How To Prepare For An Interview
So, your CV impressed, you’ve aced the job application, and now you’ve been selected for an interview. But how do you prepare for an interview effectively?
Whether this is your first interview or your hundredth one, there are still many strong interview techniques that you should be aware of.
We caught up with Sarah Ferguson, Business Manager at Eden Scott. Sarah works closely with our candidates, giving them valuable guidance on how to prepare for an interview.
In this blog, we’re sharing Sarah’s best tips and tricks for nailing your next interview.
- How to enter an interview
- Using the STAR interview technique
- Questions to ask an interviewer
- How long to prepare for an interview
- How to prepare for a Zoom interview
- What to do after your interview
Take Inspiration From Other Teachers
Luckily for us TEFLers, whether we teach online or in person, there are endless resources at our disposal. A classic example is Youtube, where youll find a number of certified online teachers sharing their interview tips, demo lesson examples, and generally imparting wisdom. You might not even have to go as far as to open a new tab: here on i-to-i, theres a catalogue of Webinars with an online teaching focus, courtesy of our resident experts!
While we all have our unique teaching style, theres always room to take inspiration from lesson observations. Whether it be gestures and hand movements, pacing, or behavioural management, I can guarantee youll find something to put your own spin on!
Set The Scene And Minimize Distractions
While testing your technology, determine where to take the interview. Find a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window, or a blank wall to guarantee youre the focal point of the conversation. Whether you sit on your living room couch or in your home office, tidy up your surroundings. Its hard to convince employers youre detail-oriented and organized when theres laundry visibly piling up in the corner.
Once settled, eliminate all distractions. Turn off the TV, silence your cell phone, and close any nearby windows to muffle neighborhood traffic.
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What Do You Expect Out Of Your Team/co
This question is meant to understand how you work on a team and whether you will be the right cultural fit for the company. To prepare for this answer, make sure you research the company ahead of time. You can always tell a little bit about what a companys culture is like by looking through their social media profiles or reading their reviews on Glassdoor.
Perform Research On The Company And Role
Researching the company youre applying to is an important part of preparing for an interview. Not only will it help provide context for your interview conversations, but it will also help you when preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers.
Researching the company and role as much as possible will give you an edge over the competition. Not only that, but fully preparing for an interview will help you remain calm so that you can be at your best. Here are a few things you should know before you walk into your interview:
Research the product or service:Even if the role isn’t directly related to the company’s product or service, you’re still looking to be part of the team. It’s important to learn all you can about the product or service the company produces and promotes. You don’t necessarily need to understand each and every detail, especially if it’s a technical product, and you’re interviewing for a non-technical position, but you should have a basic understanding of the main products or services the company offers.
If possible, request a sample of the product to familiarize yourself with the customers perspective. The more you can tell them about the product from both a company and customer standpoint, the better you’ll perform in your interview.
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Consider Your Answers To Common Interview Questions
While you wont be able to predict every question youll be asked in an interview, there are a few common questions you can plan answers for. You might also consider developing an elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are, what you do and what you want.
There are some jobs that may involve a test or evaluation during the interview process. For example, if you are interviewing for a computer programming, development or analytics role, you might also be asked to write or evaluate lines of code. It might be helpful to consult with colleagues in the industry for examples of tests theyve been given to prepare.
You should also prepare to discuss your salary expectations, just in case. If youre unsure about what salary is appropriate to ask for the position youre applying to, visit Indeed’s Salary Calculator to get a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry and experience.
Here are a few examples of common interview questions:
Why do you want to work here?The best way to prepare for this question is to learn about the products, services, mission, history and culture of the company. In your answer, mention the aspects of the company that appeal to you and align with your career goals.
Example:Id love the opportunity to work with a company thats making a difference. Finding a company with a positive work environment and values that align with my own has remained a priority throughout my job search, and this company ranks at the top of the list.
What Not To Ask In An Online Interview
While its important to know what youll be getting into if you get this position, there are some questions that you shouldnt ask in an interview. Some of them may be appropriate once you get a job offer , but they are never appropriate in the initial interview process.
Here are some examples of questions that will make you seem lazy, uninterested, or entitled in a job interview:
What does the person in this job do?
What does this company do?
How quickly can I get promoted?
When can I start taking my vacation days?
How often do I have to actually come into the office?
Do you have a dress code?
What benefits do you provide?
Do I get an employee discount?
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Take Advantage Of The Remote Setup
Although a distance interview has some drawbacks, it could also play in your favor.
The interviewer can’t see anything behind the camera or on the table.
Therefore, you can use it as an opportunity to leave notes in front of you just in case you need a bit of help at any stage during the interview process.
Use post-its to note down any relevant data you don’t want to forget, questions that might impress the recruiter, or phrases to jog your memory or switch to a different subject if, for whatever reason, you lose your train of thought.
Monitor Your Body Language
You cant firmly shake a hiring managers hand or as easily exude enthusiasm via video. But what you can do is monitor your body language.
The main way to communicate confidence is to sit up straight, smile, and keep the camera at eye level. Research shows that employers are more likely to remember what you said if you maintain eye contact, so keep your focus on the camera when talking, not on the image of the hiring manager.
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On The Day Of The Interview
Create a good impression by being early. This way you have ample time to log in or to fix any connection issues that may arise beforehand.
2. Test all equipment
Conduct a trial run at least an hour before the interview. Practice your sitting posture and angle via the webcam before the interview to ensure everything is working. Repeat the same routine about 30 minutes before the interview.
3. Appearance and attire
Dress appropriately for the job you are seeking. Generally, business casual is the preferred choice. Although you may be seated, it is advisable to wear proper shoes, especially when you are required to stand and greet your interviewer online.
