Hello and welcome to this session called, “Interview Preparation 101”. I will be giving you a breakdown of how to prepare for an interview as it has worked for me, as well as from a HR professional perspective. Please grab a cup of coffee and feel comfortable.
The truth is, acing a job interview has to do with the way you prepare for it.
So I’d break this down into three stages:
1. Before the interview
2. During the interview and
3. After the interview
1. Before the Interview:
a. You should spend some time researching about your employer.
When researching about your employer you should find out:
- What they do
- Who are their competitors
- Their vision and mission
- Their Cooperate Social Responsibilities
When learning about your prospective employer, your goal isn’t just to learn about what they do but to learn about how they see themselves. Also, understanding them will reflect in your conversation in the interview and you’ll come across as someone who understands them.
b. You should dissect and dig into the job description.
What you should do here is take time to view the job description line by line.
When doing this, come up with examples in your experience that are similar to those job descriptions, particular talking about what made you successful and what you learnt in those roles.
Make sure examples you give are unique to you and also think generally about how your experience, skills and competencies make you the right fit for the role.
c. Make a compilation of at least 10 questions that you are likely to be asked.
What you are doing here is creating a what if scenario that in most cases will be in your favour. Once you are done with your questions, write down the answers to them and practice how you’d have said them.
You can go as far as having a friend or sibling practise with you. Where they play the interviewer and you play the interviewee. You can also switch roles. When you play the role of an interviewer, you are able to critique even your own answers and have an overview of the expectations.
One more thing, If you have an interview soon, check any of these sites for Interview preparation tips. Here is a list of sites for common questions in your field and how to prepare for interview as well:
- They offer prep tips
- General how to.
- Questions & Answers
d. Review your resume.
I always tell people, you should be able to know your resume from start to finish. Now, I don’t mean you should cram it. But you should have an understanding of your resume from start to finish.
Doing this gives you an understanding of you in regards to the job you are being interviewed for.
When reviewing your resume make sure you have detailed view of your soft and hard skills.
e. Make a list of questions you’d like to ask.
An interview is not a one-way event. It is two-way. In fact, it is an opportunity to know about the organization as much as they want to know about you. You want to ask questions to see if it is also the right fit for you.
Check 8 questions you can ask after an interview
f. Get yourself in the right frame of mind.
How do you do this?
- Sleep early
- Exercise or take a walk a day before
- Relax your mind
- Map your journey mentally
Get your clothes prepped and ready
2. During the interview
So on the Interview day and while at the Interview:
1. Dress as it applies to your interview. If it’s a start up where you’ve been asked to come business casual, a blazer and a jeans with a tucked in shirt should do.
2. Get to the interview at least 30 minutes before start time.
3. Be professional
4. Be sure you have prepared answer to ‘Tell me about yourself’ because there is a 99.5% chance you’d be asked that question.
5. Practice Good Nonverbal Communication: This is all about demonstrating confidence: standing straight, making eye contact & connecting with a good, firm handshake. You should note that your first nonverbal impression can be a great beginning -- or quick ending -- to your interview.
6. Listen carefully and understand the questions before rushing to answer.
7. Use appropriate language and don’t be too proud or come off as cocky.
8. One key thing I have seen has worked for many people I have interviewed in the past is how they use key words that are relevant or related to their fields. If I interview a tech person who codes and they talk about coding languages and relevant words in that field, it’d give me an indication that this person know what they are talking about.
9. Smile. Please and let it be genuine.
10. When answering your questions, try to use value and percentages to tell them of past projects and specifically mention how you’d be adding value to the team and organization in general.
For sample questions and how to answer them, please see this article here: 15 Most Common Interview Questions : How To And Not To Answer Them
3. After the interview
Once your interview is done and you are confident of how you have performed. You need to:
a. Send a Thank You Email.
An example is:
I enjoyed speaking with you on XYZ day about the X role at XYZ. The job is an excellent match for my skills and interests, and I will bring to the position strong xyz skills. I appreciate the time and look forward to hearing from you.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you and the time for the interview.
Saying ‘thank you’ in a meaningful way makes a huge impression, especially on busy interviewers. Please make sure you mention skills peculiar to you and most importantly, skills you might have missed mentioning at the interview.
b. Get ready for a follow up call, email or interview where they might talk about negotiating your salary.
You can check this thread on how to negotiate a salary:Step-by-Step guide of Negotiating Salaries.
It is important to note that people who negotiate their salaries often earn more than those who do not because employers hardly put their best offer first.
I wish you the best in your next interview.
If this has been somewhat interesting or valuable to you, share.