Opportunity + Preparation = Success
Recruiter: “Tell me one thing about yourself so that I can remember you.”
Candidate: “Well, I bought this outfit just before our interview.”
This was my colleague’s favourite question to wrap up interviews. He liked to surprise the candidates and get some more information about who they were.
Was the candidate’s answer catchy and worth remembering? Yes!
Was is a guarantee of getting the job? No! An employer will always look at someone’s skills & competences first.
No matter how much we would love to, we are not able to foresee the interviewer’s questions.
So, what can help us to feel more confident? The answer is preparation! Here are some tips & advice you can consider when applying for your next job interview.
Tip 1. What do you know about the company you are applying to?
An obvious question for most of us but an important thing to remember is that it’s not only about its size, number of employees, profits or strategy. It’s also about its reputation and values and how the company lives them day by day. Why it’s important? Imagine working for a company which doesn’t share your values – there will be a conflict sooner than later. If you are going to spend the next few years or even longer with that company, it’s better to be aligned with what you care about. It will be a win-win for both of you and will secure a stronger and more fulfilling relationship.
You may ask ‘where to find the information’? Visit company’s website and check the social media (Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter). Search for the publications and the news and the social media is very powerful source of information including the company’s values.
“It will be a win-win for both of you and will secure a stronger and more fulfilling relationship.”
Tip 2. What questions will you ask your potential employer?
The first questions that come to mind are: when will I know the interview outcome or when can I start? Consider this – an interview is an incomparable opportunity to have the discussion with your potential employer so use it! A few ideas how you can tackle this are:
- Firstly, think about what is important to you and it would be difficult to work without? Is it flexibility? Is it personal growth? Is it diversity? If you know your answer, ask how it looks like in the company.
- Secondly, ask about your future colleagues: who are they? What’s the team like? How they collaborate? You will spend at least 8 hours a day with these people, so it’s worth getting some more information.
- Thirdly, ask what the business priorities are for the next year. When you are successful, you will be contributing to the goals and even better, if they are interesting!
- Finally, consider this: what are the other things I’d like to know?
Tip 3. How will you set yourself for success by being more confident & relaxed during the interview?
If you are confident and not stressed out in these situations – lucky you! However, most of us feel tense and it’s a natural feeling in these situations. Here are a few tips which could help to put yourself at ease:
Before the interview:
- Relax – take a few deep breaths, go for a walk or do a quick centring exercise. You know best what relaxes you and clears your mind. Remember this. If you did your homework as per 2 points above – you don’t have to worry. You are well prepared!
- Dress smart (or match it to your business field) but feel comfortable! Nothing distracts more than a tight shirt or shoe!
- Be on time. Nothing stresses someone as much as looking constantly at the watch and thinking ‘I’m going to be late!’. If an emergency happens – call the recruiter or the office reception to let them know you are late or ask to reschedule the session. It will make a much better impression then just not showing up.
During the interview:
- Smile! A smile can work miracles and gives a positive impression to everyone and everywhere.
- Ask for water – stressful situations tend to dry the throat much quicker and the last thing you want is a disruptive cough.
After the interview:
Thank the recruiter and manager for their time and give them a good handshake to leave strong & positive last impression.
A closing thought. We do have influence on how we prepare for an interview in order to show up as the best professional and candidate for the job. And there are some things we don’t have influence on like what questions will be asked and ultimately if we get the job or not. A key thing to focus on is what we can influence (like prior preparation). And if we don’t get the job? Take a moment and reflect on what you’ve learnt from this experience. Remember it and apply it to your next interview. The world doesn’t end with one regret and remember you do have all it takes to get the job you want!