The purpose of an interview is to convince a potential employer that you are the candidate best fit for a position. You should demonstrate that you possess the necessary skill, motivation, temperament, personality, and qualification for the job you have applied for. How do you prepare for an interview?
Preparation for an interview begins with the invitation to the interview. Invitation can be via telephone or email. Keep the interaction professional – avoid using informal language. If invited via telephone, note down the name of the person that called and the details of the interview – date, time, and venue. If any details are unclear, ask for further clarification. If unmentioned, it is important to ask what documents you will be required to bring to the interview.
Research the company profile. Update your knowledge of the areas of operation of the organization, its vision and mission statements, and its flagship products. Find out any recent milestone achievements of the company and any new changes in the industry within which it operates. Note down any changes in legislation or ongoing national debate concerning the industry of interest. Note media coverage on the organization – good or bad. This demonstrates an awareness of current affairs. Knowing of the business of your prospective employer and the current events in their industry of operation can inform you on the right personal and professional strengths to leverage during the interview.
Research the recruitment process of the organization. The recruitment process will specify the different stages of interviews that the organization has before offering permanent employment. The company website is usually a good source of recruitment information. Online forums such as Glassdoor are also a good source of information on what to expect from the interview process. This will narrow down the level of preparation required for each stage of the interview process.
Go through the job description. Familiarize yourself with the job description noting down the requirements and qualifications of the job. Perform a side-by-side comparison of the job description with your updated resume. Single out the skills, qualifications, achievements, and experience in the resume that make you a good fit for the role.
Practice answering interview questions. It is strongly recommended that you know your entire resume by heart and that you can well explain your employment and education history. Some of the most common questions asked in interviews are:
- Tell us about yourself
- Why did you choose our organization?
- Why should we hire you? What skills make you suitable for this job?
- If we were to ask a former colleague to describe you in one sentence, what would they say?
- Tell us of a time you faced a difficulty, and how you overcame it
- Tell us of a time that a colleague criticized you, and how you responded
- What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?
- Why did you leave your last place of employment?
Always be honest. Organizations conduct background checks on potential employees and any lies discovered after being offered permanent employment are grounds for dismissal.
Formulate your responses to these questions in light of the role you are being interviewed for.
The interview usually ends with the interviewer asking whether the interviewee has any questions. Therefore, it is important to prepare some questions about the job or working at the company that might not be covered in the interview or on the company website.
Get enough sleep on the night before the interview. Dress officially for the interview and aim to show up at least thirty minutes before the time of the interview in case there are lengthy check-in processes for the organization. Be articulate, project confidence, be calm, establish eye contact with the interviewers and manage your facial reactions to the interviewers.