Do you have an interview and confused on how to prepare for a job interview, don’t despair this article will help you succeed and beat the competition guaranteed. If you’re looking to enter the job market or even switching jobs, you will be given practical tips and insights on preparing and excelling at your next interview. I discuss 10 key areas to prepare for an interview, they are sure to make you a champion.
1. Researching the organization
One of the first things you should do when you prepare for an interview is to research the organization you will be interviewing with. Get to know the organization, its culture, vision, mission, programs, values and ideals and much more. There are several ways of researching your interviewing organization starting with their website to find out more about them. Also make use of any social presence the organization may have on social media sites to research them.
Also use google and other search engines to research the organization from different sources. Narrow down your research to role you are applying for to know the organizations approach and key concepts and familiarize yourself.
Do not discount using LinkedIn and talking to insiders. Use LinkedIn to research the organizations employees and reach out to them with intelligent questions relating to the work. Most people will write back to you.
2. Job description/advert
A key part of your interview will be the job description (JD) in the job advertisement. Most of the questions you will be asked will come from there. You need to read and mark the JD for key things that standout. The key things to look out for are the tasks to be accomplished, experiences required, tools to be used, approaches and concepts to use in work, values of the organization and required competencies.
Once you have marked the key issues that stand out in the job description, next formulate questions around them. Diligently answer the questions, prepare you answers thoughtfully and try to firmly fix it in your mind with clear understanding. You are sure to get 80% of your questions there. Then just prepare well enough and speak fluently. You are sure to dazzle and wow the interview panel.
3. Know the type of interview you face
The key to prepare for an interview is preparation and practice. Knowing the type of interview, you will be facing is part of preparing adequately. Most organizations will let you know if it’s a competency-based interview or some other type. For a full list of interview types, read my post on Interview assessments and questions.
Based on the type of interview you can envisage questions you will be asked. The next step is to get busy preparing for the interview.
4. Prepare questions and answers from your CV/Resume
In your application you presented a resume/CV and the hiring manager will use it to ask you questions. Therefore, take your CV and go through it and come up with questions you can envisage. Questions will come around what you say are your skills, successes and experience. You may also be asked questions if any gaps exist in your CV or resume.
5. Prepare on knowledge expectations of role applied.
The role you are applying for comes with some expectation of knowledge and experience you should possess. Get to know what the expectations are for the role and prepare on the concepts, theories and methodologies that are relevant to the position. For instance, if your position requires you to work with rights-based approach, you should be able to articulate it when asked.
6. Elevator pitch
When you prepare for an interview, rehearse your elevator pitch. A personal elevator pitch is a quick summary of yourself. It’s named after the time it should take to deliver it—the duration of a short elevator ride (roughly 30 to 60 seconds or 75 words). Elevator pitches are sometimes thought to be specific to an idea or a product, but you can also use it to sell yourself as a professional. It is related to the question you tell us about yourself or why you are suitable for the position or what your motivation is.
7. Prepare for the common interview questions
In every interview there are common questions that are usually asked, and it is wise to prepare answers for them. Here are some common interview questions you should prepare answers for:
- Tell us about yourself?
This question is not about you giving your bio but rather tell it all on your background – work experience, education, and unique successes.
2. What motivates you to apply for the job?
Center on the mandate of the organization you are applying and try to mirror how you align with their values and approach to work. This is where your research in point one will come to bear.
3. Walk us through your CV?
Here recall your CV from memory and walk them through your bio, centering more on your work experience, skills, talents and attributes. Here the work you do in point x above will help.
4. What do you consider your strengths?
Here go all out to outline how you are a team player, expert in the area, and key strengths demonstrated in previous jobs. Again, preparation is key.
5. What do you consider your weaknesses?
A very tricky one eh, isn’t it? Select a theoretical weakness and then change it from a flaw into a strength in disguise! For example: “My biggest weakness is getting so absorbed in my work that I lose all track of time. Every day I look up and realize everyone has gone home! I know I should be more aware of the clock, but when I love what I’m doing I just can’t think of anything else.”
6. How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
Here be honest and refer to past conflicts and how you handled them. Your answer should demonstrate temperance, agreeableness and respect for procedure. When asked this question be calm and answer with tact but be prepared for follow up questions.
7. Do you have any questions for us?
Do you have any questions for us is a question that often gets asked. Be sure to prepare some answers for that. A good way to answer such a question is to think about actually having the job and asking questions around that like;
- What are some of the mistakes people have made in this position?
- What is the goal you currently working toward?
- What are the opportunities of career advancement in this organization?
- How will my performance be evaluated?
The key to interview success is preparation and practice. To practice you can work with friends, family or associates. It is not enough to prepare mentally open your mouth ask the question and answer it as you will do to an interview panel. Practice, practice and again practice your answers.
9. Grooming and dressing
Your dressing to an interview tells who you are. If your dressing is shabby and casual you are likely to turn off your hiring managers. Keep it neat, well-groomed hair, good color combination and keep your dressing formal. For men wearing is suit and a tie is preferred and ladies can also go for the ladies suit and keep your dressing serious and professional.
10. Know the venue of the interview
Finally, get to know your interview venue and get there at least one hour before time. Arriving before time will allow you to get relax and further express your hiring managers. Arriving early will allow you to impress the employees of the organization who may be asked to give feedback on you. Once you arrive at the premise note that your interview has started and you should start conducting yourself as such.
Now you have it, some final thoughts
- Know the organization.
- Master your CV or resume.
- Prepare a list of interview questions.
- Prepare answers to questions.
- Practice questions with friends or family.
- Arrive at interview venue early.
- Always send an email to hiring manager thanking them for the interview time or refer to some key things discussed in the interview.
- Finally note that in an interview you are selling a product i.e. you. It is key to make a lasting impression.
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