Useful Tips for a Successful Job Interview

handshakes

Going for an interview goes beyond surfing the internet for commonly asked questions. First and foremost, you need to make a good impression which would mean you have to dress smart, appear clean, and smell nice. Before going for an interview, you need to have a solid knowledge of what the company does, its target market, and how you are a perfect fit for them.
two women conducting an interview
An interview setup.
Here are some tips to get you prepared and spot-on for that interview. From dealing with tough questions to your appearance and how to relate with interviewers, we have got you covered.
1. Do A Research About the Company and Interviewers

You should get information about the company from as many sources as possible. You can go to the company’s website, social media posts, and recent press releases to get a good understanding of the company goals and how your background makes you a good fit for the company.
Try reaching out to current and previous employees to give you better insight into how the company works and what it entails to work in that Company.

It is important for you to do research on the people you are meeting with from the company and learn about them. Learn about their behavior, for example, know the things that will intrigue them or that may annoy them.
You should also prepare smart questions for each of the interviewers as employers expect you to have questions for them. It shows you have been listening to them and how much you want to work with them. Some smart questions you could ask include:

    • How would you describe the characteristics of someone who will succeed in the role?
    • What departments does this team work with regularly?
    • What are the challenges you are currently facing in your role?
    • If I were in this position, how would my performance be measured, and how often?

You can also talk about a common interest you know the interviewers have outside the office. For example, you enjoy reading thrillers and sci-fi novels whenever you are free. That could spark off a chain of decent conversations and familiarity.

2. Make a Good First Impression

You must start on the right note and that means giving your potential employers something to remember you for. Here are a few tips to make you stand out.

  • Be Punctual

    Arriving early reduces your stress level and anxiety, it helps you focus and reflect on all that you have learned. It also gives your employers the impression that you are organized and serious-minded, so do everything you can to get to the interview early – at least fifteen minutes before the stipulated time.

  • Be Positive

    Your attitude should be that of calmness and confidence. Endeavor to greet any staff you come across before or after the interview, you could even make friendly jokes but ensure you do not say too much. During the interview, answer questions with positive statements, show enthusiasm about the job, and avoid saying negative things about your previous employers.

  • Good Body Language

    When you walk into the office for your interview, ensure you greet everyone in a polite and lovely manner. Do not rush to sit down until you are asked to do so, and when you seat, do so naturally without slouching in your chair or leaning on the desk in front of you. Do not instigate a handshake unless from the interviewers and when you do, hold their hand firmly but not too hard. Throughout the interview, remember to smile and remain eye contact.

  • Be Clear and Concise

    Avoid beating around the bush whenever you are asked a question, ensure you are audible and in answering a question, relate it to your skill, experience, and accomplishments. Ask for clarification if you do not understand a particular question to avoid saying something different or irrelevant. Take a few seconds to think deeply when asked a really difficult question.

3. Dress Smart and Look Sharp 

A lot of companies expect candidates to dress formally for interviews while a number of them encourage casual dressing at work, making it difficult to decide on what to wear to an interview. What you are wearing basically depends on factors like the size of the company, the industry it operates in, and the culture it promotes. For example, a media outfit may have a different standard for a financial institution. If you are unsure of which dress code a company permits, you should ask before attending. Always remember that it is way better to dress too smart for an interview than being too casual. You should casually only when you are sure that it is acceptable. If you are unsure, please always go for a smart dress. Whatever outfit you choose, make sure it well ironed, your shoes are polished. If your hair is overgrown and your beards are rough, please ensure to get a proper cut to look sharp. As a lady, make you your hair is neat and your makeup is light if you choose to do one. Smell nice and use chewing gum to keep your breath fresh but remember to dispose of it before the start of your interview.

4. Anticipate Common Interview Questions

Take out time and go through questions asked during job interviews. This way you show your interviewers that you came prepared. For example, “ Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this role you have applied for? The idea here is to communicate in a concise manner which you are and the value you intend to bring to the company. It is your personal elevator pitch and an opportunity to present yourself as the best candidate for the position. Also, do not be caught off guard by the commonly asked, “What’s your biggest weakness?” Think of something you are struggling with but working hard to improve on.

For example, you are not a good public speaker but in the past few years, you have volunteered for organizations and done some online courses to help you become a better public speaker. You can also browse through a list of common questions asked during interviews and get accustomed to the kind of questions that are asked during interviews with tailor-made answers highlighting your skills and competencies just in case they come up. When answering questions, remember to use numbers, percentages, or quotas to support your statements about your achievements and responsibilities.

This approach not only enriches your statements but also shows your level of professionalism and knowledge. You may also be asked, “What have you done in a similar position to the one you are applying for now?” Here, think of the work or a similar role you did in the past, either in your previous job or as a volunteer, and show you have the experience and competence to do the work. You are likely asked, “Why are interested in this particular role you have applied for?”. For this question, you must give a convincing answer.

Think of what motivates you about the job and the factors that make you a great fit. For example, you love customer support because I love constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes with solving other people’s problems. To help you prepare better, rehearse your answers aloud before a mirror. This way, you refine your answers in a manner that is smart and concise. You can also get a friend and do as many mock interviews as possible to know your level of preparedness. The more you practice, the better and more eloquent you become.

 

5. Bring Relevant Documents and Be Real

Do not go to an interview empty-handed, take along with you at least five copies of your printed resume, some passport photographs, an identity card, and some copies of your transcript. Also bring along with you a pen and a small notebook to take down questions, points, and corrections by the interviewers. Do not use a smartphone as your notepad as this is regarded as unprofessional.

I would also suggest that you prepare a reference list as your interviewers might require you to submit it during or after the interview, either way, make sure you have it with you. Having it helps you complete this step to move forward in the hiring process.

Respond to questions truthfully and do not be tempted to embellish your skills and accomplishments. Interviewers find honesty refreshing and see you as a trustworthy person who is willing to learn and improve rather than claiming to be perfect. Remember to be original and authentic during the interview. Keeping a smile and a positive attitude during conversation warms you up to your interviewers to you. You could end up having a light and constructive interview with less of the direct questions and more of getting to know you.

6. After the Interview

When the interview is done, it is appropriate to ask the interviewers or hiring managers what you should expect next. This will likely be a follow-up email with the result of the interview, a further test or screening exercise, or for a reference list.

Finally, remember to ask for the business cards of all the interviewers and reach out to them with a thank you email. Ensure that each message is distinct from each other, using the notes and points you took down during the interview. The message should be sent some hours after the interview. For example, if the interview was done in the morning, send your email in the evening. If it happened in the afternoon or evening, then send it the next morning.

Hope this helps!

 

By Toyese Aderibigbe

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