Read And Review The Job Description
Youve received a call for that dream job, so how do you prepare for the interview? The first step in the preparation process should be to go back and review the job description. Most job descriptions follow a similar pattern and are usually categorised by the following points:
- Job title/Department
- Duties and tasks
- Skills required
The job title and department will give you an understanding of the major purpose of the position and where the role fits into the organisation, allowing you to discover who your potential line manager could be.
Read and review the job description very thoroughly and be sure to align your competencies with the skills required for the job. You will consequently ready yourself for questions around your previous experiences, performing similar duties in other organisations.
Interviews Can Be Nerve
- Some of the most common mistakes job candidates make are not following up, following up too much and arriving late to the interview.
- Hiring managers mess up by not remaining objective, allowing social media to influence their decisions or talking too much.
- If you do mess up, the best thing you can do is acknowledge it quickly and rectify your mistake.
The interview is the toughest part of the job application process it can be nerve-wracking and intense, and it’s often difficult to prepare for. Mistakes are easy to make when you’re nervous, and the unfortunate truth is that sometimes one mistake is enough to take you out of the running.
It’s not just job candidates under pressure, either. Interviewers are just as prone to making pressure-induced mistakes.
Business News Daily spoke to hiring experts to learn the most common mistakes job candidates and interviewers make during the interviewing process, as well as how you can recover if you do slip up.
What To Expect During A Job Interview
Whether you are in high school, college, a recent college graduate, or you have been out of the workforce, your job interview does not have to be an intimidating experience. An interview is an opportunity for both you and the employer to decide whether or not you are a good fit.
Here is a step-by-step description of a typical interview, with details on what to expect throughout the process.
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Other Applicant Discrimination: Weight And Pregnancy
Job applicants who are underweight , overweight or obese may face discrimination in the interview. The negative treatment of overweight and obese individuals may stem from beliefs that weight is controllable and those who fail to control their weight are lazy, unmotivated, and lack self-discipline. Underweight individuals may also be subject to appearance-related negative treatment. Underweight, overweight and obese applicants are not protected from discrimination by any current United States laws. However, some individuals who are morbidly obese and whose obesity is due to a physiological disorder may be protected against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Employers are using social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to obtain additional information about job applicants. While these sites may be useful to verify resume information, profiles with pictures also may reveal much more information about the applicant, including issues pertaining to applicant weight and pregnancy. Some employers are also asking potential job candidates for their social media logins which has alarmed many privacy watch dogs and regulators.
Tips For During The Interview
After youve spent time preparing, you can be successful on interview day by practicing these tips:
9. Plan your interview attire the night before. If youre speaking to a recruiter before the interview, you can ask them about the dress code in the workplace and choose your outfit accordingly. If you dont have someone to ask, research the company to learn whats appropriate.
10. Bring copies of your resume, a notebook and pen. Take at least five copies of your printed resume on clean paper in case of multiple interviewers. Highlight specific accomplishments on your copy that you can easily refer to and discuss. Bring a pen and a small notebook. Prepare to take notes, but not on your smartphone or another electronic device. Write information down so that you can refer to these details in your follow-up thank-you notes. Maintain eye contact as much as possible. For more, visit What to Bring to the Interview.
11. Plan your schedule so that you can arrive 1015 minutes early. Map out your route to the interview location so you can be sure to arrive on time. Consider doing a practice run. If youre taking public transportation, identify a backup plan if there are delays or closures.
Tip: When you arrive early, use the extra minutes to observe workplace dynamics.
18. Keep your answers concise and focused. Your time with each interviewer is limited so be mindful of rambling. Practicing your answers beforehand can help keep you focused.
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You Click With The Interviewer
Some things are just meant to be, and it can feel that way if you instantly have a rapport with the person interviewing you. The best interviews are the ones that tend to feel more casual and open. You may feel as though youre talking with an old friend instead of a potential employer.
Its still essential to maintain a professional demeanor, no matter what. But, if you notice that you and your interviewer seem to have a connection, it could be a good sign. Part of hiring someone is based on their personality, not just their ability to work.
If the person interviewing you likes your personality, you may have a better chance of getting hired. They might think that you could add something to the business and help to motivate or inspire others.
The Interview Was Much Shorter Than You Expected
Example: You went into an interview with a lot of material to cover, as per the job description. You expected the interview to be at least a half-hour. The interview ended up being only ten minutes, and you could not cover all of your job history and education. This may have happened because the hiring manager noticed right away that you werent a good fit.
