Congratulations! You have passed the resume screening and got a job interview! Now you ask yourself, what do I do now? This article will help you ace the job interview process that comes with the job search.
How well prepared you are for the interview will often determine how successful you will be at securing the job. Follow these steps to succeed and get closer to the final goal in the hiring process.
Research the company
You should learn as much as possible about the company and the position you’re applying to. Researching a prospective employer serves two purposes. First, it allows you to evaluate whether or not you want to work there, even if these strange days.
A potential employer often sounds promising but after researching them, you might find out that it is not a good fit with your interests and professional goals. So thorough research can prevent you from making a mistake.
Not all job offers are worth the trouble but in difficult times like these, you should not be too picky, right? It’s up to you to go to the trouble of finding out if it is. If you have not done so, you may as well not show up for the interview and embarrass yourself.
Secondly, if you research a company well, it may help you to impress your interviewer.
What you should check
The Internet has made this task easy. You should familiarize yourself with the company profile, history, and annual reports. Most information is available on the Internet, but you may also check out your local library.
Get optimally informed as to how the company started, their target markets, their competitors, their performance, and where they are going. It would also be a good idea to know of any changes that have affected them or may affect them in the future.
Don’t forget to check the company’s social media accounts. It might be a good source of information about outgoing affairs and the company approach. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes social media communication is handled by the specialized agency that has little contact with the staff.
Nevertheless, it’s worth to check the Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages of the company that is interviewing you.
The job interview is your perfect chance for selling yourself and knowing a lot about your prospective employer shows that you’re really interested in the job and that you’re really motivated to get the position.
The more you know the more comfortable you will be when you interview. When my friend Jason was invited for a job interview, he impressed the recruiter with his knowledge of the history of the startup and where they stood today.
Why does it matter?
Granted, it has become harder to find a good job these days, but when you portray politely and positively that you are knowledgeable about the organization and do have something to offer it, your chances will definitely improve.
Your resume may already have shown some good examples of your team player skills, but now you’ll have to convince them as well that you’ll fit their team.
Research enables you to form a picture of what their “team” looks like. Solid research enables you to say at the end of the interview confidently: “I’m absolutely interested in getting this position. What would be the next step?”
When you’re researching a prospective employer, irrespective of the size, you need to identify the areas that concern or interest you the most just like the employer researches you through a pre-employment background check. The facts that you learn about the company should come in handy when it comes time to formulate your questions.
There is a myriad of facts and factors you can find out about, especially for larger companies. You only need to delve as far as you need to until you feel you have a good grasp of what a particular employer is about.
Prepare yourself mentally
Practicing for the interview will help you to take the stress away from the whole process. Dry run or mock interviews are meant to get you familiar with the job interview process and help you to relax.
Merely expecting that an interview will result in an optimistic consequence is not enough. That’s actually ruining your chances of working toward a better outcome.
- Remember your weaknesses and strengths and know exactly what should say and should not say during your interview.
- Identify your key strengths, with examples from your past experience, that you can describe to employers. This will help them visualize you as a strong candidate. These examples should be as relevant to the company as possible.
- Remember the problem areas in your record and be prepared to offer a good explanation for these during the interview. Hopefully, these areas won’t be touched upon, but it is best to be prepared.
- Resolve and commit yourself to never volunteer negative information about yourself or a former employer.
- Use your knowledge from your research about the company. Tell the interviewer what you have learned about the company, and why it is appealing to you personally.
Relate those particular examples of your expertise to what you’ve learned about the company’s focus, it, and its marketplace targets. Avoid talking about money. Later in the process, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to address your desired salary but for now, focus on what you can mean for the company.
Practice for the job interview-dry run
You may want to write out practice answers to possible questions from the interviewer. Seeing your answers in print is training your subconscious mind, which will help you during the interview by recalling what you had written the night before. That kind of memory training is only good for 24 hours, so only do this the night before.
• You can do a mock interview with a friend or relative. It may even be a good idea to record yourself with your phone to lend a whole new slant on things.
Be aware of the fact that most people don’t approve of the way that they look or behave when they see the recording.
• Many people don’t like the sound of their own voices. Don’t let this phenomenon affect your confidence.
• You can’t change your appearance overnight, or a lifetime of habits. However, do observe your performance for obviously negative things that you would find off-putting if you interviewed someone.
• Memorize your list of questions that you are going to ask the interviewers.
Dress for success
According to a recent survey, you only have seven seconds to make a killer first impression, so you want to make sure you’re making the most of those seconds when it comes to dressing for success. A general rule for interview attire is to wear something classic, conservative, and traditional.
However, it all depends on what company you are visiting, pay close attention to the office environment so you’ll have a better idea of what to wear on your first day.
If your office is more casual, then you have more options, but that also means you have more opportunities to project the wrong look.
