The endless hunt for a new opportunity, any opportunity, plagues most of us at least once every few years, as glass ceilings present themselves and boredom staves off satisfaction. Perhaps you’re over your current role, or maybe desperation burns at your bank accounts, as life and its demands reflect your financial limitations.
In the current climate, recruitment is cut throat and fast. Businesses are employing networks of old friends and friends of friends to ensure reliability and cut down costs. In the event an advert actually reaches your eyes, you’re automatically pitted against overqualified, highly experienced professionals chasing the same entry-level and mid-tier roles. It feels hopeless, but you apply anyway. When your phone blows up with invitations and possibilities, you think, I will make them like me.
But interviews are not psychology lessons or manipulations. Instead, they’re a juggling act between presentation, knowledge, and motivation, knowing when to ask the right questions, and when to listen. Do you want to know more? Does the thought of HR departments and slick recruitment agencies send your nerves spinning? Relax. By the end of this piece, you’ll be ready to take on their questions and calculating eyes with warm aplomb.
Here are three tips for preparing for a job interview:
1. Analyze The Company’s Needs
Employers leave would-be applicants a trail of clues to follow in the form of a job posting. Within the posting is an introduction to the company, a position description, and a criteria to meet. If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve obviously engaged with the position enough to capture their attention. Now, you need to line up your experience with your goal. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What are they searching for? What are the ambitions company going forward? What values do they represent? What can you offer their company and how can they develop your existing skillset? Do you know anyone who’s interviewed with the company? What can you learn from their experience?
These questions will allow you to analyze the position and place yourself high on their approved candidate list. Match up your skills with their demands and be aware of how your strengths will help you own the role.
You’re probably familiar with the expression, “practice makes perfect.” In this case, it can certainly mean the difference between getting a job or going back to the job boards.
Ask a friend or two to sit behind a desk and fire questions at you. While they won’t have the same authority or sophistication to their line of questioning, it will get you used to organizing facts of past performance and thinking on your feet.
Practice is also very important because you need to grow accustomed to being yourself in front of people you’d rather try to impress. It sounds like a trick line, doesn’t it?
Just be yourself. Hiring managers respond to character, humor, and presence of mind. If you’re able to articulate why you’re the right person for the job, show that you’ve researched the company, and represent yourself as a person instead of a criteria, your chances of hire increase.
Extra Tip: Ask your friends to download a list of most asked questions and prepare a few of your own, taking into account the role your applying for, the history of the company, any recent press releases and their future ambitions. You’re interviewing them, too!
3. Narrow Down The Details
Details often make or break a positive interview experience, and while you can’t plan for what they may say or their demeanour, there are steps you can take to ensure you make a strong impression for all of the right reasons!
Clothing: Sort out what you’ll wear a few days before (time allowing), pressing and priming each piece for presentation. Think about what position you’re interviewing for: corporate, formal, relaxed, casual, or social? Scope the scene out before and watch people who disappear into your prospective workplace, and then double it. By double it, we mean step it up and dress to impress, using what you’ve seen to provide accents to your overall end product. Be neat, clean, and groomed to the nines.
The Right Accessories: Don’t think about your watches, cell phones, or rings… Take along accessories that will improve your chances, such as a list of references, questions and a spare CV, just in case.
Get There On Time: Research the route and location of the interview, allowing significant time between the appointment and arrival. Remember, it’s better to arrive early than just on time or late.
Relax: Make eye contact, smile, and let your shoulders uncoil. A tense interview is never beneficial for anyone.
The outcome is in your hands now. You don’t need luck, just yourself, your wits and the skills you know you can bring to the table. The rest? It’s a social science and easy to decipher.
What about you? Do you have any interview tips to share?
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