Are you preparing for an upcoming job interview? Read up on these super helpful interview tips to make sure you’re ready for it! Because, why not?
Most employers in recent times face quite an onus in the recruitment process. In the cut-throat competitive world of today, the stakes to crack an interview soar high in the sky. Even though you’ve appeared on more interviews than you can count on your fingers, every interview is a new learning experience.
It never seems to get any easier, does it?
With each job interview, you meet new people, you brand yourself and sell yourself. To survive through the process, you need to display your skills and stay upbeat and enthusiastic through it all, no matter how long it takes! This can be a challenge, especially when you’re interviewing for a job you would love to get hired for.
Here are some tips on how to get through almost any interview and make the process look sublime.
Before the interview
Interviews can be overwhelming sometimes, especially when it is your dream job or a position you highly admire. You must rise to present yourself unapologetically personally in the interview to pocket that career advancement. Below is the checklist you must care about before appearing in an interview.
1. Start by researching the company and the job requirements:
Do significant research about the company you are planning to interview for before even applying. Knowing the company and the job requirements can also help you frame your career objective. Studying the company not only means visiting their site and cramming up a thing or two for the interview. KNOW THEM.
Before the interview, knowing about the foundation of the company, their work over the years, economy, perks, average salaries and the achievements surely adds to your prep for the interview.
To know about the desired job opening, read the What we are looking for, What do we need, Who are we, Job Qualifications, and Job Requirements meticulously.
Here are a few specific things you can do:
- Go through the company website (not just for the sake of a checklist)
- Research their social media accounts
- Checkout their cool work
- Research their competitors
- Search for employees on LinkedIn
- Review and be ready!
2. Know your interviewers/ recruiters
In many cases, you might not know your interviewers but you definitely have a point of contact. Try to know your interviewer/recruiter beforehand. A little familiarity helps a ton!
Look them up on LinkedIn. This is the best way to get acquainted. You might find something you have in common with them. And if not, you’ll still know more about them than most candidates going in for the interview. So it is definitely going to be easier for you to bond and build a rapport.
3. Find the common interview questions and practice your answers
How about getting the question paper night before the exam?
Or your professor is generous enough to give you important questions for the exam!!
You are definitely killin’ this exam.
Every time I have an interview scheduled, I search for common interview questions either for the position I’ve applied or what questions the company has asked earlier. Preparing yourself for these questions makes you more confident while answering them in real time.
Glassdoor, Monster.com, Indeed, The Muse can help a lot while looking for sample interview questions.
4. Prepare a list of references
ALWAYS keep a list of at least 3 active references handy. I say active as these people must reply when required, and reply well enough to improve your chances of getting hired.
Emphasize getting more professional references. Even academic references might work wonders in some scenarios. Include personal reference only if you have limited work experience, or if you are worried that your former employer will give you a negative review.
There’s no need to include your references on your resume. Instead, prepare a separate list of your references. Be sure to include their names, email addresses, phone numbers and all necessary information required.
5. Carry your required resources
Being resourceful is never bad!
Carry your laptop or a tablet ALWAYS. You do not want to show your exemplary work on a 6 inch screen with the recruiter’s glasses on their nose and show your unpreparedness.
Every candidate has something to show but you make the cut by keeping the required tabs open. Do not overdo it. Quick access is the key. And all this time, DO NOT show-off your receptivity. One thing at a time.
6. Be prepared with your file
The night before the interview, (even if the interview is at 8 PM over some fancy dinner and you have appeared in 576 interviews before) the night before, keep all your work ready: resume, cover letter, a notepad, a pen/pencil, the list of references. There is nothing worse than searching for papers or asking to borrow a pen, during the interview, so make sure to bring your own. All these things packed in a nice, neat bag.
7. Prepare a list of questions to ask your interviewer at the end
Every interview is bound to end with “Do you want to ask us something?” and you HAVE to ask them!
Don’t be shy when asking the interviewer questions. If you moving out to a new location, ask them simply How’s the weather here in winter? There is no harm in asking questions. It in fact shows your interest and eagerness to know more about the position of the company.
You should not usually ask about the pay here.
I mostly ask 3 of these questions according to the position I’m being considered for.
- What do the day to day responsibilities of the role look like?
- What are the company’s values?
- What’s your favorite part about working here?
- What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?
- What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
- What activities can I expect myself engaged in outside work?
