candidate is accorded. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you are unsure about a question, and you are more than welcome to ask questions of your own to find out what you need to know about the role, but do so politely and don’t interrupt the interviewers when they are talking.

Not many people can actually say that they look forward to an interview but unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil when you join the workforce. Be that as it may, interviews don’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience if you take some time to prepare adequately. Here’s a succinct guide to owning an interview like a boss!

 

5. Preparation is key: Do your research

Company background

Find out all you can about the company at which you are interviewing. Among the sources of information that should be on your list include the company’s website and social media pages and company review and recruitment websites such as Jobstreet, Glassdoor and LinkedIn. It would also be helpful to look through the company’s annual and sustainability reports to suss out key management figures, financial information, and current and future events and projects. Also, be sure to review the job description for keywords on the job role, tasks and qualifications needed, and prepare a pitch on how your skills are suited to the role.

 

Typical interview questions

The worst thing you could do is to enter the interview room hoping to wing it and come up with answers on the fly. Interview questions are designed to give the interviewer a better idea of who you are as an employee; your strengths, weaknesses and skill sets; how you handle conflict and setbacks, and other pertinent information about you that would help them make a decision on a job offer. Some of the questions you can expect include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Give me an example of a problem that you faced in the past and how you solved it.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
  • Why should we hire you?

Make sure you prepare a strong answer for the questions above to avoid looking unprepared and clueless. This section of the interview gives you the chance to show them what you can do and how you are an asset to the company, so make sure you seize the chance to shine brightly.

 

Questions to ask the interviewer

An interview is essentially a two-way street so you will have a chance to put forward the questions you have for the interviewer to help you find out more about the job for which you applied. The interviewer would expect you to already have done your homework about the job on offer so it’s best not to ask questions whose answers you can glean from the job description. Instead, pose questions that will allow you to find out more about the company and the role as well as an opportunity to showcase how you can be an asset to the company. Here are some choice questions to help you along:

  • What is a typical day, week, or month like for someone within this position?
  • Can you tell me a bit about the team I would be working with?
  • What types of advancement opportunities are there within the group and company?
  • What type of training or educational advancement does your organisation offer or encourage?
  • What is the single largest problem facing the organisation today?

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