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It’s a war on every job interview.
Questions of extreme difficulty are the enemy.
What you say is the weapon.
Formula for success = your solutions
So, it’s important to have a well-thought-out strategy.
It makes no difference if you are a recent college grad, unemployed, or a veteran looking for a career… You can ace any interview by remembering these 10 tips (and take them with you to the drawing board). Best of luck, Gents!
Hello and welcome to the real world. Where books are inevitably judged by their covers (at least initially).
The first step is to confirm a company’s dress code (there always is one). If this isn’t mentioned in the job ad or when you receive your schedule, make sure to call or email the appropriate person.
Apart from that, spend some time researching the company culture. Learn more about the work environment and office style.
In industries such as private banking, law, and consulting, where reputation is everything, you should double-check everything you plan to wear (the colour of your suit, the pattern on your tie… and even your haircut).
However, an open-plan office usually indicates that the company has a less formal working style. There, you’re probably better off not wearing a suit to the interview.
Arrive 15 minutes early
If you don’t see the benefit of arriving early, skip the rest of this list.
Unless you can demonstrate that you were caught in an unfortunate situation beyond your control (NOT bad traffic), tardiness is application suicide. Allow at least 15 minutes to arrive at the waiting area. This will give you a chance to relax, loosen up, and go over the answers one last time in your head.
Make it a point to read your start time aloud, confirm it again, and look at your watch as you commute there (your phone can be a distraction on the big day, so limit its usage).
It gives you a chance to set your outfit prior the next day and improves your interview wardrobe, and your interviewer may even compliment you on it. Congrats! That means you’ve effectively broken the ice and set the tone.
Do Your Research on the Company
Consider the last time you wrote a book report. Did reading the book help you, assuming you did? Without a doubt. There is no other way you could have given the answers you did – exploring the characters as you did – without having read it.
Let’s describe what it’s like to go to an interview without doing any research on the company:
Doing a book report without reading the book – which has a movie version – but basing it solely on the TRAILER on YouTube. (chuckles)
It is beneficial to spend an hour researching the company. Examine its history, structure, finances, mission and vision statements, and any notable news about it in the last year.
When applying for an entry-level position, this may not be the most important tip. However, if you want to be a manager, this preparation is critical. It may take up to 8 hours of concentrated reading.
When there are dozens of equally skilled and experienced candidates for a higher-level job, the only way to stand out is to have extensive company knowledge. Anyone can demonstrate their qualifications, but not everyone can demonstrate their passion for the job and workplace – and employers are well aware of this.
Consider Which Roles You Can Fill
This is comparable to joining the high school football team. Some guys try out with the intention of becoming backs and receivers (they enjoy throwing the ball), but they should be open to playing defence if the coach believes they are better suited for it. They should not confine themselves to a single role.
Make a list of jobs you might be able to fill in, for companies other than the one you’re applying to. It makes no difference if you are under the age of 25 or work in a more technical field.
Know all of your options based on your skill set or personality, whether they are in another department or as an assistant to someone else. You’ll come across better if you can explain those points to the interviewer. This comes out as you being multi talented, making you a more valuable candidate than most!
Consider How You Can Add Value
This is the section in which you must provide a detailed description of your skills and how you see them translating into a high return on assets (ROA) for your employer.
In other words, what can you do to make more money for the company?
At the end of the day, business owners are preoccupied with one thing above all others: profit!
Before they even consider salaries, they must consider all of the costs, taxes, and risks. As a result, they require managers and professionals who can be compensated to help widen the earnings-expenses gap. Hence, your contribution and value can change the company dynamics.
Allow us to modify the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.”
No, perfect practice produces perfect results. This also applies to interview preparation.
Conduct some online research and make a list of potential questions. Print it out and make a rough draught of your responses. Then combine them all into a script in another document.
Get a friend or family member to help you practise. Make sure it’s someone who has the time to conduct a true mock interview in which you respond at a reasonable pace.
After that, solicit their feedback. You want them to judge your style of answering questions, not just how well your answers matched those on the script.