8. Present yourself well
Dress “appropriately”, and for the job for which you’re applying. Too formal, as well as too casual, can be off-putting.
Avoid wearing strong perfumes.
And for goodness sake – brush your teeth before you go!
During the interview
Now you’re all set to enter that room. This is your time! The time you are in front of the interviewer, no one can steal that opportunity from you. It’s all up to you to present and prove yourself to meet and exceed their expectations.
1. Be present well before your interview time
You do not want to be late for the interview you’ve been preparing for over the last however many days. If you are new to the interview place, carry a map to your location. If you are taking a public transport, keep a margin of 30 minutes to secure yourself from getting late. Arrive at least 15 mins before the reporting time. A little waiting isn’t gonna cost you millions. But being late can!
2. Make an outstanding and impressive opening remark
A firm handshake, a cheerful greeting, a perfect salutation for the appetizers.
For the starters, at least make one statement out of your “interview context”
- ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you. How does your week look?’
- ‘I am already loving this place. It’s beautiful!’
- ‘Oh, what an interesting piece of art I saw out there’
- ‘The coffee here is so good’
Ice-breaking surely is traditional but it always works!
3. Be confident in your body language
Win them over with your authenticity and positivity. A confident candidate is always preferred even if the other candidate had a better looking resume. Respond truthfully to all the questions asked. And do not be ashamed if you do not know an answer. Tell them you will surely look into it, learn more, and a have a good conversation on that topic over coffee at your desk. Sometimes, even going a little extra may help. You never know.
Just keep observing. Try to assess the nature and mood of the interview room. If you just keep on being ‘light and humorous’, hey! you are in an interview, remember? Add a tint of humour only if it works for you.
4. Tie your answers to your skills and accomplishments
There will be a tennis match of questions served and you will be playing the answers back.
When I am answering my interview questions, I make sure that every answer of mine exhibits a skill or a quality which is tailored perfectly for the job requirements. I add my accomplishments or my previous work experience, and what I learned from those. Amidst all this, make sure to keep your answers concise and focused. Do not speak negatively about your previous employers or peers.
The goal is that every answer must reflect one unique quality of yours.
Just keep these four bullets in your mind all the time, and you’ll be fine.
After The Interview
It’s not over yet. The closing of the battle is now. Whether it is a win or bloodshed, you take it all. Interviews are not only over when your conversations end; it ends with the sheer effort of looking upon the process with careful detail.
1. Acknowledge your experience after the interview
Feedback is the best assertion.
The next day or a day later, ask about next steps in the employment process. Thank them for the invitation to interview. Appreciate the opportunity, share your experience, acknowledge that you look forward to meeting them again.
2. Send a personalized thank you letter after the interview
You just walked out of a job interview—nailed it!
But you’re not done yet. In fact, most hiring managers pay very close attention to how well and how rapidly you write a thank you email or note after the interview. Thank them for the interview and for the pleasure of meeting them.
With the thank you mail, you can refer them to a piece of content of your interest or something that you talked about. You can also provide a follow-up response to one of the key interview questions.
3. Don’t stalk your interviewers on social media and professional networks
You do not want to overwhelm your interviewer/recruiter by popping out on every third notification on their screens. Take the day off. The next day roll out invites on professional networks, connect with them on social media later, after a day or two.
The ultimate goal is to make a personal connection with the recruiter without overwhelming them. For that, keep calm and have patience, dear heart!
4. Immediately begin prepping for the next round of interviews
Making it to the second round of a job interview can feel like you won the lottery. It can easily beguile you to think that you have the position secured, and that you’re gonna nail the second round of interviews as well. But in your excitement, without the proper preparation, your second interview can actually disqualify you from landing the job of your dreams.
If you know you nailed the interview and are sure to get a call for another set of interviews, start preparing today! There’s no point waiting until the last night anyways. Repeat all the steps again; same prep, this time with utmost detail. This is a new game, a new battle to be won.
Now as you proceed further, dive into the company’s ecosystem. Be the solution to their business challenges. Be a sesquipedalian with a target. Make your qualification count and march towards success.
5. Keep your hopes high while you await their decision!
If you do not receive a revert in an expected timeframe, follow up if the position is still available.
If there is not a positive reply in your inbox, write a mail saying it was a pleasure interviewing for xx and you earnestly wish to work with xx. Looking forward to new opportunities. Keep your hopes high and never let the guard come down!