Start with the suit and gradually dress it down—trade the suit pants for more casual slacks or skirts, or swap out the jacket with a more casual top. Keep hems of dresses and skirts close to the knees and make sure necklines aren’t too revealing.
No matter what you’re wearing, make sure it fits well and you feel comfortable.
Types of job interview
Of course, the type of job interview depends on the sort of job you are looking for, as well as on the specific preferences of a given interviewer.
You get a vague idea about the first factor, however, as in most situations, you do not know your interviewer and do not know what to expect it is best if you get prepared to various types of interviews.
Smaller companies most commonly carry out this type of interview. One person, who invariably has the final decision-making power, interviews candidates.
This type of interview tends to be less formal, but this will depend on the employer’s style. Interviewers often have a series of well-prepared questions that he or she will ask all candidates.
In this type of interview, it is absolutely imperative that you maintain constant eye contact with your interviewer. It is not unusual for an employment offer decision to be made there and then at this kind of interview.
Fortunately or unfortunately, a large determining factor of the employment decision is more question of personality than anything else.
The alterations of one on one interview are phone interviews and video interviews. Even if you don’t meet a recruiter in person, you still need to follow all the rules that apply to traditional interviews.
Keep in mind, no matter how nice the recruiters seem or how conversational they appear, they are there to do a job – screen applicants. Answer the questions, be personable but never mistake their interest for genuine friendship. They are trying to draw you out, but now is not a great time to tell them deep family secrets.
The impromptu interview
This kind of interview happens more by accident than anything else. An employer looking to fill a vacant position happens to meet someone that they would consider employing.
They then seize the initiative to begin discussing their role with this unsuspecting candidate. Their manner and style of questioning would be subdued and superficially of a social nature.
Very rarely will a job offer ensue from such an encounter. A formal invitation to attend a more official interview could easily ensue from such an exchange of information.
Such an interview is likely to occur at a venue of mutual interest like a job fair, wholesaler’s outlet, industry convention, mutual client, or a similar setting.
It doesn’t hurt to be always prepared to sell yourself under any kind of interview situation no matter how unexpected.
The second or follow-up interview
Prospective employers invite candidates whom they seriously consider for a position to offer another interview. More senior people than those that attended the first interview, generally conduct this kind of interview.
Applicants can expect to be faced with more probing questions, which in some cases can be building on from what was said at the previous interview.
Employers will also expect an increased level of preparation on the candidate’s part and also expect full cooperation regarding a background check that may take a while. A good candidate would research further issues that were discussed earlier.
They may even want to present a more detailed explanation, with more evidence, of a topic that was covered in the initial interview. It would be prudent that you use any information that was gained at the first interview, through discussion or observation, to your advantage.
The most common type of interview
The most common type of interview is actually an amalgamation of all types of interviews. One of the reasons for this is that less than half of all interviewers are actually trained in any way to conduct interviews.
The result is a hodgepodge collection of the interviewer’s individual experiences of interviews that they underwent as candidates themselves. Elements of all interview techniques and styles can and will be evident.
Very often they will be little discernible structure to the interview. They are sometimes merely rattling off the best questions that they experienced when they were sitting in your position.
Now that doesn’t mean that the interview is pointless and a waste of time for everybody. Such an exchange of information will still be of value to both sides involved in the experience.
Each will know more about the other and hopefully, you will have done a more than adequate job of selling yourself.
How to answer difficult questions
When asked difficult questions, don’t stress. If they ask you why you left your last position, don’t say or do anything negative. Be as positive as possible, turning negatives into positives.
If they ask you if you have applied to other companies, be honest. This may even get you an offer faster as well as increase the offer if they really like you and if you want to know what your annual desired salary should be compared to your hourly pay, you can use this paycheck calculator. Refrain from money-related questions as much as you can, though.
Illegal questions are those that seek information regarding marriage, family, age, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
Do not get defensive; the interviewer may not intend to ask a discriminatory question. Ask for clarification and word it tactfully.
Thank them for taking the time to interview you. Pay attention to your non-verbal cues. Walk and sit upright without slouching.
After the interview
Always send a thank-you note within 24 hours of the interview regardless of your view towards the position or company. It is not a bad idea to contact the employer in approximately seven days to reaffirm your interest in the position.
However, if the company states that they will be contacting people within two weeks, then wait until the end of the two weeks. Emphasize your interest in them and the position in the thank-you note immediately following the interview.
It’s key to understanding who you are, what you want, what you have to offer, and what exactly you’ve achieved. And having it all on the tip of your tongue can make or break you for a job offer. Perhaps you won’t land the perfect job, but it may get you a job in the end.
It’s great to be able to portrait yourself and your skills in a good way. If you convince them that you may benefit the company, then exactly that is your strength, your potential. But to be able to get the deal done and land the job, you are required to take some time to research and learn all about the company.