For many people, there comes a time, at least once in their life, where they find themselves sitting across from someone who is interviewing them for a job. Whether initiated by their desire for a new position, or because of circumstances that led to a job loss, securing a job interview is their next step in moving their career forward. Regardless of how they came to be sitting across from an interviewer, the interview itself can be an intimidating experience.
It’s vitally important that you prepare properly for your job interview. Expecting to go, unprepared, into an interview and “winging it” is a recipe for failure. It’s a highly competitive business world out there with a plethora of qualified candidates looking for that next career position. Along with having the qualifications for the job you’re interested in, job interview preparation is essential to giving yourself a chance to win the position.
With that in mind, here are seven tips for preparing for that all-important job interview:
The first step is to consider the position available, all that it entails. Consider what the employer expects of the person who secures the position. Next, consider your academic experiences, past and current work experience, volunteer work, hobbies, and interests. Match all your qualifications and experience to the job position you’re after. In the interview, you can highlight these, showing you’re well suited to the position.
Think like an Interviewer
Consider the job interview from the interviewer’s point-of-view. They’re under pressure to choose an appropriate candidate for their business. Study your resume and think about questions the interviewer may ask, based on this specific resume. Understanding what they want in a candidate and the questions they’re likely to ask means not stumbling on questions during the interview. Therefore, you present yourself as thoroughly prepared and cognizant of their needs.
Be Prepared to Explain Why you’re the Best Candidate
This is something the interviewer certainly wants to know. They will ask you this either directly, or in a roundabout way. You must explain, with appropriate confidence, not brash bravado, why you’re the best choice for their enterprise. This is where you present all your strengths based on knowing yourself as stated in our first point. Include specific past responsibilities that directly relate to the position currently available.
Be Prepared to Talk About Your Weaknesses
Inevitably, most interviewers typically ask this question. Your approach here, as in all your answers, is honesty. Maybe you’re very creative and always come up with innovative initiatives in your jobs. However, your weakness may be number crunching –mathematics. This position may require some math work.
Therefore, highlight the fact that you’re taking an upgrade course in bookkeeping to further your skills in this area. This is just an example; the thing is you’re not shying away from the question. You’re also presenting ways you are working to turn your weakness into a strength.
Another great interview preparation technique is role-playing. Have a family member, friend, or colleague take on the position of the interviewer. Let them study your resume and let them choose the questions they will ask. You want to approach this simulated interview not knowing what they’re going to ask. This prepares you to answer questions, on the spot, that you did not anticipate. You learn to remain calm in an interview, and thoughtfully formulate an answer.
Prepare a List of Questions
There comes a time during the interview process where an interviewer may ask if you have any questions. This is often at the very end of the interview. This is your chance to present yourself as an interested candidate, wanting to understand better the company and their expectations. Don’t ask trite, general questions. Ask unique questions specific to the company and the position.
For example, you may ask, “What is the company’s main marketing plan for the next year, and how does this available position fit into those plans.” This shows you’re a forward thinking person, interested in the company’s goals and their success.
Let Your Preparation Work Be Your Foundation and Think Before You Speak
Don’t feel the need to jump in with an answer as soon as the last syllable drops from the interviewer’s lip. Consider the question for a few seconds, without giving the impression you’re stumped by the question, take a breath, and answer with a thoughtful response. Those valuable seconds help you gather your thoughts, and present you as someone who doesn’t shoot off the cuff.
Jumping to answer because you’re a bit nervous may cause you to say something that doesn’t make sense. This can certainly jeopardize the success of the interview. That’s why anticipating questions beforehand and thoroughly working out your answers is important. Sure, questions do arise that you didn’t plan on; however, you can anticipate most questions based on the job requirements of the company, and what they will ask you about your experiences.
Consider the above seven tips as concerns job interviews. Preparation is definitely the key to having a successful interview experience. This preparation makes the process easier for the interviewer and yourself. You present yourself as an attentive, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable candidate. Consequently, you improve the odds that you are that enterprise’s choice for the position currently available.
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