You have been called for a job interview! What next? How do you prepare for it?
Your invitation to a job interview means that your CV has been evaluated in a good light and your qualifications are the right fit for the job. Be enthusiastic and optimistic, but at the same time, be appropriately prepared for the next important step!
- Getting ready with the right answers
Conduct research on the questions that are commonly asked in your specific line of work. Some of the most popular questions can be found here (link to the previous article) and going through them will help you prepare well for the interview.
Analyze all possible interview scenarios (e.g. your interlocutor puts you in a difficult situation by asking you about some discrepancy in your CV, or he/she asks you directly about your salary expectations), and think about how you could respond to them in the best way possible.
- Professional appearance
Be appropriately dressed for the interview. Your appearance should be discreet, sober and well suited for the job you are applying for. Keep in mind that every professional field follows certain rules regarding the dress code; for example, it is acceptable to wear casual and chic clothing in an artistic job compared to that in a bank.
The same rule applies to the different hierarchy levels in a job; one expects a candidate for a production manager’s job to be dressed differently from a candidate for a blue-collar job. In any case, it is recommended that you avoid jeans, t-shirts, revealing clothes (party wear), bulky jewelry, heavy perfumes, fashionable hairstyles and anything else that may offend the interlocutor (e.g. real fur, clothing with a social, political or religious message) or draw his/her attention away from the real issue at hand (i.e. interviewing you for the position and assessing your skills).
- Necessary things to carry to an interview
It is necessary to carry a copy of your CV, either in printed or electronic form. Candidates who carry notebooks, pens, agendas, calculators or electronic devices will likely stand out for their organization and planning skills.
Last, carry paper towels and use breath freshener before the interview. These are very important props but are generally forgotten! Drink plenty of water and give yourself enough time to reach the destination of your interview, keeping in mind the time required to park your car, find a taxi or use public transportation.
The most important evidence of your accuracy and reliability in this first meeting with your employer is your arrival on time at the meeting place. Make sure that you arrive slightly earlier than the arranged time by taking enough care to avoid unpleasant surprises, such as traffic, car damage or other unpredictable factors.
It is also recommended that you visit the venue of the interview one or two days before the appointment date in order to get to know the area, explore nearby parking spaces and clarify the exact entry point.
- Body language
Eighty percent of human communication is a non-verbal in nature. During the interview, you should try your best to be straightforward, maintain eye contact with your interviewer, exhibit a balanced attitude, show self-confidence and be kind.
Avoid defensive body postures such as a curved back, hands creating a “wall” between yourself and the interviewer, using a voice with an unsteady tone and so on). Also avoid postures that convey excessive self-confidence or the feeling that you are exceptionally comfortable in the employer’s space (e.g. sitting with open but crossed legs, with the ankle of one foot resting on the other knee, sitting with a wrong angle between the torso and legs, sitting very close to the interviewer and so on). Remember to shake hands with your interviewer and smile sincerely.
Behave politely, as you normally would. Knock on the door and wait for a positive answer before entering, greet your interviewer and express appropriate wishes on important days. Sit where you are indicated to, and try not to make noise or move distractedly in the room. Politely accept a treat if you are offered one. Do not hesitate to ask about the location of the restroom, a tissue or a glass of water if needed. Lower the volume of your cell phone before the interview begins. Respect the time your interviewer dedicates to you, and ensure a meaningful acquaintance with him/her by using a calm and positive tone.
Be polite, and avoid criticizing your former co-workers. Also refrain from making insulting and ironic comments, and laughing loudly. Adjust the tone and volume of your voice as per the requirements of the space the interview is being conducted in. Concentrate on the discussion and make sure you fully understand your interviewer’s questions before attempting to answer them. It is better to ask the interviewer to repeat the question politely than to give an inaccurate answer.
Employers prefer employees who are unafraid to examine what they do not understand, as employees who are in a hurry to complete a task will likely make serious mistakes.
What to avoid
- Do not lead the discussion to sensitive issues, such as politics or religion.
- Do not refer to purely personal issues, such as your sexual preferences.
- Do not ask personal questions.
Always keep in mind that an untrue statement during the interview can put you in an unpleasant position and create a bad impression of you. Answer all the questions put to you by your interlocutor. If you do not have the required work experience from a previous job, it is preferable to state that you feel capable about doing well in the potential role. Express your willingness to try to meet the requirements to the best of your ability. Always show your willingness to learn and evaluate yourself, as well as your courage to take on something new and work hard at it although you may be a beginner in that situation.
Also remember that not only will you expected to prove your experience soon, but you will also be strictly judged, given that you are an expert in that particular role.
- Your questions
Remember that during the interview you also have the right to ask questions in order to be appropriately informed about the company’s activities and the requirements of the position for which you are being interviewed. Let your interlocutor complete his/her questions, and then submit your own.
You can ask about the candidate’s desired profile, expected goals, earnings and the company’s organization chart. One way to show further interest in the job position is by asking if you could contact your interlocutor again to find out more about the positioning process.
You can also ask your interviewer if he/she is satisfied with the clarity of your answers, or if he/she would like to further analyze any of them.
At the end of the discussion, thank your interlocutor for the time he/she has given you, as well as the opportunity to present yourself. Wish them well and leave discreetly.