How should I best prepare for job interviews?
I am wondering what advice there is for being successful during interviews? How can I be prepared? How should I dress? What else can I do to impiorve my chances of getting a job? #management #human-resources
Just to add to Simon's response.......
Start thinking about your new job/interview from the employers perspective: As an employer, I'm thinking along these lines.....So you want to work at my company. That’s great because I need people who are going to help us design, build and sell my products and services. I offer money, benefits, and opportunities for advancement, education and security too. So what are you offering me in exchange for these things? Now some people are, in reality, offering to simply trade their time for money…they may, “need a job”, “want to work” or “need the money” and from my perspective…..I may need to hire some of these people to get the product or service out the door. ……But the people I really want (and need) are different…. let me tell you who they are. The people I really want are those who are passionate about their work and are going to be the future of my company. They have done their homework and know what we do, how we do it and where we’re going. They want to be involved in moving the company forward and create the innovations and efficiencies that will increase our profitability,market share, and lower our costs. They are the people who consistently perform, help others and want to learn about everything that makes this company work. They know that every position in this company is important to make it run smoothly and efficiently – from the people who sweep the floors to create at safe environment to keep our injury rate (and insurance costs) low, to the people who design the high quality, reliable products we manufacture and sell. They know it’s a team sport and everyone has to play to make it function. They value and respect each of us who plays a part.
While not all companies share these attribute, it really does make a difference if you are not, cannot or are unwilling to fit into the work environment where you are seeking employment. So do your research. You’ll be glad you did.
Your resume. If you’re just starting out it’s going to be short and it’s generally the first thing someone see’s that describes you. You are selling yourself and your skills. If you want to be treated professionally, insure this document is properly prepared, spell and grammar checked, and showcases your best traits, abilities and experience. Many companies now use software to go through many resumes looking for key word or phrases to screen candidates. If you’re writing a resume in pencil on a piece of notebook paper don’t expect to be taken seriously. There are lots of templates; guidance and boilerplate out there…..make sure you’re proud of the product you produced. It makes an employer think you’re a serious applicant.
If you’re trying for employment with a large company you might want to research how they do their screening. Maybe find someone who works for them. Read their Annual Report to see how your skills may fit in (or not) to their future plans. Explore the internet to see what kind of people are working there. If you can build your resume in a way which shows that your interests are aligned with what the work you want and what company does, better yet.
The interview. Most people, except the owners son or daughter, are going to have one prior to being hired. So just a few notes….BEFORE you go into the interview have several people do practice interviews with you so that you have some time to consider the best way to answer questions. Most people who interview people will be pleased that you asked them to do this. They also may offer you valuable feedback on how you did and how you might improve your performance. Practice answering questions concisely and professionally. This is not the time to lay back in the chair and get all comfy…..sit up straight, listen carefully to what the interviewer says and most importantly…..answer the question. It also helps to carry on a conversation with someone just prior to the interview….this really helps to get comfortable talking about yourself before you start the interview. I have mixed feelings about taking notes.....I have interviewed people who I thought were more intent on taking notes than answering my questions. It can be a distraction so be careful to balance listening, answering and note taking.
Sometime before the interview, stop by the company in the morning when people are going to work and see what they are wearing. If everyone is in a suit…dress accordingly. To me, business casual (slacks and shirt) would be absolute minimal.
And have a question or two to ask your interviewer. If you've done your research, it will show. I once interviewed for a job at a research Lab. I knew they had just announced a new project and one of my questions was , Would this position have opportunities to be involved with that new project? Refrain from “If I was hurt my first day would your insurance cover me?” or “when can I expect to get the job I really want?” Those are real questions asked during actual interviews. Be prepared and ask the question that best showcases you…...Good luck!
Besides al the standard things like dressing appropriately, being on time, well rested, not playing with your hair or hands, having done your research about the company etc. I would say that your number 1 priority in a job interview is to make sure you help the interviewer find out who you really are. Their job is never about finding "the best" person, it is about finding the one with the best fit for the job. So if you try to come off different from the real you, chances are you are getting hired in a job you really wouldn't like. Show your passion, show your areas of interest, ask relevant questions and show your knowledge. Answering "I don't know" is ok and far far better than trying to fake an answer. But do keep it professional. They are not looking for your life story :)
I would also remind you that companies hire people, not educations, so try not to put too much focus on the education it self. Rather, give examples of situations where you really learned something, overcame a challenge, made a deadline, solved a tricky team situation and more to show what you have learned and how it has effected you.
I hope these few words can be of help. Wishing you all the best of luck.
Preparation. Preparation, preparation....
Fully understand the position.
Learn about the company you are interviewing for.
Be ready with some questions regarding the job.
If possible, be prepared to show examples of your work.
Bring something to take notes.
You will find that when you are prepared, you are less nervous and appear more confident.
Make sure you get a good night sleep before the interview. You want be feel refreshed and energized during the actual interview. this can really help as your interviews will be forming impression of you as you respond their questions. Have a short list of questions that you would like to know about the company. Many times, interviewers will ask if you have any questions before they conclude the interview process.
Lastly, do not be afraid to inject a little humor into the interview if you can! Pleas keep mind that people tend to remember experiences and people if they associate them with pleasant experiences.
Get your stories straight and become comfortable telling your stories. For example, if you are asked, "Tell me about a time when you worked on a team where not everyone got along." You should have a story that demonstrates how you dealt with the situation in a professional manner. Think of S.O.A.R. --> Situation Obstacle, Action and Result. Describe the situation, identify the obstacle, the actions you took to overcome the obstacle and the end result. You can use SOAR for most questions.
Also, it is an excellent idea, as Don suggests, to have a question or two when you're asked, at the end of the interview, "Do you have any questions?" One that can work in most cases is, "How will my success be measured in this role?"