Preparing for an interview
RESEARCH the company, and why you want to work there
Google the company you’re interviewing for firstly. See if they have a page on Linkedin. Who works there … you might know someone there and be able to find out from them … “what makes them stay” Learn as much as you can about the company’s mission, objectives, goals, and future plans. If you’re asked why “us” your answer needs be something better than “because it closer to home”
Time – be on it!
This really is a no brainer, yet candidates underestimate this one. NB point time and time again. Do whatever it takes!!! Even traffic shouldn’t be an excuse. Barring an act of God there is no excuse. And God forbid … if you are running late, let the applicable people now about it!!!!! (your recruiter or the person you’re interviewing with)
Interview via Skype, Zoom etc
- Make sure you’re dressed smartly with no distractions in the background. (movements or sound)
- Your microphone needs to be clear (turn the volume up to max)
- Do a test with someone you know beforehand so that you know it’s working
- Make sure the lighting is good and sufficient. (dark dingy places creates a bad impression)
Again this is obvious, and easily forgotten. If you think you’re not going to remember, leave it in the car.
Dress in an appropriate manner
Ensure you go in there, clean, neat and smelling fresh. (you might think why put this it’s common sense, but common sense sometimes seems to fly out the window in stressful situations with some people. At least here …. It’s on the checklist) And please DO NOT put strong perfume or aftershave on just before you enter that door! Less is more in this instance. Of course there are jobs where “work wear” is jeans and a hard hat. Just take the hat off during the interview and ensure your hands are clean.
Social media and privacy issues
If you don’t think that I, or a potential employer are not going to Google you, or look you up on Facebook etc you’re sadly mistaken. I am giving you forewarning NOW.
When looking for another position / being on the job market ensure that all your privacy settings are to the MAX if you’re even doubting your social life’s “professional acceptability”
Do NOT give potential employers ammo to not want to interview you.
Rambling and babbling
When asked a question, answer it directly, thoroughly and concisely.
Don’t go off on a tangent or give away any information not asked. If the interviewee feels they need more clarity they will ask more questions. Your answer needs to directly reflect the questions being asked, and any relevant experience you’ve had relating to the question should be mentioned too. No story telling though.
Only divulge information that is being asked. Less is more here!
Also if you’re unsure about a question that has been asked, repeat it back in a different way to ensure you understood what was bring asked.
Highlight your strengths, turn negatives into positives
This is the most overlooked area. You need to be able to explain what you can bring to the company you’re interviewing with. Know your strengths and abilities and explain them.
Your negatives can be seen as positives, depending on how you convey them. So, think about that long and hard before the interview. eg I’m a perfectionist. My work is done correctly every time, even if I have to put in extra hours to ensure completion. (you’re indicating that you’ll do what is required to deliver, and not miss potential deadlines because you’re caught up in doing it “just right”)
Although this is common sense, I need to state it. Don’t go there! Ever!
NEVER EVER EVER NEVER bad mouth a previous boss / colleague (hope my point is made here)
This is a disaster no matter what. A major negative that no matter how true will seal your fate. Believe me. Not ONE candidate that has ever not followed my advice on this (yes it happens…) has nailed the interview.
Remember the interviewee doesn’t know your previous / current boss / colleague, you will be viewed as having a negative attitude, even a possible trouble maker. When you start bad mouthing someone there is never a right answer if questioned around this subject, only a wrong one so DON’T GO THERE.
If you start twirling your hair, rubbing your chin, constantly touching your face, or anything else along these lines… it’ll make you come across as though you’re either lacking confidence or lying. Both are not good assumptions.
Again, stating the obvious, but this happens way more often than you actually think. Looking around and not engaging with a person makes you appear disinterested.
Goals and accomplishments – have them!
Even if you’re not sure where you’d like to be in a couple of years, figure out something to say (or ask me!) If asked and you don’t have anything to say you’ll come across as lazy, or lacking ambition. NEVER say … I want your job! Just don’t do that!
An accomplishment can even be something that you’ve had to overcome, or has had a positive outcome. Discuss what you’ve learned from it, if it’s been a failure you’re talking about. Talking about something you’ve accomplished whether professionally or personally needs to be concise and to the point though.
Whether it be for a specific industry or your particular job function. You need to express your enthusiasm and what you do to further your knowledge (books, blogs you read). The more intelligent or informed you come across the more impressive you’ll look.
At the end of the job interview make sure you have some questions to ask, that are PERTINENT to the job. If the interviewer doesn’t offer you a chance, ask to ask. Again, it reinforces your strong interest in the job.
There you have it!
And just remember … no need to be nervous! You’re going to have a discussion around a potential job you could be doing. The job was never yours to begin with, so you technically have nothing to loose.