Applying to a job
Applying to a job
Preparing for an interview
You can’t predict the outcome of an interview but you can influence it. When preparing for an interview, try to come up with questions you’re likely to be asked during the interview. Also think about the answers to these questions so that you won’t be surprised during your interview. You should be able to answer the inevitable ‘why’ question without hesitation, for instance. Of course you’ve thought about why you’re interested in the job; the example questions below can help you finetune your answers.
Why did you stop working for your last employer?
Why do you think you’re the right person for the job?
Why are you interested in this position?
What are our strong and weak characteristics?
What are your ambitions for the future?
Do you prefer working independently or in a team?
Do you have a notice period?
What is your salary indication?
Tips for preparing for your interview
- Think of some questions you would like to ask your interviewer.
- Visit the company’s website.
- Bring two copies of your CV; one for your interviewer and one for yourself. This way you’ll have your own copy to reference in case you get a little lost during the interview.
- Make sure to dress accordingly. Even if the company adheres to an informal dress code; the way you dress is just as important of a communication tool as the things you say.
- Make sure you’re well rested.
- Research where you need to be and how long it will take you to get there; also take traffic into account.
- Make sure to have your Kelly contact’s phone number with you in case of any questions and/or calamities.
- Think of the accomplishment(s) you’re most proud of.
- Be sure to give specific examples when asked to name your strong/weak characteristics and ways you could improve upon these. For instance, providing practical examples which illustrate how you adapt your skillset to your work, shows the ability to reflect on your proficiencies which is something employers look for.
- Google the STAR interview technique for further information as this is a widely used technique many employers will be aware of.
- Employers find it very important that candidates are able to reflect on their personal and professional conduct. Prepare by thinking of an answer to questions like ‘What would you have done differently in X situation?’
- Look up your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile before the interview. This way you’ll have a good understanding of who will be sitting opposite you and you’ll be able to prepare questions of your own (on their career for instance).
- If you feel more comfortable knowing someone is waiting for you outside the interview, try to arrange for someone to go with you.
The job interview
First impressions are lasting so make sure you give a good one! Research has shown that most employers link the way a candidate presents him or herself to the way they will function while performing their job; don’t give them the opportunity to doubt you by following the do’s and dont’s below.
- Be yourself. Don’t try and come across as someone you’re not. Focus on your strong points, be positive about your weaker characteristics and be humble!
- Try not to simply list your past experiences such as your education and jobs; that’s what your CV is for. Instead, try to incorporate them in your own story; who are you as a person and how have your past experiences influenced you personally and professionally? Doing it this way, you’ll be able to organically incorporate your experiences in your own story while linking them to your strong suits at the same time.
- Try to take on a relaxed posture and alternate making eye contact with all interviewers. Do not let your gaze wonder as this comes across as disinterested.
- Stay positive. Even if you’ve had less than ideal experiences; name what you’ve learnt from them rather than being negative.
- Try and answer each question to the best of your ability; don’t be afraid to ask for clarification in case of doubt. The only dumb questions are the ones you don’t ask!
- First impressions are lasting so be sure to keep this in mind. Don’t wear extreme make-up and go easy on the aftershave/perfume; take a mint if you’ve just smoked.
- Don’t sit down straight away; wait until you’re offered a seat.
- Do not cross your arms as this closes your posture and can be interpreted as disinterest. Rather, fold your hands so that you’ll be less likely to make restless/nervous gestures.
- Do not answer questions strictly with ‘yes’ or ‘no’; explain your answers in a clear and concise manner.
- Do not speak negatively about your past employer(s). If it didn’t work out due to there not being a ‘click’, every interviewer/conversational partner will understand this.