The third stage in the job hunting process is the one most likely to strike fear into the bravest of people; the interview.
The interview is daunting. Often you will be led into a room and be given up to an hour to convince the panel across the table that you are the best candidate for the job. Believe me when I tell you that the panel members are just as nervous as they have big decisions to make.
Fresh off another interview today, as I chase a new challenge, I would like you to understand that interviews don’t have to be so scary. Firstly, you have beaten a large number of applicants in order to be shortlisted. Wahoo!!! You are one of the chosen few and have one foot in the door. Moreover, the power is actually in your hands. If you really want the job, PREPARE for it.
It is unbelievable how poorly prepared some candidates are. It is a very nervy time, but the mere act of doing some research is sure to build your confidence. Below, i’d like to share a few tips on how best to practice for your interview, the kind of questions to expect and what to ask when it’s your turn.
Before your interview;
- Research the company itself. You will almost certainly be asked what you know about the organisation and why you want to work there.
- Research the location and how you will get there. On the day, you need to be there at least 15 minutes early. There is nothing worse than turning up late, sweaty and out of breath.
- Make sure that your clothes are cleaned and your shoes are shined. After all, if you look good, you feel good.
Now you need to prepare for the interview itself. An increasing amount of interview panels will ask you;
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How would you colleagues describe you?
- Describe a time when you worked as part of a team to solve a problem.
- What are your strategies for dealing with heavy workloads and conflicting deadlines?/ How do you work under pressure?
- Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time?
Being prepared will help you to address these, or similar questions calmly and confidently. Once you have answered all of the panel members’ questions, you will have the opportunity to ask your own. Here are a few of my favourites;
- What are the most significant factors currently affecting the organisation?
- What is the culture like?
- Why is this position available?
- Is there anything which i’ve said which makes you doubt my suitability for the role?
If you only pick one of the above to ask, i’d strongly advise being bold enough to ask the final question. It shows confidence, but it will also provide the opportunity to get some valuable feedback from the panel. Not all panels will provide feedback when they make contact to inform you of the outcome, so in this way, you ensure that you get some at the end of the interview itself.
Interviews are not as big and scary as they seem, IF YOU PREPARE. Don’t sit back and leave it to chance. Do your research and prepare for the typical questions which you will likely face. This will calm your nerves and help you to give the best possible account of yourself.