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The Interview Phase: The Beginning
Your interview may take place at your high school or college, but generally it will take place at the companys office or virtually using web-based technology. Once you arrive, you may be asked to wait until the hiring manager is ready to see you.
Most interviews are one-on-one interviews with the manager or supervisor with whom you would be working most closely at the company. Occasionally, you will interview with a human resources employee who conducts the companys hiring processes.
You Didnt Connect Or Bond With The Interviewer
Different interviewers and hiring managers have different styles in the interview process. Some may joke with you and ask their interview questions in a casual format, while others are dead-serious.
So dont just judge this one sign on its own and panic. However, if you noticed some other signs above that the interview went poorly, and the interviewer also didnt really bond with you at all via humor, small-talk, etc., then its not a good sign.
This could mean the interview didnt go well in general. Or, it can indicate that the interviewer didnt see you as a good fit for the company culture.
However, if the interviewer was quiet and serious, but did take the time to ask you some questions about yourself and get to know you as a person, it might just be that their job interview style is to keep the conversation dry and professional.
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They Keep Going Over The Same Information With You
Example: This can be similar to the situation above. Rather than asking the same questions repeatedly about something on your resume. The hiring manager may keep asking you about gaps in employment history. Reasons you left your previous or past job. Or why you think a specific skill set is ideal for this prospective position. Often, this means that the interviewer has a lot of concerns about different issues surrounding how suitable you are. And you werent thorough enough at putting them at ease. Keep in mind that if the hiring manager is asking you a lot of questions about something positive. Such as an award or achievement, it could mean that theyre interested in learning more about you.
How Should You Get In Touch
If the deadline date does come and go, drop the employer an email or pick up the phone. Email works best if you know your employer has back-to-back meetings most days. If its a small business, or you know your interviewer will be at their desk for a certain time, pick up the phone and call them instead.
Whichever way you decide to get in touch, remember to keep it short and courteous. Politely ask when you should expect to hear back about the position.
Its important to be persistent without pestering. Call once and if you dont hear back give it two business days before calling again. The same applies with email you want to stay at the top of their inbox without spamming their account!
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Put Your Phone On Silent
You’d be surprised by how many times I’ve seen this happen.
From the hiring manager’s perspective, a phone going off during an interview is a short but lethal sin it shows carelessness and a lack of respect.
Turn your phone off or put it on silent before you reach the front door of the building. Should you forget, and your phone pings a message or rings with an incoming call, never answer it.
Be Ready For The Small Talk
Getting the small talk right can have big consequences. Its a way for people to build rapport and affinity, and start to generate that elusive, intangible quality of chemistry that characterises all effective business relationships.
So as part of your interview preparation, its a good idea to think ahead to some likely topics that might come up, so as to help keep the conversation flowing smoothly. The key is to come up with topics where you have a shared interest, so that youre able to both ask and answer credible questions.
For example, if you see a picture of your interviewers family, perhaps you could ask about them and be ready with a family anecdote of your own. Or if youre a sports fan and you spot signs that your interviewer is too, perhaps you could ask a suitable question that youve also got an interesting answer to .
Think, too, about topical themes. For example, has your potential employer been in the news recently? Or could you ask about the potential impact on the company of a recent development, such as Brexit or falling share prices or a serious malware attack? In each case, make sure you have an interesting thought of your own to contribute too.
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Let Someone Else Clean Up Your Social Media Profile
Theres always that sense of dread after firing off a job application: what if the employer decides to look you up on Facebook or Twitter? What exactly will they find if they do?
You have every right to be concerned. Research suggests that 91% of employers do in fact peruse candidates social media accounts for any red flags that could influence their decision whether or not to hire them.
Cue frantic scramble through grainy photos of long-forgotten high school escapades and sixth form leavers trips to Magaluf. Save yourself the hassle by downloading the Social Sweepster app.
This handy tool scrolls through your online profiles seeking out beer bottles, cigarettes and other undesirable images. You can also set it to look for inappropriate language in your posts.
You can then rest easy knowing that your interviewers first impression of you wont be that of a beer-swilling miscreant.
Plan Your Travel Arrangements
Coordinate how and when you will arrive at your interview. Make sure to map your route and leave plenty of time for travel and potential traffic. Arriving early for your interview is a great way to show your interviewer that you are punctual. Arrange to leave early should traffic become an issue. Have the address of the location readily available if you need to reference it.
