Are you looking for a new job? Job hunting can be a traumatic process because it’s stressful and you’re always under scrutiny. It’s difficult to maintain composure and give it your best when someone always seems to judge your studies, your job experience and life choices. With each discussion with a potential employer, the pressure to perform better at the interview and to actually get hired intensifies.
This article aims to help you give it your best shot at your job interview. You’ll find out how to act, which qualities to emphasize, and what trivial mistakes can cost you your job. You’ll also find out some common questions asked by interviewers and how to answer them.
- Do your research about the company on their website and social media, as well as from online newspapers or TV shows. That way, you can answer all the questions regarding your potential role there, and you can come up with case studies results from the company’s past to support your position. Research also helps you to offer advice on certain matters the company’s dealing with, plus it shows your interviewer that you’re a hardworking, diligent individual.
- Practice your interview. Ask a friend to help you out and to play the role of your interviewer to reduce the pre-interview anxiety. Practice everything you want to say and how you want to say it – this includes your body language. Listen to your friend’s feedback to improve your technique.
- Choose the right clothes. Clothes tell employers a lot of things about the person they want to hire. You want something that shows you’re relaxed and professional, hardworking and a team player. That may seem hard to accomplish, but it’s easily done with a classical-cut suit or a business-casual suit with limited accessories if you’re interviewing at a start-up.
- Showcase your qualities. Behavioural interview questions are a rising trend because it’s believed that people’s pasts can predict their futures. Make a list of all your qualities and the corresponding situations when you’ve used them. Then make another list with your weaknesses and the steps you plan to take to remedy them.
- Prepare a list of questions. Asking your potential employer questions shows you have a backbone and that you’re really interested in working at their company.
- Show up on time. It’s common courtesy not to make your potential employer wait for you. Being there at the agreed time shows accountability and respect, plus your ability to follow through with your tasks.
- Be polite and charming. You can be friendly, but not overly friendly. Be funny, but don’t tell weird jokes. Shake everyone’s hands, introduce yourself, and hold eye contact. Keep your voice steady and your posture straight.
- Admit your minuses. If you don’t know the answers to some questions or if you’ve made mistakes at your previous jobs, face up to them. Tell your interviewer your exact plan to learn more and how not to repeat your past mistakes.
- Don’t focus too much on the duties you had at previous jobs. Instead, identify your unique selling proposition. What makes you different? Talk about work in terms of experiences – what you learned from various situations, what you would do differently, what made you good in crisis situations.
- Don’t speak in clichés. Speak from the heart. Focus on your qualities and highlight your strengths.
- Don’t fret too much. Don’t show signs of anxiety or indecisiveness. Maintain a positive attitude because this shows you have a high EQ (emotional intelligence), and people with high EQs have more success at job interviews.
- Don’t answer your phone. In fact, put it on silent and stash it in your bag. Answering a ringing phone during the interview shows that the job isn’t that important to you.
- Don’t bring food or drinks, and don’t chew gum. It’s ok to eat if you’re having an informal interview in a restaurant, but not in an office. You can ask for a glass of water, or have a sip from your bottle if you’re nervous.
- Don’t gossip about your old boss and don’t disclose official secrets regarding your former company. A job interview is like a first date, and no one want’s to hear you bashing your ex. Even if you had misunderstandings at your old company, be polite and respectful about your ex-coworkers.
Let’s review a few common interview questions:
- Tell me a bit about yourself. The interviewer read your resume and probably looked at your social media, so they know “a bit” about you. Your job here is to explain the data in your resume. Why did you attend a certain university? Why is there a gap year in your job experience?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? Focus on your qualities and use actual situations, preferably from work or school, to exemplify them. Be honest about your weaknesses and tell the employer how you’re planning to overcome them.
- Why do you want this job? Answer that you’re a good fit. Remind your potential employer about your strengths. Use the research you did on the company to provide specific examples on the matters you could help them with.
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Employers expect that, in today’s world, people will probably move on to other jobs or their own businesses. Be upfront about your goals but stay relevant. Tell your interviewer how their job will help you develop essential skills further.
- Tell me about a goal you couldn’t reach. How did you handle the situation? Describe the situation objectively. Don’t assign any blame to other people. Explain what you did well and what you did wrong, as well as how you made up for it.
- What is your biggest professional success? Don’t brag about numbers here. Focus on a challenge you overcame at work or how you helped one of your coworkers deal with something difficult.
- Why did you leave your former company? Don’t bad-mouth your former company and again, don’t dwell on blame. Emphasize the positive things that a move to this job brings into your personal and professional life.