Written by Catherine Adenle
Applying for jobs? Learn to ace your job interview so that you can secure your dream job. Job interviews can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Nevertheless, after writing countless CVs, cover letters, and job applications, it’s thrilling that you have finally secured a job interview. Perhaps it is a promotion within your current company or a new position elsewhere.
“People who don’t do their research, don’t study and don’t practise for their interview, most often don’t get hired,” – Vicki Walch
This could be a new position offering more money, perks or perhaps more responsibility. In any case, you want to put your best foot forward, make the right impression and ace the job interview. Now you hope that you interview well by impressing the hiring manager.
As far as job interviews go, the more thorough your preparation, then the more effective your presentation will be.
It is a fact that most people are nervous about participating in a job interview. As there are no second chances when it comes to making that first impression, so you better be prepared to ace the job interview and get hired. As far as job interviews go, the more thorough your preparation, then the more effective your presentation will be. Here are some job interview tips to help you prepare to interview effectively.
This is the order of things you need to do for you to ace your job interview:
Now, let’s focus on different types of job interview formats. There are many types of job interviews and they all serve diverse purposes. Knowing what to expect can help you to ace any job interview.
Informational Interview: The objective of this job interview is to learn more about you, your skills and for the interviewers to tell you about their organization and the job.
Telephone or Video Screening Interview: A phone or video job interview is the most cost-effective way to screen candidates. For this, it’s advisable to have your CV, the job description, some prepared answers to challenging questions and the company information and your references list in front of you. As they can’t see your body language if it is a phone interview, it is important to give great answers with an enthusiastic tone and be sure to ask what the next step is after the interview.
Via video, be sure to dress professionally and keep eye contact at all times. Your body language, posture and facial expressions are usually watched. For both types of job interviews, make sure there is nothing distracting or unprofessional in the background, such as meowing cat, barking dogs or a crying child.
Formal Face to Face On-Site Interview: This is the most common type of job interview. It is typically a face to face questions and answers session at the organization’s office. Usually, you will need to use specific examples to support your answers. Again, your body language, posture and facial expressions are usually watched.
Task-Oriented Interview: This is a problem-solving job interview where you will be given some exercises to demonstrate your leadership, creative and analytical abilities. You may be asked to take a short psychometric test to evaluate your technical knowledge, IQ and skills.
Group Interview: One of the most stressful scenarios involves a group interview. This is your chance to show how you work in a team so just don’t make everything all about you. For this, build on something someone else has said in the conversation and include others in the conversation, be collaborative. Remember; don’t step on someone else when they are expressing an idea.
Panel Interview: For this, you will meet a number of stakeholder or decision-makers at once. This can be an intimidating experience if you are not prepared enough. It’s an effective way to interview candidates. It’s important to make eye contact with all the interviewers, no matter who asked the question.
The Lunch Interview: This type of interview gives the employer a chance to assess your communication and interpersonal skills as well as your table manners! So make sure you order your food wisely, don’t order messy dishes. The focus shouldn’t be the oily spot on your shirt.
Don’t order any food that you eat with your hands or alcoholic drink and make sure you don’t spill your drink.
Stress Interview: This is rare; for this, the interviewer tries to bait you in order to see how you will respond. The objective is to find your weaknesses and test how you hold up to pressure.
Behavioural-Based Interview: The theory behind this is that past performance in a similar situation is the best predictor of future performance. This delves deeper than traditional job interview techniques. For this, you must think of specific examples that demonstrate your competence in important job skills area such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork, flexibility etc. You must always use the STAR – Situation, Task, Action and Result or PAR — Problems, Actions and Results method to answer these types of questions. How did you determine the problem? What was the action you took? What were the final results?
The Sequential Interview: These are several interviews where you take it in turn with a different interviewer each time. Usually, each interviewer asks questions to test different sets of competencies.
The Second Interview: This is when you are asked back for another interview after the individual face to face on-site interview. They must like you enough that you made the first round of cuts, but they would like to know more about you before making their final decision. Usually, this is the last step before an offer is made. All these types of interviews can take on different question formats, so once you’ve checked with your potential employer which type of interview you’ll be attending, it’s time to get prepared!
Look at the copy of your CV that you sent to the organization, consider your skills that are linked to their requirements and go through the pieces of evidence that will showcase those skills. Remember that your skills won you the interview in the first place, now while sitting in front of them; it is your opportunity to use the skills as part of the main agenda in your interview. Recruiters will find this consistency very reassuring.
Write down your answers to these ‘Top 25 Job Interview Questions’ and practice them.
Practice answering the above questions with your responses. Think of actual examples that you can use to describe your skills. Be prepared to provide pieces of evidence of your successes as this will go a long way to promote your candidacy. Get someone to do a mock interview with you or record yourself answering the questions and play it back. Also have a list of your own questions to ask the employer ready.
Get enough sleep the night before the interview so that you can feel refreshed and you don’t yawn at the interview. Don’t be late and don’t complain about the bad traffic on the way to the interview. The hiring manager drives through it every day and he won’t feel sorry for you in any way.
During the job interview try to relax and stay as calm as possible. Take a moment to regroup. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention – you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!
The only way to get a job is to stand out (for the right reasons) from the sea of other job seekers. In a sea of horses, you better be a Unicorn! You have to show passion, enthusiasm and depth in knowledge.
Focus more on what you can do for the company, rather than what they can do for you. Above all, look to showcase your skills or Prime Selling Points.
Under no circumstances should you complain about your current or past managers or companies you have worked with, even when the interviewer themselves do so. If you complain about your past employers, you would complain about future ones too.
Immediately after your job interview, the interviewers will always ask if you have questions for them. Create the right impression by preparing at least two clever questions like the ones below. Waste no further opportunities to promote your keenness at securing the job. Get a question from your research into the company and its activities, and strongly connect it to your skills.
What’s the best way to show a recruiter you should get the job? Spin the interview into a conversation among two professionals, says Martin Yates, author of “Knock ‘Em Dead: Job Interview.” Try asking questions like these two:
“What are the biggest challenges in this position?”
“What sort of result do you need to see from me in six months or one year?”
Your question can also concern future training, technical matters, new products or anything to demonstrate your ability and illustrate your skills.
They will also ask if there anything else that you’d like to know.
This is where you give your leaving statement. It is important to prepare the scene for getting off the interview chair.
Visualize gathering your belongings, rising with a smile, a firm handshake with a friendly but business-like parting statement:
‘No, I have nothing else to add except to thank you for your time. I have enjoyed the interview and feel that it is been very useful. It has increased my interest in the job and confirmed my ability to be of value to your company.’
Remember that you are still creating a lasting impression that will get you noticed and remembered.
Send a thank you email or note on the same day and also mention the reasons you think you fit the position.
Now, with these tips, go and prepare the answers that will allow you to ace the job interview and knock their socks off!
With some practice and preparation, job interviews need not be a mystery or a horror. In fact, it can be enjoyable, informative, and even sometimes fun. Remember that every interview that you complete will make you more practised in the art of getting interviewed. By continuing to interview for jobs, you will learn the range of a variety of questions and scenarios that may confront you. Then you will be better prepared to win the job of your dreams!