Ever since I was younger, and I interviewed for my first job, I’ve hated interviews. I sucked at answering questions and selling myself. Being asked about my skills and myself didn’t feel like an opportunity to sell myself and secure the job, more like an uncomfortable need to sound bigheaded and tell people how amazing I am, even if I didn’t think that way. My interview experiences weren’t great and almost never have I felt satisfied with them. Getting a few simple jobs here and there, where interviews didn’t seem to matter as much as the skills on the resume, got me by in my teen years.
That situation changed in recent years. After graduating college, like any other recent grad, I started looking for a job in a field that I studied. And that’s when interviews started to feel important. Resume will get you the interview, but an interview will get you the job. All of the sudden the value of an interview skyrocketed. Knowing that I wasn’t great at interviewing, I started researching tips, sample answers and ways to talk and present myself in interviews. I started going to interviews for jobs I didn’t even want, all to get the much-needed experience of answering someone’s questions and at the same time impressing them. I’ve learned a lot from my experiences and research!
More recently, to my surprise, I have been asked to interview people for open positions in my company. And what experience has this been for me. I thought I understood the key interviewing techniques and ways of impressing people in interviews. Boy was I wrong! Having to interview people gave me a totally different perspective of what interviewers are looking for. I thought I knew a lot, well, I know even more now! This is why I decided to share some of my newly gained knowledge with you. If you’re looking to secure a new position or you’re interviewing for your dream job, these easy tips below can help you make the most out of your interview!
Before you get on the phone with a recruitment manager or go in for your in-person interview, make sure you research the company. They are going to want to know what makes you interested in working for their organization. Don’t take this question for granted, having knowledge about company’s mission and values can help you better sell yourself to the employer. Employers often want to know how much you researched their company to determine if the candidate is truly interested or if they were just another ‘Quick Apply’ on Glassdoor. Make sure you know what a company stands for and what their mission is. Becoming a candidate who is aligned with the mission and the vision of a company shows that you live by the same values. If your missions and values integrate, it shows you’re a great match for the company as you care about the same outcomes.
On the other hand, researching a company can help you figure how interested you actually are. While doing your research you might come across some values that you don’t actually believe in, in fact, you might actually oppose these values. It’s useful to know what it is going to be expected of you in a workplace and what kind of culture the company holds. After all, the company has to be as much of a sell to you as you are to them! If you are going to commit long hours, your energy and effort, you want to make sure you’re doing something that’s meaningful to you. In a long run, it will help your drive and commitment.
Before any interview, you should anticipate the question the interviewer is going to ask you. Preparing your answers in advance will help you feel less stressed and more prepared when interviewing. Although you will probably not anticipate the questions 100% correct, however, pre-prepared answers will give you an idea of the content you want to talk about. You might even be able to adjust your answers to fit the questions you’re asked.
To help you prepare for your interview there are certain resources you can use. One of them is Glassdoor and their company interview section. You can use it to find out about previous candidates’ experiences and the kind of questions they were asked in their interviews. It’s a great tool that can help you prepare some answers up front before your interview. Even a quick browse through the company page can give you signs of the intensity of the interview and the over process and expectations of candidates.
Depending on the kind of a position you’re applying for, questions you will be asked in the interview will vary (duh!). However, some questions you will be asked will be standard questions asked in pretty much every interview. These are the questions that you HAVE to be prepared for. Failing to answer them, can get your interview off on the wrong foot and make you seem unprepared. According to Monster.com, these are the most common interview questions:
1. What can you tell me about yourself?
2. Can you list your strengths?
3. What weaknesses do you have?
4. Why should I consider hiring you?
5. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
6. Why do you want to work here?
7. What is your salary expectation?
8. What motivates you?
9. What makes a good team player?
10.Is there anything that you would like to ask me?
At the very least, make sure you’re prepared for those questions!
The structure for answering questions is pretty simple, yet very often overlooked by the candidates. When you’re asked a question by the interviewer, you don’t just want to answer with an empty statement. They aren’t interested in shallow claims. Instead, you need to answer in depth, allow the interviewer to learn about you (but, don’t give away more than you’re asked for!). When answering, you should address the question, reflect on your answer and show how the situation impacted your experience (what you learned and how you can apply it in the future).
Displaying a growth mindset by reflecting on your experiences, shows the interviewer that your experiences aren’t just experiences, but your taken opportunities to grow and develop as a professional. Many companies now look for people who are coachable and strive to develop. Companies are more likely to invest in such people, knowing that their growth will help the company grow.
This is your opportunity to flip the coin and put the interviewer on the spot. There are a few reasons you should absolutely ask questions.
1. It’s your chance to find out more about the company you’re applying for, their culture and their expectations for you and themselves. You’re asking the interviewer to sell the company to you, just like they asked you to sell yourself to them.
2. You can assess development opportunities for your career. How likely is it that your commitment will help your way up the ladder? Are they just looking to fill one role, or are they looking for someone to fill a role, become a leader and grow in the ranks?
3. Putting interviewers on the spot and asking in-depth questions, will also display your interest in the company. Asking in-depth questions can help you impress interviewers with your knowledge and interest in the company.
4. It allows you to get some personal insights from interviewers themselves. Asking questions about ‘their experiences’ and ‘what they like and dislike about the company’ can give you an idea of the company’s culture and morale.
You should always thank interviewers for their time. It’s polite and a great way to finish an interview. Expressing appreciation for the opportunity shows how much you value their time that gave you a chance to sell yourself and find out more about the company.
These tips will help you make the most of your interview. They won’t guarantee you the job but will help you impress the interviewer. Displaying your knowledge, curiosity, and interest in the position and company you’re interviewing for can seriously elevate your chances of securing the job you always dreamed of!