The job interview is the most important part of the job search process; it can also be the most daunting. The fact that you were requested for a job interview is very encouraging and suggests that the employer has seen something in the Curriculum Vitae that he/she likes. However, it’s not all one sided. This process will help you determine whether you like the job as well, and to see whether the job is a good “fit” for both parties. The interview is giving you a chance to convince the employer that you are the best person for the job. The goal of the job interview is to show the employer that you have the background, skills, and ability to do the job and that you can successfully fit into the organisation and its cultures. Employers do not usually hire on merits alone, they will look for an individual who is confident, enthusiastic plus positive and an effective communicator. Showing these qualities are all vital to the job interview process, so be prepared. The job interview is a communication process, if you can impress your employer with your communication skills, experiences, and interests then there is a good chance that the employer will remember you. It is important that you can show the employer how you can be an asset to the company. Below are some job interview tips for you. But don’t forget, preparation is the key, remember you can never prepare enough.
- Don’t be late. There is no worse way to begin an interview
- First impression counts. You should dress suitably. Wear your best work suit or outfit. The things to remember are cleanliness, simplicity and no strong or bright colours. Do not chew gum or smoke.
- Listen carefully. There is nothing worse than to ask a question that the employer has already talked to you about. You will want to remember what you learn about the job, and you will want to answer the questions that were asked.
- Be yourself. Speak clearly and enthusiastically about your experiences and skills. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
- Do your research. This can be done in many ways. You can request information personally, or go to the company’s website for material about job descriptions and company reports.
- Be positive. Don’t talk about your bad feelings or give any excuses about a negative experience. If you are asked why your grades are low, then don’t give excuses, instead, focus on stating the positive facts and what you have learnt from your experiences.
- Be poised. Pay attention to non-verbal behaviour. Look the interviewer in the eyes sit up straight with both feet on the floor. You should also control nervous habits such as fingernail biting and giggling.
- Practice makes perfect. Make sure you rehearse your interview go through your questions and answers before the interview.
To help you with your interview we have listed 10 popular interview questions.
- “Tell me about yourself?” This is not an invitation to ramble on. If the context isn’t clear, you need to know more about the question before giving an answer. In such a situation, you could ask, “Is there a particular aspect of my background that you would like more information on?” This will enable the interviewer to help you find the appropriate focus and avoid discussing irrelevancies. This isn’t a question that you can answer effectively off the cuff. Take some time in advance to think about yourself and those aspects of your personality and/or background that you’d like to promote or feature for your interviewer.
- “Why do you want to work here?” To answer this question, you will need to have researched the company. Reply with the company’s attributes as you see them. Answer with reference to your belief that the company can provide you with the career development you are looking for or the company has the reputation that you want to be associated with.
- Why should I hire you? Your answer should be short and to the point. You should highlight the areas from your background that relate to the companies Finish your answer with: “I have the qualifications and skills you need, I’m a team player, I take direction, and I have the desire to make a success of whatever I do.”
- “What did you like/dislike about your last job?” The interviewer is looking for incompatibilities. So answer, you liked everything about your last job. You might even say your company taught you the importance of certain keys from the business, achievement, or professional profile. Criticising a prior employer is a warning flag that you could be a problem employee. No one intentionally hires trouble, and that’s what’s behind the question. Keep your answer short and positive. You might continue with, “I really liked everything about the job. The reason I want to leave it is to find a position where I can make a greater contribution. You see, I work for a large company that encourages specialisation of skills. The smaller environment you have here will, allow me to contribute far more in different areas.” Tell them what they want to hear. Of course, if you interview with a large company, turn it around. “I work for a small company and don’t get the time to specialise in one or two major areas.
- “What would you like to be doing five years from now?” The safest answer would be a desire to be regarded as a true professional and team player for the organisation you are at. Also you can state to be hopefully acknowledged for your skills and promoted into more senior and challenging role over the coming years.
- “Can you work under pressure?” You might be tempted to give a simple “yes” or “no” answer, but don’t. It reveals nothing, and you lose the opportunity to sell your skills and value profiles. Actually, this common question often comes from an unskilled interviewer, because it is closed-ended. As such, the question does not give you the chance to elaborate. Whenever you are asked a closed-ended question, mentally add: “Please give me a brief yet comprehensive answer.” Do that, and you will give the information requested and seize an opportunity to sell yourself. For example, you could say: “Yes, I usually find it stimulating. However, I believe in planning and proper management of my time to reduce panic deadlines within my area of responsibility.”
- “What are your biggest accomplishments?” Keep your answers job related. You may want to begin your reply with: “Although I feel my biggest achievements are still ahead of me, I am proud of my involvement with . . . I made my contribution as part of that team and learned a lot in the process. We did it with lots of hard work, concentration and a focus on commercial impact.”
- “How do you take direction?” The interviewer wants to know whether you are open – minded and can be a team player. Can you follow directions or are you a difficult, high-maintenance employee? Hopefully, you are a low-maintenance professional who is motivated to ask clarifying questions about a project before beginning, and who then gets on with the job at hand.
- “Do you prefer working with others or alone?” This question is usually used to determine whether you are a team player. Before answering, however, be sure you know whether the job requires you to work alone – then answer appropriately. Perhaps: “I’m quite happy working alone when needed. I don’t need much constant reassurance. But I prefer to work in a group–so much more gets achieved when people pull together.”
- “What is the most difficult situation you have faced?” The question looks for information on two fronts: How do you define difficult? and, how you handled the situation?
Difficult to answer questions
- Did you ever have a group leader or boss you disliked? Why did you dislike him/her?
- How would someone who dislikes you describe you?
- Talk about a group situation in which there were problems. How did you handle the situation and what was the outcome? What role did you play in the group? How could the group improve its performance?
- Tell me about a time when you experienced a failure and how you reacted to it.
- Tell me about a time when you were under considerable pressure to meet one or more goals.
- Describe a situation where you had to resolve a problem at work and explain how you resolved it.
- Give me an example of how you are a risk taker.
- If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
- What motivates you?
- Why do you want to work for us and not for our competitor?
- Why should we hire you over everyone else we spoke to today?
- How do you go about deciding what to do first when given a project?
- Describe a situation where you did not agree with something your boss asked you to do and how you resolved the problem.
- Can you work under pressure?
- What did you like/dislike about your last job?
- What would you like to be doing five years from now?