Congratulations on landing a job interview! Remember that you are among a select 20 per cent to get an invitation to interview for the job. The job market for good jobs is always very competitive. You need to prime yourself to give your best to this crucial interview. Good interview preparation makes the difference between getting and not getting the job. Here are some interview preparation tips to help you through the interview process.
1) Background Research
The first step to good interview preparation is to research the organization. Learn more about the various businesses of the company, their subsidiaries, who their competitors are and what their advertising says. Interview preparation materials that you can use include company web sites, media reports, annual reports and product analysis. If the company is listed, then read the financials of the company too. This research will also give you a fair idea as to where you fit in and what interview questions the interviewer is likely to ask.
2) Know your Interviewer & Type of Interview
It is important to understand who will be interviewing you and the type of interview you will encounter so you can prepare for it accordingly. In large organizations, the job interviews are often conducted by HR professionals. In this case the interview questions will be structured designed to test specific traits and skills. In management consulting firms and smaller companies, it could be a partner who is interviewing, so the interview questions may not be in sync with your resume or interview preparations. Here are a few types of interviews you may see in the interview process.
i) The Screening Interview: This type of job interview is not to select a candidate, it is to reject candidates not suitable early in the interview process. The interviewer will try to find reasons why you should not be hired. Screening questions include: Do you have the minimum qualifications or experience required? Do you have gaps in your resume?
ii) Resume Interview: This is an interview to understand more about you and your background. It is almost entirely based on your resume. In most cases, the interviewer will go through it chronologically asking to understand what skills and experiences you have built up. Be prepared to talk about the job and your contribution to the company’s success.
iii) Behavioral Interview: This type of an interview is mostly to understand your personality traits and behavioral patterns. Do you have what they are looking for? An analytical mindset, leadership, team work, etc.
iv) Fit Interview: This a behavioral structured interview to assess the work tolerance dimensions of the candidate for a particular job. This part of the interview process starts with a pre-interview list of traits to check for. The opening, closing and the interview questions asked in this type of job interviews may be pre-planned. Each of the work tolerance dimensions will have its set of interview questions and evaluating criteria. The interviewer will also assess whether you fit culturally into the organization.
v) Case Interview: This type of interview is usually used by management consulting firms and investment banks. You will have to analyze a particular business case study within a time frame.
3) Refresh your Skills
Many job interview questions will focus on your core skills and so the interview preparation process includes being prepared for technical interview questions on your skills. So pull out your books and brush up on your core subjects again. Read about the latest findings in your particular field. Talk to people in this particular vertical and learn about recent trends. Highlight the skills sets that would be required by the organization. For instance, if you are applying for the vacancy of a copy writer in an advertising agency, take samples of creative writing you have done in college or for the community.
4) Network with the Organization
Once you get the job interview letter, make your sure you establish contact with the points person, usually in the Human Resources (HR) department. Tell her that you have received the letter and iron out any thing in the letter which is not clear, be it time of interview, location or what certificates/ samples of work you have to carry with you.
Don’t stop with the human resources. Establish contact with people in the job functions you are interviewing for. Your interview preparation will get a solid boost if you can meet with them to learn more about the organization and their careers.
5) Practice, Practice, Practice
You might feel foolish doing this, but it is a good idea to practice in front of a mirror. Smile and say `Good Morning’ to yourself. Answer common interview questions to yourself.
Better still is to get others to interview you. Friends and faculty are often a good source. You can also avail of Graduate Tutor’s interview preparation and practice services to have a professional interview you.
6) Dress the Part
Plan what you are going to wear the job interview based on the culture of the organization. It is better to be a little over dressed than underdressed. Select clothes which are not too loose or too tight. Personal hygiene is very important at all stages in the interview process. Make sure you haven’t bitten your nails through! Dress neatly. Get your hair trimmed and shave well.
7) Do a Dry Run & Arrive early
It is important to be relaxed during this critical step in the interview process. Do a dry run the previous day so that you don’t have to search for the office. Door numbers and street names can be totally misleading. It will also give you a fair idea of the time taken to reach the office. Make sure you reach the office with at least ten minutes to spare. The ten minutes will give you time to be relaxed through this critical step in the interview process.
8) At the Interview
Remember to smile and stay calm through the interview process. Be relaxed but not casual. May sure you look people in the eye. Say hello and converse. Small talk as appropriate. Wait to be asked to sit, before you do so. Keep your hands still and do not fidget. Above all, be excited to meet them, though not overly so.
Be truthful, clear and to the point in your job interview answers. Be honest and true to yourself. Don’t act or pretend to be someone you are not. Communicate but don’t talk too much. Ask for clarifications if you cannot understand something. Most importantly put your cell phone on etiquette mode. When the job interview is over, thank the interviewers for their time.
9) Follow up
Call your contact in the company and thank her. You can also send a thank you card or email. But following up indicated that you are a serious candidate and you are interested in working in that firm or company.
10) Press on
Do not stop your job search after you are done with your interview. Take a break, go out and have fun that evening but resume your job search the very next day. You are not done with your job search till you land a satisfactory job offer. So press on.
Bonus Tip #1: Interview Questions vary according to the vertical. Here are some basic interview questions that you must be well prepared for.
- Tell me about yourself.(This opening gambit generally indicates the inexperience of the interviewer. Grab the opportunity to highlight your skills and how you would be an asset to the company. Don’t talk too much.)
- Why have chosen this subject to major in?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What do you bring to the table? (That is, what are you strengths and weaknesses? )
- What salary do you expect?
- What was your salary at the previous concern?
- Why do you want to leave your job?
- What are the challenges and threats in this sector?
- Are you a team player?
- Is there anything you need to know about this company?
Bonus Tips #2: The trickiest part of the job interview is negotiating your salary. Many people feel they undersold themselves at the first job interview. So when asked about salary, answer honestly. Ask for a reasonable increase in remuneration and benefits. Remember this is the last time you will be in a position to negotiate you pay packet in this organization.
We hope these tips give you success in your job interviews. Do let us know if we can be of assistance with you interview preparation. Our tutors with experience recruiting can conduct mock interviews for you giving you valuable practice and actionable feedback and to polish your case interview skills and increase your chance of success.