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The Interview: How to prepare for it?

Updated on October 21, 2017
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Have 10 years of experience in Human Resource & Talent Acquisition, serving top global companies to find Leadership on Demand.

Know about the Organization:

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Before attending a job interview, find out as much information as you can about the company. It is as important as to know about the role for which you are going to face interview process. Company research is one of the important part interview preparations. It will help you to prepare answers for the questions related to job as well as the company. During this learning process, you will be able to find out whether the company and its culture are suitable for you or not. To know about the company you can check “About Us” page on the company website, you can also take reference from different research websites to know about the performance and financial status of the company.

  • Check the background information about the company.
  • Explore the company website to ensure about their business model.
  • Check and assess their client base, products, and services.
  • To know the company’s projected growth and stability check press release and other related documents. You can easily find them on the web.

Make a match and analyze the job:

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Before applying for any job, first review the job description, find out what the company is seeking in a candidate. Based on this understanding, draft a list of skills, professional and personal qualities, and knowledge which are important for success in the job and required by the employer. Now create a list of your skills, knowledge, learning, experience, and qualifications and match them to the job requirements. You can bring up some of these skills when you will explain to the employer why you are the right fit for the job.

Learn Interview Etiquette:

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Proper interview etiquette is one of the most important aspects to get success in the interview process. You will meet multiple people during interview process like the hiring manager, receptionist and other employees of the company so be polite, pleasant and enthusiastic and don’t forget to greet.

Keep a close eye on your body language during the interview, keep good eye contact while articulating your point, shake hands firmly. Be attentive, listen carefully and look interested during the conversation.

What to wear:

Whatever is the role for which you are going to attend the interview, keep in mind that your first impression should be positive and great. Many times it creates an important influence on the final decision of employment. So do not wait for last moment to decide what to wear, make sure that your interview clothes are ready a day before. Make sure your attire should be as per the nature of the job.

  • Neutral-colored suit and professional shoes are best.
  • Make sure your clothes are wrinkle-free and neat.
  • Make sure that your overall appearance should be effective. Don’t forget to check your nails and hair.

Make a list of required documents:

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Before interview make sure what to bring. If possible then as from recruiter and make a list. It includes extra copies of your resume, your portfolio, a copy of your educational certificate, id proof, experience letter from the previous employer, your recent photograph etc.

  • Extra copies of resume on quality paper.
  • Professional planner or binder and pen.
  • Documents or information you might need to complete an application.
  • A portfolio with samples of your work.

Give attention to non-verbal communication:

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  • Be careful. Non-verbal communication speaks louder.
  • Keep in mind that waiting room behaviors may be reported.
  • Smile, establish eye contact and use a firm handshake, it will project your confidence.
  • Avoid nervous gestures like foot-tapping. Sit up straight and be comfortable.
  • Do not put anything on their desk. Give respect to their space.
  • Since Facial expressions provide clues to your feelings so give natural reactions and project a positive image.

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.

— Arthur Ashe

Follow Up mail or Thank You note:

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Thank you note or letter is the opportunity to discuss that points which your interviewer neglected to ask or that you neglected to answer.

It is like a follow-up ‘Sales’ letter, restating that why you are the right fit, your qualifications and how you can add value to the job and company, and so on.

  • Be strategic and do not ask such information which is available on company website.
  • What all good practice makes this organization a great place to work?
  • You can ask about the organization’s culture.
  • What are the opportunities for acquiring new skills and growth?
  • What are the next steps in the hiring process?

Address of interview venue:

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Always reach before time. Use Google maps to avoid traffic and finding the exact location. Check about the parking in advance. By considering these small things you can avoid running late to the interview.

Reaching on time shows that you respect to not only your but other’s time as well. Getting late can result in cancellation of interview or reschedule or might be you have to wait for a long time. It will also give a wrong impression about you.

31 Most Common but Important Interview Questions:

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  1. Describe yourself.
  2. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  5. What can you offer us that someone else can not?
  6. What are your weaknesses?
  7. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
  8. Why should we hire you?
  9. Why was there a gap in your employment?
  10. Why do you want to leave your current company?
  11. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  13. What is your dream job?
  14. What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
  15. Why are you looking for a new job?
  16. Would you work holidays/weekends?
  17. What makes you uncomfortable?
  18. How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
  19. What are your hobbies?
  20. Who are our competitors?
  21. If I called your boss right now and asked him what an area that you could improve on is, what would he say?
  22. Would you work 40+ hours a week?
  23. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  24. How do you handle the pressure?
  25. What are your career goals?
  26. What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
  27. What questions do you have for me?
  28. What are your salary expectations?
  29. How would you fire someone?
  30. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
  31. What motivates you?

4 Ways to Make a Good Impression:

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Be Positive: Be polite and well-mannered with any staff you meet before or after during the interview process. Always avoid start discussing your personal issues during the interview; never badmouth your previous employers.

Body language: Keep a smile on your face, maintain good eye contact, and give a firm handshake before and after the interview session. Sit naturally without slouching in your chair or leaning on the desk.

Clarity: Focus on your most relevant experience, skills, and achievements. Always take a pause before answering a difficult question, it will give you some time to think and if you are not sure about the question to ask for a clarification, nothing wrong with it. Always reply with a good pace, don't speak too quickly.

Enthusiasm: Allow your personality to shine throughout the interview process, ask intelligent and thought-provoking questions at right time during an interview. It will reflect that you're genuinely interested and listen closely to the interviewer.

When I interview people, and they give me an immediate answer, they're often not thinking. So I'm silent. I wait. Because they think they have to keep answering. And it's the second train of thought that's the better answer.

— Robin Leach

© 2017 Nipun Sourishiya

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