No stuttering or fidgeting! When appropriate, smile; when necessary, maintain a neutral expression (do not frown).
Increasing the variety of your tone and speech tempo (depending on the topic)
Responding with medium-length, insightful responses rather than generic or incomplete ones.
Understand How To Present Your Strengths
You’ve most likely heard of this one. And it’s simple to do. We should all have enough self-esteem to recognise and appreciate our own strengths. The difficult part is conveying them strategically.
You can’t just say “I communicate well with people” and call it a day. You’ll need a brief story (under one minute) to back it up, such as when you worked on a specific team project in college or at your previous job. Always have three stories ready to tell.
Make certain you tell them with genuine emotion. The key is to be confident in your abilities while remaining modest. Employers dislike answers that appear overly rehearsed or robotic.
Understand How To Present Your Weaknesses
This tip addresses one of those “landmine” interview questions. If you are not cautious, you may fall into two booby traps:
- Mentioning something that isn’t a true weakness but a stock response (“I work a little too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist”)
- Sharing a flaw in your personality that raises a red flag for the interviewer (“I may lose my temper when I’m really stressed out”)
How do you avoid falling into either extreme? Find legitimate flaws that aren’t completely bad and, if handled correctly, can actually benefit you and the company.
You want three short stories that describe your weaknesses and how you dealt with or overcame them. However, just as with discussing your strengths, you must speak with emotion and vulnerability.
For example, you might be quite stubborn, and it showed when you attempted to complete an impossible task at your previous job. Your boss had to lecture you on regaining focus, but he also praised you for your determination. That’s when you realise how important knowing your priorities is.
Do Not Attempt To Lie To Anyone
Maybe it’s in our nature, but many of us give completely nonsense answers from time to time. It has something to do with ego. We’d rather “risk” pretending to know something than be truthful.
The problem with that gamble is that if it fails, you lose far more than if you had told the truth. And this is frequently the case during job interviews.
While interviewers appreciate knowing relevant information ahead of time, they despise lies more than anything else. And they’ll smell it from afar – or as soon as they ask a follow-up question that causes you to stumble with your words!
So, when unfamiliar terms or acronyms pop up, be humble enough to ask them to explain the question more clearly. Don’t even use “umm” for a few seconds. It is far preferable to admit your ignorance than to conceal it.
Skip It If You Don’t Know The Answer
Only do this if you believe that answering will not help. Perhaps you are uncomfortable with the question, your mind goes blank, or your instincts tell you to proceed. Whatever the case may be, everything is fine.
Ask the interviewer politely if you can skip the question (no matter how aggressively they asked it). If you’ve done well up to that point and continue to perform well, here are the worst-case scenarios:
- They recognise that you require additional training.
- They admire how you acknowledge your limitations.
- They say they’ll give you time to consider it or respond later.
- Finally, no one is immune to having those kinds of moments. So think of it as a learning experience that will give you strength and wisdom for future interviews.
Bonus Tip: Be Confident and Show it
Confidence is defined as being in the right frame of mind. Thinking positively.
It’s not about believing that you’re the best at what you do or that you’ll get the job. That will only lead to disappointment.
There’s always the possibility that someone else has a stronger resume or provides better answers. Or you might be the wrong fit at the wrong time, and it’s not your fault. The recruitment process is a numbers game. Not everyone has celebrities lined up from the moment they walk into the interview room.
You want to be able to say “I can” and “I will” as soon as you walk into the interview.
I am confident in my abilities and track record of success.
I will demonstrate that I am an excellent candidate.
I can answer every single question correctly, and I will leave the interview knowing I did my best.
That is the mindset of a true winner!
Here’s a list of thoughts and actions to help you project confidence during interviews:
You are aware of who you are, what you are capable of, and what you stand for.
Whether or not you are hired, your job does not define you.
The interviewer is a normal person who might want to work with you; he or she is not someone to “bow” to or feel inferior to.
You want to address them as if you already have a professional relationship with them.
Try some high-power poses, which have been shown to improve your interview performance and make you more hireable!