You are called to interview and you dedicate 99% of your interview preparation time to just interview questions!
Interview questions are important for excelling at interviews, after all, an interview is basically a conversation in a question and answer form as Wikipedia puts it. What if you begin to see interviews as dynamic platforms for employers to meet you and see if they like you enough to give you a job!
Today, I am going to provide you a comprehensive interview preparation guide covering how to research, practice, get ready, be on time, carry your self, demonstrate what you know, avoid common mistakes, follow up and more!
As you might be already aware, the single most important strategy in interviewing, as in all phases of job search, is what career experts termed: “The Greatest Executive Job Finding Secret and that is
Finding out what your prospective employer or recruiter want, than show them how you can help them get it.
Follow these steps detailed interview preparation tips below to quickly plan and nail your next interview!
Clarify Interview Type, Objective, and Procedures
Interviews come in different ways. For instance, it can be for the purpose of shortlisting from a group as a prerequisite for the final interview to take place. In some instances, interviews are arranged where you could be the only candidate.
Make sure you inquire from the organization or recruiters about the objective of the interview in question. This information will be availed to you earlier which will enable you to adequately prepare ahead of others who did not. In some instances you can glean the objective of the interview from the job description.
The interview procedures, on the other hand, spells out how the interview will be conducted. It is good to know beforehand the tools and procedures that will be used to interview you.
Most interview procedures may take the form of aptitude test, one on one discussion, panel interviews, and scenario modeling among others. Once you are able to find out all these issues it puts you in a better position to adequately prepare for the upcoming interview.
Research the Prospective Organisation.
Knowing more about the organization of interest does not only prove your genuine interest in working with the company but it equally puts you ahead of your competitors who are less prepared. A homework on the organizational background will help here.
By background information, I mean organization Vision, mission, core values, years of operation, its services, and partners among others. Note that nothing is more boring to an interviewer or employer than candidates who come to interviews totally uninformed about the employer.
Researching into employer activities has become much easier owing to the rise in social media usage. Make good use of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter which contains very vital information on the operations of recruiters globally.
There are other platforms such as Vault, Career Search or The Riley Guide to get an overview of the organization and its industry profile especially if the organization of interest is an international one.
One attribute of these sources is that as a job seeker you will be able to access agency campaigns, videos, fundraising among others various media of employers and this also offers you the opportunity to learn quickly about your prospective employer.
It is also critical to identify the current products and services of your desired employer and the company website will provide you with very detail information in that regard. The company website will equally assist you with adequate information to enable you to review the company’s background, mission statements, and how that relates to the job at hand.
Other valuable sources you can obtain company information may include recent press releases about the agency’s insights, projected growth, and stability. Trade and business publications equally comes in handy as it provides rich insights into the financial standing of agencies.
With all this information you should be able to generate a prospective question list based on existing information gaps you could not fill in relation to the company and its activities.
The question list will assist you to ask about the organization or position based on your research after the interview.
Re-Study Your CV
Once you are called to interview, your ability to “own your CV” is very essential. What I mean by owning your CV is that you would be called upon to satisfactorily account for all that you claim to possess in terms of skills, experiences, achievements, awards, and qualifications.
There is, therefore, the need before you attend an interview to re-examine your CV and make sure you are well versed in all that is presented in it. One mistake many inexperienced candidates often make is assuming that they know all that has been presented in their CV.
As part of the preparation, you need to remember the nitty-gritty’s of your employment profile and academic credentials backed by exact metrics such as dates, numbers, locations and impact indicators among others.
One way of mastering your CV is to clearly outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities required based on the job description. Then, examine the hierarchy by determining where the position fits within the organization.
You then need to look side-by-side comparing what the employer is seeking to your qualifications presented in your CV.
A candidate who does this well is in a better position to predetermine questions he or she would be asked during the actual interview and appropriately rehearse her/his responses.
Practice Your Responses.
Practice is very essential in interview preparation. Most interviews involve a combination of CV – based, behavioral, and case questions. You can also utilize software and career advice channels such as Naukri, Muse, and the balance on youtube to further assist you in identifying tough questions and rehearsing how best to handle them.
Plan What to Wear
As part of the interview preparation process, take a look at how staff of your prospective organization dresses based on the information you obtained from their social media profiles, websites, and publications as mentioned earlier.
That aside, you may decide to go neutral. In such instances, conservative business attire, such as a neutral-colored suit and professional shoes, is best.
In situations where you are instructed to dress “business casual,” use good judgment. Plugin that iron and make sure your clothes are neat and wrinkle-free. Dress to impress but do not “overdress” and ensure that your overall appearance is neat and clean.
Be on Time
The first most important interview preparation for you is to be on time. Simply put avoid been late! Albert and Comfort Ocran explained this in the best possible way:
Make sure to find out where the venue is, plan how to get there, and determine how long the trip will take? … The same rule applies if you are going by public transport. In locations and suburbs that are prone to sudden traffic jams, locate an alternative route you may fall on if the need arises
Recently I have experienced an increase in headhunter interview schedules for Senior Executives who sought after our LinkedIn services.
Most of these invitations come as short notice without preliminary interview preparation by job seekers. Sometimes within two hours or less!
In such instances when you are called to interview within a short notice simply make good use of your GPS. If you are not currently up to speed with how to find a place on Google with your smartphone, I advise that you start learning immediately!
Plan What to Bring to Interview
As part of the interview preparation process, there is a need for you to contact the employer or recruiter and find out what you need to bring to the interview if it has not been clearly stated in the invitation letter.
It also recommended that you jot down a list of all items required for the interview either from the employer side or items that will aid you during the interview.
Some of this items may include extra copies of your resume on quality paper, a notepad or professional binder and pen a list of references, identity cards and information you might need to complete an application (Ghana Card, Passport, Voter ID card, Birth Certificate, National Service Certificate, pen), and a portfolio with samples of your work, if relevant
Interview Preparation for Non-Verbal Communication.
Be mindful that nonverbal communication speaks volumes. Start ahead and remember that waiting room behaviors may be reported.
Project confidence. Just mile. Establish eye contact, and use a firm handshake. Posture counts. Sit up straight yet comfortably. Be aware of nervous gestures such as foot-tapping.
Be attentive. Don’t stare, but maintain good eye contact, while addressing all aspects of an interviewer’s questions.
Respect their space by not placing anything on their desk. Manage reactions through facial expressions which provide clues to your feelings. Manage how you react to sensitive questions posed to you and project a positive image.
Plan for Follow up Questions
Many interviews end with “Do you have any questions?” In planning for this follow-up stage. It is important to bring a list. You may say:
In preparing for today’s meeting, I took some time to jot down a few questions. Please allow me to review my notes.
Be strategic. Cover information not discussed or clarify a previous topic and do not ask for information that can be found on the organization’s website.
Questions worth asking may include the following samples:
In your opinion, what makes this organization a great place to work? ;
What do you consider the most important criteria for success in this job? ;
Tell me about the organization’s culture ;
How will my performance be evaluated? ;
What are the opportunities for advancement? ;
What are the next steps in the hiring process?
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