The right attire creates a good first impression. Dont forget to test how you appear on the webcam beforehand!
Be sure to switch off all apps or programs that could disrupt the interview. Put your phone on silent mode and switch off alarms and any other devices. Keep your pets away, too!
5. Body languageMaintain eye contact with the interviewer and smile when necessary. Look into the camera when you are speaking and not at the interviewers face on the screen and lean in occasionally. This will show the interviewer that you are engaged and not distracted by anything around you. Good posture is important to convey a positive image and keep your hands on your lap.
6. Speaking, Listening and Taking Notes
Here Are Some Examples Of Good Questions To Ask An Interviewer:
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How To Prepare For An Online Interview: Before The Day Of Your Interview
With virtual interviews, there are many things to consider prior to the day of your interview that you dont need to think about for an in-person meeting. Below are some things you can do ahead of time to make sure your online interview goes smoothly.
Learn more:10 Interview Questions to Ask
Consider Your Body Language
It is harder to read body language through a video, so be especially aware of your nonverbal cues. Remember to smile and nod when the interviewer speaks. Sit up straight and act as you would during an in-person interview. You obviously will not be able to shake hands when signing off, so you will need to show your professionalism and good manners in other ways.
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Tips For Acing An Online Job Interview
COVID-19 has impacted a lot of thingsincluding how we restrict face-to-face interactions. Many interviews are now taking place virtually, especially in the early stages of the talent search.
In recent years, online job interviews have become more popular and many companies, including Hilton, are regularly using technology to conduct preliminary interviews. During the pandemic, job interviews for nearly every stage of the hiring process became the norm.
While online interviews are similar to traditional, in-person meetings, they have some major differences that candidates should be prepared for.
Get To Know The Star Method
The STAR Method is a classic approach to answering behavioral interview questions. It allows you to turn a generic response into a compelling story. Thats why, when youre trying to figure out how to prepare for a job interview, learning the STAR Method is a must.
While we took a deep dive into the STAR Method before, heres an overview. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. Its an approach for outlining how an event arose and played out, making it ideal for structuring how you discuss an accomplishment.
With the STAR Method, you can make sure the hiring manager has every critical detail. Youre showing them how you put your skills to work, giving them important context about how you perform on the job.
Log On Early And Test Setup
Being on time is really being about 10 minutes early. For a virtual, first-time interview, you may want to make sure you are ready to go 15-20 minutes early. If this sounds like a lot, just remember: In a normal interview, you would probably be getting ready, driving, parking and finding the right room before the interview.
In this situation, setting up the computer and logging in is essentially the parking part of your interview process. Make sure everything works and then you can hang out until about 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time.
Pro Tip: ALWAYS act like your interviewer can hear and see everything you are doing. Getting in the habit of feeling watched during the session will help you not do something strange because you forget people are in the room or dont realize your camera is on. From the moment you log in until the moment you close the screen, just assume they can hear and see everything.
Carefully Examine The Job Description
During your prep work, you should use the employers posted job description as a guide. The job description is a list of the qualifications, qualities and background the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. The more you can align yourself with these details, the more the employer will be able to see that you are qualified. The job description may also give you ideas about questions the employer may ask throughout the interview.
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Let The Other Person Finish Speaking
This is good life advice in general, but over video chat, jumping in with your response too soon can mute the other persons mic and cut them off entirelymaking you seem rude even if you didnt intend to be. Plus with internet lag, its not always immediately apparent whether someone is done speaking or just pausing. So once you think your interviewer is done, take a beat before you answer. If you have trouble with this, get in the habit of muting yourself while the other person is speakingthat way the action of turning the mic back on forces you to give them a little extra time to keep talking.
What To Ask In An Online Interview
Here are some examples of questions you should ask your interviewer at the end of the meeting:
What do you like best about working here?
Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
What is the staff turnover rate? How long did the person who previously held this position work there?
What is a typical day like for someone in this position?
What challenges come with this position?
What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
What does success look like for someone in this position?
What professional development opportunities do you offer your staff?
Is there anything we havent covered that is important for me to know about working here?
Our resume builder tool will walk you through the process of creating a stand-out Architect resume.
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Make Sure Your Tech Is Working
The last thing you need during an online interview is for your laptop or tablet to start playing up.
The distraction of malfunctioning hardware will only make you feel more nervous.
Not only that but, even if a glitching device isn’t your fault and it will happen from time to time, it may cause a prospective employer to wonder whether it may be a regular occurrence.
Make sure to check your Wifi connection, that your devices are updated and working quickly, that you have a backup device in case your first choice fails, and make sure you have installed, updated, and know how to use the program on which your interview will be conducted.
From knowing how to change the volume on the software to ensuring your camera and microphone are connected, make sure you test everything out well ahead of the interview it may even be worth testing this out with a family member or friend.
Why Should We Hire You
When asked this question, keep in mind that the recruiter is looking to hear what skills you have that youre going to bring to the team. Dont give a vague answer, such as, Im friendly and a hard worker. Instead, be specific, summarize your work history and achievements, and use numbers when possible.
For example, say how many years of experience you have or name some of the accomplishments you made at your last company. The more specific you can be about what your skills are and how valuable of an employee you are, the better the interviewer will be able to picture you working there.
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Any form of computer-mediated communication in the format of video , email, etc. which is related to the hiring process can be termed as an Online interview. Since the medium of this type of interview is different, therefore it involves a distinct set of ethics. Thats why there are many disparities between online interviews and conventional face-to-face interviews. As the work from home culture predominantly increases, online interviews have become a reality across all industries.