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You have a job interview coming up, and what will you do to prepare for it? In this guide, we will show you how to prepare for an interview as well as provide helpful job interview tips and interview skills.
Interviews play an integral part in the hiring process. From the perspective of job seekers, job interviews allow you to learn more about the role and the company so that you can decide whether that job aligns with your career path.
The employer, meanwhile, conducts interviews to determine if your skills, experience, and personal traits meet the job's requirements and if you fit in with the company’s culture.
As a job seeker, there are several difficulties you may often encounter during a job interview, including:
In this part, you will learn about the interview guidance that can be applied to different situations.
Step 1: Do a thorough research of the company.
Step 2: Know who the interviewer is.
Step 4: Prepare answers for common interview questions.
Step 5: Outline your answers in bullet points.
Step 6: Prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
Step 7: Pay attention to your voice and body language.
Step 9: Update and print your resume/CV for the interview.
Step 10: Send thank-you notes.
The very first step to prepare for a job interview is to have a clear understanding of the company you may work for, including:
By doing thorough research of the employer, you can be certain that this is the environment you enjoy working in. Additionally, you can give employers a clear answer in case they ask you to share some knowledge about the company.
It's important to know who is going to interview you because interview questions may vary depending on the interviewer’s job role.
If you're going to have an interview with the recruiter or HR staff, you're likely to be asked to briefly share your educational background and experience.
They also prefer to know about your personality to see if you are a cultural fit. Meanwhile, the potential manager expects to hear more about your professional experience, achievements, and career objectives.
Employers would like to hear a more thoughtful answer that makes you stand out from other candidates.
It means that you have to show them why you want to work with them and what values could you bring to the company, and also convince them why you're the best fit for the role.
An important part of preparing for a job interview is to think about what employers may ask you. Check out the list below for the most frequently-asked things by recruiters and hiring managers:
Having answers prepared in case these common questions are asked during the interview could save you in case you suddenly cannot come up with a good answer on the spot, and could also make you seem prepared and interested in the job.
After you finish preparing answers for common interview questions, write down a simple outline of what you plan to say for each question in bullet points.
Memorizing the complete answers line by line not only is impractical but also does you a disservice.
The interview is likely to notice the unnatural way you talk when you try to remember the lines you memorize. Choose to list the main points to remind yourself of the answers instead.
As mentioned earlier, interviewing is a chance for you to sniff out whether the job and the company align with your career objective. Thus, feel free to bring up questions to ask the hiring manager, for example:
Especially when you’re preparing for a job interview for a remote position, you might want to ask about the working time and employee benefits.
💡 Note: The questions to ask hiring managers should not be about information mentioned in the job description, otherwise they might think that you haven't reviewed it carefully.
Regarding your tone of voice, try to speak clearly and match your interviewer's volume. Therefore, they can hear everything you say well and be sure you're interested in this position.
Body language is also an important factor in a job interview that may make or break your chance. The perfect body language includes eye contact, hand gestures, and a smile.
That's why you should prepare for a job interview by practicing with a partner.
The best jobs interview tip is mirroring an actual job interview, especially if you're a fresh graduate. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”
Doing a mock job interview will help you practice what to say and do, minimize your weaknesses, and boost your self-confidence for the actual interview.
Even if you're not required to bring a resume/CV to the job interview, keep in mind that hiring managers might not have a copy of it on hand.
They are busy and there might be a lot of candidates for a single role. Bringing a printed copy of your resume/CV could also show that you are prepared.
Many of you may overlook this step but this is considered among the most successful job interview tips.
A thank-you email after the interview reflects your respect, appreciation, and professionalism toward the hiring manager and team. It also shows that you're truly interested in working for the company.
In addition to general interview guidance, you might find specific job interview tips for different situations as shown below.
Make sure you confirm with the recruiter or interviewer regarding the following information:
It's important to follow the dress code because it reflects your professionalism and a positive personal image. For women, this will be a blouse and dress pants or a statement dress. For men, a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie are appropriate.
Simply put, this is the list of the people who can prove your credentials and qualifications for a job. If you have a list of references, be prepared to provide it to prospective employers. Also, don't forget to contact your references for permission prior to the interview.
You're going to look unorganized and unprofessional if you have to open your bag and rummage inside for a while. Just bring the essentials such as resume/CV, cover letter, pens, phones, wallets, and keys.
Improper interview etiquette will leave a bad impression and, at worst, cost you the job.
Let us give you some examples:
Being late is one of the most common mistakes in a job interview. If you are going to have an in-person interview, make sure you have checked the way to get there. It's recommended you arrive at the location of your interview at least 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment.
In this part, you will find examples of 15 common interview questions and a sample answer for each. From the examples, you can get an idea of how to prepare for interview questions in advance.
“I’ve been passionate about [the field] since I was a kid. I studied [your major] at [your college] and have [number] of years of experience in [your areas]. My responsibilities include [job role 1], [job role 2], [job role 3], etc. I would say I am [soft skill 1], [soft skill 2], etc.
I am looking to further develop my [hard skill 1] and [hard skill 2] as a [position] in a [your favorite work style] environment.”
“My greatest strength is that I’ve always been detail-oriented in my work. To me, it’s not only about having a sense of responsibility but also something I enjoy doing. I would say I'm highly observant and able to pick up on minor details or changes that others often overlook.”
“Sometimes I focus too much on the details so it turns out that I spend too much time figuring out the finer points. I’ve been striving to avoid unnecessary perfectionism as it may affect the whole team's process and ability to meet the deadline. To adjust this, I try to refocus on the bigger picture and set more realistic goals.”
“My greatest professional achievement occurred in my previous position as a/an [position]. I have successfully [what you have achieved] with an increase/a decrease of [a figure] in [the problem]. At the company year-end party, I was awarded [the prize].”
“It was when I was working as a [job role] at [company name]. I noticed that [describe the issue] which reduced productivity and/or annual revenue. At that time, I took the initiative to [what you have implemented] to help [the purpose of your plan]. [Period of time], the result was [result 1], [result 2], etc.”
Below are some examples of positive reasons for leaving a job:
“In the next five years, I would still be working in the same field. I'm always passionate about [your job area] so this is the career I want to pursue. However, I want to explore and develop skills in [new area 1], [new area 2], etc. I also hope to [your expectations in your career] because [the expectation you've just mentioned] is one of my core career goals.”
“I was looking actively for jobs and found your job posting on [the name of the job board or career website]. The job description looks exciting and mentions some great opportunities that I have been looking for to work towards my goal.”
“I see this opportunity perfect for me due to my educational background and work experience. It allows me to utilize my existing skills and further develop new skills. It is also a way to contribute to a/an [adjective to describe the work environment] company/industry that I always want to work for.”
For this question, check out these examples for different roles and professions.
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--- Originally written by May Luong ---