If something out of your control comes up, keep your interviewers contact information on hand, as well, in case you need to call them and make them aware of the situation. If your interview will take place in an area close to you, its a good idea to visit the surrounding location in advance to scope out parking and traffic so you know what to expect the day of your interview.
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Learn About The Company’s Story Products And Services
People miss this one all the time: They go into an interview without a strong understanding of what the company does.
Just knowing the basics isn’t enough. Learn all you can about the company its history, leadership team, current successes and challenges. If possible, get the company’s products and services: Buy them, try them and talk to people who use them.
And use your head in the interview. If you’re meeting with PepsiCo and you’re offered a beverage, don’t ask for a Coke.
Greater knowledge about the company’s customers will also help you present your skills and experiences in context. You’ll appear more relevant to the hiring manager, and the more relevant you are, the better the connection you’ll make.
Prepare To Talk About Specific Accomplishments
Most people go into their interview and make general statements and talk in very general terms. To set yourself apart, you want to prepare specific examples and talk about DETAILS. Facts, numbers and real accomplishments.
Hint: this is true on your resume also. Youll get far more interviews if you cram your resume with facts, figures and statistics instead of general statements like responsible for handling customer requests.
So when the hiring manager asks what you accomplished in your last job, or what you do each day, you should be ready to impress! This is not the time to hesitate or be unsure. Prepare ahead of time for this.
If youre looking for your first job without any work experience, then think about accomplishments in your academic career classes youve taken, projects youve completed, etc. Thats your most relevant experience!
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The Interviewer Spent A Lot Of Time Going Over And Over The Same Points With You
Thats usually a sign the interview went badly, or that the interviewer had concerns about a specific point and you didnt put their mind at ease .
Of course, it could also be a good sign and an indication that theyre excited about a piece of experience and want to hear more.
Heres an example of when multiple interview questions about a topic is a good thing:
Imagine that they ask a few interview questions about your most recent job, and you say you led a team of five people.
Now imagine the interviewer says, Oh wow, I didnt realize from your resume that you were leading those people directly. Tell me more about your leadership experience and interaction with those people.
You might say, Well, I managed their projects, delegated tasks, and conducted all of their trainings. The only thing I didnt do was their performance reviews, hiring, and firing.
Them: Very interesting. How would you describe your leadership when it comes to delegating tasks?
This type of natural conversation and chain of questioning is a positive sign when interviewing.
Its just when interviewers keep circling back to the exact same topic that its a bad sign.
In that case, the interviewer may have a serious concern or misunderstanding that theyre trying to address about your skills or past responsibilities.
Learn From The Interview Process
After an interview, dont just wait by the phone. Watching your incoming calls and constantly checking your inbox will add to your nerves, and its futile. The employer will get in contact when theyre ready and, unfortunately, hitting the refresh button on your inbox wont hurry them along.
Rather than twiddling your thumbs, use this in-between time to reflect on your performance. It’s helpful to think objectively about how you came across in the interview, what your strengths were and what you can work on for next time. There’s always room for improvement, and there’s plenty of opportunity to put your ideas into practice after all, the average person changes jobs five times during their career.
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Common Interview Preparation Mistakes To Avoid
When it comes to preparing for an interview, the biggest mistake you can make is not doing it at all. Even if youre a highly-skilled professional overflowing with potential and natural poise, you cant assume that is enough.
On average, it takes five job interviews before youll land a job.
Plus, 57 percent of professionals say theyve had a job interview go poorly. Thats more than half of all professionals, people who know their jobs well and are likely at least reasonably successful.
An interview isnt like a normal conversation with a colleague. Instead, youre being tested, put on the spot, and asked to defend your resume. Some questions are designed to put you back on your heels. Others are so open-ended, that its easy to drift off-topic.
Preparation allows you to be at your best when that fateful interview day arrives. Youll have great answers just waiting to be deployed, and a strategy that can help you navigate the unexpected. In turn, youll be more likely to succeed, making all of the effort worthwhile.
However, thats not the only misstep aspiring new hires make. Choosing the wrong mock interview questions can also hurt you. For example, some candidates spend all of their time on generic interview questions. Sure, you need to be ready for classics like, Tell me about yourself and What motivates you? but you also need to be prepared to face off against field- or job-specific ones, too.