Top 5 Tips for Interviews
Preparing for an interview can be a nerve-wracking experience for even the most seasoned candidates and the most experienced workers. At the end of the day, how well you do in one depends entirely on your knowledge of the skill-set needed and your confidence apart from of course how well you answer the interviewer's questions.
The tips in this article should help you deal with any pre-interview butterflies and how to prepare yourself to keep a cool head during the whole process.
Research Your Prospective Employer
It goes without saying - but you need to know your employer's background well before you walk in for an interview. Go through the company's annual reports, history, key personnel, business plans and any key corporate actions that might have transpired recently. Go through the job description you're applying for and see how well it aligns with your future career goals and aspirations and what is it that you can offer to the company by way of your skills or experience.
During your interview (whether its a panel or a phone interview) you will without a doubt be asked why you'd want to join that particular company and only thorough research will help you formulate a decent answer.
Memorize Key Past Job Experiences
Interviews (especially panel interviews) almost always consist of questions which will ask the job-seeker to reflect on past experiences. The aim of this exercise is to find out whether the applicant's personality and approach (especially towards resolving conflicts or difficult customers or colleagues) fits within the realm of the company evaluating his/her hire. The more detailed the experiences in narration - the better it usually is as interviewers want to be sure that they're hiring the right fit for their company. To best analyze that within a prospective employee, his/her behavioral merit certainly goes a long way towards identifying their suitability for the role.
Practicing IQ Tests (Verbal and Logical)
Companies are increasingly diversifying the interview process by breaking it down into two segments and one of them's usually to subject the interviewee to a psychometric assessment (which includes testing on numerate ability, logical reasoning and verbal prowess). It is also increasingly becoming common for many applicants getting screened out right after the psychometric test if the resulting personality/cognitive ability score doesn't match what the company's looking for.
We often (especially in Anglophonic countries) take our verbal ability for granted however nothing can be further from the truth when we're confronted with a time-bound controlled environment where we're expected to answer multiple choice questions in under 30 to 50 seconds - in other words, don't take your cognitive abilities for granted.
Go online or into your local library and practice some cognitive reasoning tests and give those grey cells some exercise - It might just be what you need to get the edge over your fellow applicants.
NEVER Lie during an Interview!
There's absolutely no room for lying about your credentials during an interview!
Remember that even if your lie gets you the job (and many times it does happen!), sooner or later you will be caught especially if your company runs very strong background checks.
Even if you're ashamed of something that's happened in your past or you're more than confident that you can do the job but don't have the necessary experience, please remain truthful and let the hiring committee be the best judge - Companies are completely unforgiving towards new applicants who lie about their experiences as even if its lying about seemingly little things, it is seen as a blatant disregard for ethics and shows an indecent character about the person.
While I was studying at the University of New South Wales here in Sydney, I came across an example at Swiss Investment Bank UBS where a candidate for their graduate program stated on their resume they spoke French and German - to this person's bad luck, both members of the committee knew how to speak French and German and said a few words each to the candidate in both languages. The applicant didn't understand or answer either of the interviewers and both of them realized within seconds this applicant had lied on their resume - A BIG MISTAKE!
This applicant was permanently banned from applying from any roles at UBS within all jurisdictions it operated in.
Relax and Dress to Impress and for Success!
Last but definitely not the least - always go for an interview with a clear mind - rested, calm and objective and pay very close attention to the way you speak. Remember, you only get one chance to meet a prospective employer's hiring committee and if you leave with a not so ideal impression, chances are you won't be seeing them again.
Have a good night's rest before the day of the interview and drink plenty of water and eat enough food to keep your stamina in order - Leave any other errands for another day and focus just on the immediate task at hand.
Pick out your best business suit and tie to wear and look clean and well-groomed. Appearance is extremely important during an interview as appearance is telling the interviewer about your character and lifestyle both in your professional and personal life.