1. Secret weapon: tell your career stories at your job interview
You’re prepped and ready to totally nail this job interview. You’ve rehearsed your elevator pitch—in front of the mirror, even. You’ve committed the entire job description to memory. Heck, you even drove a practice route to the interview location to make sure you knew exactly where to park.
So, when the meeting finally rolls around, you’re feeling cool, calm, and collected. That is, until the interviewer jumps right in with the dreaded, “Tell me about a time when…”
Suddenly your mouth is dry, your mind is blank, and you have a mental facepalm moment. Why, oh why, didn’t you think to prepare for these types of prompts?
Yes, those requests for real-world examples—also known as behavioral interview questions—are frustrating. But, they’re also an extremely common part of the interview process.
Your best bet is to have a few stories prepared and ready to go for your next interview. Here are the six big ones you should make sure to have in your arsenal. They’re general enough that they can be used for a variety of questions, but specific enough that the person asking will feel like he or she’s getting a good, solid, detail-filled response.
2. Know about the company:
Spend time to know about the company’s background and various activities of the company. Knowledge about the company will make you look serious for the job. Also if you have time, read about the competitors.
Know the basic stats on size and state of the company, and try to develop a view on the top 3 strengths and the top 3 weaknesses/issues the company faces. If you can think through and be prepared to articulate how you can reinforce the strengths and help make progress against the issues, then even better.
Set up Google News Alerts for the company and industry you are interviewing for. It shall give you timely news alerts and much needed information & talking points! You can also refer to Social media, website, google search etc. to get more information. Also you can search for people/friends on LinkedIn who are already working in the company and talk to them.
Search company on Glassdoor. com. I find that there are typically elements of truth to the themes that surface there, and it is a good way to get a feel for what to expect culturally and again this preparation can help to inform your questions
3. Ask questions
You should always have some questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. Prepare a minimum of five questions, some which will give you more information about the job and some which delve deeper into the culture and goals of the company.
4. Make good first impressions
A cardinal rule of interviewing is to be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet from the parking attendant to the receptionist to the hiring manager. Employers often are curious how job applicants treat staff members and your job offer could easily be derailed if you’re rude or arrogant to any of the staff. When it’s time for the interview, keep in mind that first impressions the impression interviewers get in the first few seconds of meeting you can make or break an interview.
Remember that having a positive attitude and expressing enthusiasm for the job and employer are vital in the initial stages of the interview; studies show that hiring managers make critical decisions about job applicants in the first 20 minutes of the interview.
5. Structure your answer
Most people see a job interview as a passive experience where they answer questions and are confident of securing the job if they answer the questions asked correctly. Rather, see an interview as an opportunity to answer or respond to questions following a guide or plan on the subject of interest. Your answers should emphasize how your skills will be of relevance to the company. To improve how to answer questions in the interview, draft 5 points and have both short and long answers to each point. Nevertheless, you are required to pay attention or listen carefully during the interview. Ensure you carry out proper research on the company before an interview to enable you to prepare appropriately for questions the interview is likely to ask.
6. Bring examples of your work
I have been called several times by hiring managers who expressed their delight at some of my candidates who came to the interview session with samples of their work. You also have the opportunity to do this. Make the most of printed words, it shows how prepared you are and this alone might just set you apart from other candidates. Idea: Some candidates take a copy of their most recent written review to the interview. Obviously, you should only do this if your evaluation is outstanding. Perhaps you could come with a graph or a chat that illustrates the actions you took that saved your old company some money or even how you improved their business.
Always couch your examples with the following line of logic:
• This was the situation at the time.
• This is what I did to remedy the situation.
• My actions yielded these results.
7. Clarify your "selling points" and the reasons you want the job.
Prepare to go into every interview with three to five key selling points in mind, such as what makes you the best candidate for the position. Have an example of each selling point prepared ("I have good communication skills. For example, I persuaded an entire group to ..."). And be prepared to tell the interviewer why you want that job – including what interests you about it, what rewards it offers that you find valuable, and what abilities it requires that you possess. If an interviewer doesn't think you're really, really interested in the job, he or she won't give you an offer – no matter how good you are!
8. Dress for Success
Plan out a wardrobe that fits the organization and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. Remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than under and to wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum. Try not to smoke or eat right before the interview and if possible, brush your teeth or use mouthwash.
9. Practice, practice, practice.
It's one thing to come prepared with a mental answer to a question like, "Why should we hire you?" It's another challenge entirely to say it out loud in a confident and convincing way. The first time you try it, you'll sound garbled and confused, no matter how clear your thoughts are in your own mind! Do it another 10 times, and you'll sound a lot smoother and more articulate.
But you shouldn't do your practicing when you're "on stage" with a recruiter; rehearse before you go to the interview. The best way to rehearse? Get two friends and practice interviewing each other in a "round robin": one person acts as the observer and the "interviewee" gets feedback from both the observer and the "interviewer." Go for four or five rounds, switching roles as you go. Another idea (but definitely second-best) is to tape record your answer and then play it back to see where you need to improve. Whatever you do, make sure your practice consists of speaking aloud. Rehearsing your answer in your mind won't cut it.
10. Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email, or Postal Mail
Common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; thus, the importance of thanking each person who interviews you should come as no surprise. Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you before you leave. Writing thank-you emails or notes shortly after the interview will not get you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other finalists who didn’t bother to send thank-you notes.