You applied for a job and you received a call for an interview. Congratulations!
The next important step is to prepare for it. If this is your first interview, you sure are nervous.
You’ve listed the common interview questions. You’ve made a mental note of the appropriate responses to these questions. You’ve laid out the clothes you are going to wear.
Is that enough? Not really!
They say nailing an interview gets easier with experience. Nevertheless, preparing well and in advance is always the key.
So, whether you are applying for an entry or senior-level position, here is a list of 10 tips to ace your next job interview.
1. Re-Read the Job Description
Begin your interview prep with a thorough reading of the job description.
Most of us have read the job post when submitting an application against a vacancy. But we forget about it after that.
The job description is a detailed brief on what an organisation or employer expects of a prospective employee should they be selected. It lists the qualifications, the required technical and soft skills as well as desirable personality traits. Always pick up the keywords and use them effectively.
2. Do a SWOT Analysis
At an interview, your goal should be to prove why you are the best fit for a job. However, it is unlikely that you will match all the job requirements.
A good interview preparation tip is to undertake a self-analysis. Think of the behavioural traits, skills or professional training that you could list as your strengths. You can include them in your response if asked why you are the best fit for the job. Supporting them with a past experience or achievement always makes it sound credible.
What is your biggest weakness - This is a classic interview question. How do you answer it? Think of the one thing you struggle with. Mention it as your weakness, but discuss how you are working to overcome it.3. Know the Target Company
Take time to research the company or organisation you will be interviewing with.
Memorise the names of the founders, read up on their history, their growth timeline, their vision and core values. Study the products or services they offer.
Employers want to know how you would add value to their company. It could be difficult to answer if you do not know what the organisation or job role is about.
The best place to start is the company website. Next, look up the recent news to get information on the company’s accomplishments, collaborations or latest projects. The company’s social media pages are another great place to study the company.
Detailed and thoroughly researched answers always leave a positive impact on any hiring manager.
4. Learn about Interviewers
For some interviews, you will be given the names of the people you will be interacting with.
As part of your interview prep, you should do a little research into their background too. Visit professional profiles on LinkedIn. Check their specialisms, qualifications and certifications. It will give you tips on how to approach and impress the different experts on the panel.
5. Interview Formats
The type of interview is different in every company. It could be in the oral or written format. Even within these categories, an oral interview could be one-on-one or a panel interview. Candidates could be judged based on a group discussion too.
Prepare for different types of interviews if you want to do your best.
6. Dress Professionally
A thumb rule is to wear formal clothing to an interview. You can never go wrong with a well-tailored suit for men and women.
Ensure your clothes fit well; it shouldn’t be oversized or a size too small. Check that your necklines aren’t too deep. Comb your hair back neatly. Wear polished shoes. Cut your nails.
What you wear to an interview might also depend on the company’s culture. For instance, a fashion, makeup or advertising industry might allow less formal-more casual dressing.
You can call the company in advance to check if they have a specific dress code. You should also dress for the role you are applying for. You want to make sure you are conveying the right attitude.7. Assess your Non-verbal Communication
The fear and anxiety of an interview might make you mess up your non-verbal communication. You get fidgety, start sweating, or might sway if standing.
Your body language should communicate confidence, but not aggression. If welcome, offer your hand for a handshake - a firm one. Maintain eye contact with everyone on the interview panel. Do not sit with your legs crossed or back slouched. Sit straight, but not too stiff.
It is hard to predict the exact questions you might be asked at an interview. But there are some that are common to most interviews. Use the internet to draw up a list of these questions. Think about how you would answer these questions.
Avoid giving a general or vague answer. Frame your responses such that they align with the company’s goals or your qualifications.
Practise answering these questions aloud. If you have a close friend who can help you, do a mock interview with them. Ask them to check the tone of your responses. You want to come across as confident, not cocky, proud and aggressive.
In addition to these questions, think of situation-based questions related to your field or job role. Interviewers often test candidates based on how they would respond to specific events or crises.
9. Your Questions
You may or may not be given a chance to ask questions at the end of the interview. Nevertheless, you can always have a few ready with you.
Ensure they are valid and sensible. Your questions should not portray you as an oversmart person trying to show off your knowledge.
10. Interview Follow Up
Should you follow up after an interview? Yes. But do not push it.
Sending a thank you email after an interview is a good gesture to start with. Wait for a week after the interview. If you do not receive a response, you can always send a polite email asking for the status of the interview/ application.
To conclude, get into the right frame of mind for your interview. Get a good night’s sleep the day before the interview. Try to reach the venue before time to avoid being hassled.