Acing your job interview
Have you been invited for a job interview? That’s great news! Now stack the odds in your favour as you go for the prize. To get you started, here are some tips and tricks that will help to make a good impression on your recruiter.
Any recruiter you ask will tell you they’re looking for a measure of authenticity and integrity in interviewees, beyond the expertise required for the position at hand. That’s rather good news: it would seem that being yourself during the recruitment process is the best way to clinch a job that suits you.
Upon further investigation, we find that successful job interviews almost always involve three ingredients: candidates are prepared, convincing and available.
Prepare before the interview
A job interview is a high-pressure affair. To avoid becoming flustered, make sure you prepare in advance and minimise any potential stress factors. In particular, map out your exact itinerary to the interview location so as not to arrive late on the day (that would make a terrible impression).
Find out how people dress at the target company – this will help you decide what to wear for your interview. Choose your outfit carefully. There is no standard dress code; your clothes should be appropriate to the field you are applying to work in. A business suit is not ideal for a creative position in an advertising agency, nor will a turtleneck and distressed jeans go down well for a sales job. Regardless of the position, the outfit you choose should be sober and professional.
It is also crucial to prepare by properly researching the company you want to join and the position you are applying for. While the company’s website may provide easy access to this type of information, do not overlook other sources available to you. You may choose to consult press, interviews and testimonials from the company’s stakeholders, or even reach out to someone at the company. The company’s values, main clients and recent news should all be at your fingertips, as it’s a safe bet that these topics will come up. While you’re at it, why not also find out about your recruiter? With a bit of luck, you’ll find their profile on LinkedIn and dig up some useful info or common interests.
Once you have memorised key information about the company, try to anticipate interview questions and practice answering them. However, be wary of mechanically reciting your answers. Try to be spontaneous and lively. Here are some of the most common questions.
- “Can you tell me a little about yourself?”
- “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Why should we hire you?”
- “What can you contribute to our company? “Why would you rather work here than somewhere else?”
- “How would you describe the role you’re applying for?” “Where do you see yourself in three to five years?”
- “Tell me about your previous work experience.” “What have your relationships with your former managers been like?”
A well-prepared candidate projects the image of a self-confident, genuinely interested and motivated future colleague.
“A well-prepared candidate projects the image of a self-confident, genuinely interested and motivated future colleague.” This is extremely important given that, under most circumstances, your nonverbal communication accounts for 90% of your performance at the interview.
Make a good impression during the interview
The big day has arrived! Take a deep breath, smile at the beautiful face in the mirror and repeat to yourself: you’re the best, and you can do this. You arrive on time and stand before your recruiter, CV and cover letter in hand. Your thorough preparation will allow you to respond calmly, politely and sincerely to their questions. Highlight your strengths, and show that you are in full command of your career path and the skills required. Don’t hesitate to illustrate your comments with figures or achievements from past experiences, as this will give you more credibility. Be pragmatic and genuine!
And don’t just answer questions – be proactive during the interview. Take a few notes and ask your own questions: about the company, how it plans to grow over the next few years, your precise role in this growth, the criteria on which you will be appraised, the means at your disposal to achieve your objectives, etc. Talk about the company or your future position, and let the recruiter be the one to broach the subject of pay and benefits.
Talk about the company or your future position, and let the recruiter be the one to broach the subject of pay and benefits.
Should you bring up your weaknesses? The answer is no! At least not on your own. And if the recruiter asks about them, don’t make a full inventory, but instead mention one or two while explaining what you’re doing (or are planning to do) to correct them.
Phew! The interview is done and the cards are on the table. Well, almost. You can still wrap up the interview by asking your recruiter about the next steps in the process, before thanking them and taking your leave.
Remain available after the interview
Your interview is now over and you are sure to have done well if you followed the advice in this article. Congratulations! Don’t hesitate to write to the recruiter a few days later to show them again that you are interested and highly motivated.
If the recruiter asks for some extra info, try to respond quickly to their inquiries. They are likely waiting on your reply to make a final decision.