How to be good at interviews:
I’m having next Wednesday my first professional interview (eeeeek) so I decided to share the research I’m doing. I googled all of this and chose the information I found most important, and organized it. I truly hope it’s helpful for someone out there :)
PLAN AND PRACTICE:
- always do your homework: learn about the organization, its ideas and story
- don’t necessarily memorize responses, but try to have a planned general strategy for answering common interview questions
- practice in front of the mirror
- be ready to briefly describe related experience
- compare your qualifications to what the organization wants from you
COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
- “What’s your biggest weakness?” Think of a genuine issue you have as well as ways you have managed to work with/around it.
- “What’s your biggest strengths?” Stand out from the crowd and don’t be afraid to speak about your strengths in an authentic and compelling way. See if your strengths align with the company’s needs.
Why do you want this job?”/ “Why should we hire you?”
Stay focused on why your background makes you an ideal candidate and tell them how you are going to contribute to that department and that company.
- “Tell me about yourself.” Don’t tell them your life story, instead discuss what your interests are relating to the job and why your background makes you a great candidate.
- “Why did you leave your last job/position/school?” Do not go into details about your dissatisfaction, tell them that while you valued the experience and education you received, you felt that the time had come to seek outo a new opportunity, expand your skills and knowledge, and to find a company with wich you could grow. Try to put a positive spin on things. Be honest if you were fired but don’t trash your previous boss.
- “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Be honest about what your greater aspirations are.
And much much much more (from your behaviour to work experiences, education, interests and motivation or problems and challeges you’ve faced previously), I would encourage you to try to write down some topics for each questions that work for you. Being prepared is everything.
THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW:
- sleep and eat well so you look rested and healthy on the big day
- give yourself time to calm down/meditate/relax
- don’t noodle around on your phone or electronic device while waiting - it may communicate boredom and frivolousness, maybe stick your notebook/notes
What to wear: normally it’s best to dress neutral, professionally/formal, not overly fashionable or trendy, and brightly colored clothing is bad. Make sure your clothes are neat and wrinkle free, and make sure your image is very clean and neat.
What to bring: if revelant, extra copies of your resume on quality paper, a notepad or professional binder and pen, information you might need to complete an application.
- make eye contact
- show courtesy to everyone during the interview, this means everyone from the reception staff to the interviewer herself
- have good posture
- avoid fidgeting too much or playing with your hair/touching face
- have a good handshake
- don’t cross your arms over your chest
- walk, act, talk with confidence
- be comfortable and relaxed
- choose the words you say
- don’t place stuff on their desk
- manage your reactions - facial and body expressions give clues on how you feel: project a positive image
- show interest and enthusiasm
- show warmth and personality - being personable is about getting the interviewer’s emotional side to like you and believe in you
- don’t lie to make it seem like you know something you don’t. You probably won’t fool your interviewer, and admitting to not know something is much more impressive than lying
- be honest
- keep things simple and short, talk in 30-90 second chunks. Any less and you’re likely to seem unqualified; any more and your interviewer is likely to lose interest in what you’re saying
THINK OF QUESTIONS TO ASK: participating actively during the interview gives a good impression of your level of interest in the job. Most of times it is more adequeate to ask in the end of the interview. But I feel like you really need to make sure your questions are adequate. Examples:
- “What types of training opportunities do you offer?”
- “What are the chances for professional growth in this job opportunity?”
- “Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?”
- ALWAYS ask the “ When can I expect to hear back from you about the position?” question if the interviewer does not tell you.
Good questions are open-ended, and thus cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Better questions are behavioral: they ask how things are done or have happened in the past, because current and past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW:
- shake hands with the interviewer - try to invest some feeling into the handshake and pleasantries, even if you think you bombed the interview
- hold your head high and keep your cool
- your emotions are probably teetering at the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, but try to stay measured
- project a cool confidence, not cockiness, and walk out of the interview with your head held high
SOMETHING TO ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND:
- when you know in your heart and your gut that you bring to the table something just as valuable as a paycheck and maybe much more – your tremendous experience, intellect and instinct – you’ll carry yourself differently. You won’t trip over your words in an effort to please His Majesty or Her Highness, because you’ll see yourself and the interviewer as equals on a level playing field.
- you are valuable and unique. You have something very special in you and you deserve to be given a chance. good luck!