Don’t miss the best job opportunities – Preparing for the interview
Part V – Preparing for the interview
In the 5th part of our series, we will cover important points on preparing for the interview. During your search for the best job opportunities, there will be times when you will be shortlisted by the recruiter for an interview. Since preparing for the interview is an important step that will make sure you get your dream job, you must not leave this meeting to chance.
Let me share from my most recent experience. For the last couple of years, I have slightly amended my recruitment process for the convenience of candidates. After I shortlisted the profiles based on the resume then I have a 10-minute phone call with them. We did this since our organisation was new and we thought it was better to give an overview of our business. This call acted like a preliminary interview and saved valuable time for both the candidate and us. We were particular to seek those applicants who did not have to commute more than 30-40 minutes one way to reach our office.
The important lesson here is that you can get a call from a prospective employer at any time. Will you prepare for the interview after you are intimated, or will you be ready before?
Due to covid19, all interviews are conducted online so I have also covered some tips for successful online interviews towards the end of this article.
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How to prepare for the interview
Analyse the job description
While preparing for the interview, understand how the roles and responsibilities in the job description help the organisation achieve its objectives. Further, picturize yourself in the position and how you will undertake and fulfill the role. This will increase your confidence and prepare you mentally for the interview. Your thoughts at this time are important as it will help in the rest of the preparations.
Research on the company
I have made job offers to applicants at their first interview. While some candidates who had researched the company were quick to accept, some admitted that they had other companies that they were waiting to hear from.
I ask you to go all out when you are researching your prospective employer since this is a major career decision which you will make. Visit the company website, read their vision, browse through their products, get information on their size and network. Additionally, use your network to reach out and connect with present and past employees of the company. Use Google, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc to find as much information on your prospective employer.
Prepare your answers
You may have attended a few interviews already and maybe you are familiar with the standard questions. On the other hand, you never needed to apply for a job or go for an interview until covid19 struck and left you jobless. In this case, you need to prepare a little more for the probable questions from the recruiter.
Prepare your answers for common questions like:
- Tell me about yourself?
- Why are you interested in this role and the company?
- Describe your responsibilities at your previous company
- What were your top achievements in your career?
- What are your salary expectations? Why?
Though your resume may contain some information related to these questions, the recruiter will be looking for more descriptive answers whenever you meet them.
Once you prepare your answers for the above, and some more similar questions, you must practise them. You can rehearse by speaking in front of a mirror or a camera. Work on your expressions and body language during your practice sessions as an important part of preparing for the interview
Prepare your questions
When you did your research on the company, a few queries would have come to your mind. Use these to prepare questions that you would like to ask your employer during the interview. Add in questions related to the job description.
You can include questions like the below and anything similar that comes to your mind
- Suppose I am selected for the post and accept the offer, whom will I report to?
- What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
- By when should I expect to hear if I am qualified for the next step?
- By when do you need this position to be filled up?
- Will I be expected to travel during this job? How frequently?
- What are the standard benefits and perks apart from the salary offered?
- Is there a probationary period? How long will that be?
Tip: Review your resume to remind yourself of your journey and achievements. When you answer questions on them, highlight the skills you used and the learning you gained from these experiences.
How to prepare for online interviews
Online interviews are not new and were held even before covid19. In fact, and mostly used when recruiters or some of the decision-makers were located at other locations. There is no difference in the interaction during a face to face interview vs an online interview, but here are some additional points to follow before an online interview.
- Thoroughly check your equipment and download the meeting software well in advance. Preferably use a desktop or laptop or a tab. Avoid using a phone if possible.
- Adjust the camera so your face and shoulders are visible. You must always look straight into the camera during the meeting.
- Always use earphones so you can hear clearly, and the recruiter can be spared from hearing any background noises.
- Check your setting especially where you will sit. Use a chair (no sofa). Have a plain background, preferably light so they focus on your face. Ensure sufficient lighting so that you can be seen clearly.
- Dress appropriately as you would if you are meeting them in their office.
- Ensure there are no distractions during your interview. Inform your family so they take care of this and stop any interference. You need to focus on the meeting.
- Be ready at least 5 minutes before the appointment time. Do not wait until the last minute.
- Keep enough drinking water near you.
- Use a cheat sheet! Prepare a single sheet of queries and questions that you wish to ask. Keep this sheet at a place where you can view easily without turning away from the camera
If you have applied to different companies, you will be able to list the preference for each vacancy and decide which one to accept if you get more than 1 job offer. For this reason, preparing for the interview is an important part of your hunt for the best job opportunities.
I hope you found this article to be useful. Remember, a job interview is a meeting which helps both sides to decide whether they are the right match for each other.