You applied for a job at a company that you’d always dreamed of working at. One day you open your email and you see you got asked to come in for an interview. Your heart jumps in excitement but the next moment you ask yourself what you should do to prepare. Here’s what you can do in preparation for that big interview!
- Keep your responses long and clear
Give as many details and examples as you can when you answer their questions. The more examples you have, the better. And try not to make too many pauses or say too many filler words (like “uhm” or “like”).
- Dress professionally
The scale of how professional will vary from company to company, but it would be a safe bet if you did not show up in yoga pants and a t-shirt.
- Be confident
Believing in yourself is very important. The interviewer can see if you’re doubtful or hesitant. You can’t convince the company to hire you if you cannot convince yourself that you’re worthy of the job.
- Choose the right time for an interview
In some cases, this isn’t possible, but if you get the chance, set the time that works best for you. For example, if you’re not a morning person, but your interview is at 9am, you might not be as successful than if your interview was at 12:30pm.
- Use the job description to answer questions
Every job posting comes with a job description. Take the words they used and apply it to yourself. This does not mean you should lie. Rather, it lets you take your work experience and apply it to what they’re looking for.
Questions to Expect
“Why do you want to work with us?”
This is a question that’s always asked in interviews. The answer you prepare should show that you did some research on the company. They want to know how much you know about them. It’s your chance to be honest and tell them why you like them so much. Don’t try to talk about yourself too much; you can mention how your skills can match, but your overall goal is to show how much you know.
“Tell me about yourself.”
It’s tempting to talk about everything when you hear this question. Start with your work habits and work history. Tell them how you integrate your passion and natural skill set into working. Don’t worry too much about what you do outside of work unless it’s directly related to the job position.
Your interviewer could ask so many other questions, but the above are the two most common questions in every interview.
Questions to ask at the End
“Is there opportunity for professional growth?”
You never want to be stuck at the same position (or same salary) as when you started. Your aim should be expanding upon the skills that you already have.
“What do you enjoy most about working in the company?”
You just talked about yourself (and a bit about the company) for the past little while, so ask your interviewer what they think about where they work. Read into their body language. Sometimes you’ll be able to tell what the workplace culture is like from the way they answer.
You can ask a hundred other questions, but the two above are most certainly the ones you should ask at every interview.
Epilogue: Zoom Interviews
Many companies do not host in-person interviews anymore. You’re most likely going to have a call over Zoom, Google Hangouts, or any other kind of video calling software.
If that’s the case, here’s a checklist of what you need for the best interview experience:
- Knowledge on how to navigate Zoom
- A quiet environment (a bedroom or office)
- A reliable mic
- A reliable set of earphones
- A plain or simple background (make sure any strange filters are off BEFORE the interview)
After the Interview
Have a nice little break; stretch and get some tea. When you’ve had an adequate break, write a follow up email to the interview. Kindly thank them for their time and the opportunity to meet with them. It leaves a good last impression on the interviewer and increases your chance of getting hired.
Good luck on your job search! Here at CISM, we’re always cheering you on. If you missed it, check out our tips on how to build a resume.