Welcome to judgement. Whatever the job or company, it is an inevitable part of the job hunt.
Perhaps you have been told before or maybe you have taken a module on interview skills, whatever the case, I invite you to think about the following…
What are interviewers looking to determine during the interview process? They are evaluating:
- Your attitude
- Your aptitude
- Your confidence level
- Your communication skills
- Your fit to the organisation
To help you have an easier time at each stage, here are some areas to keep a look out for:
This is your first chance to make any impression. Although it has been said over and over again in any career advice, it is always overlooked: proofread, proofread & proofread. Résumés with grammar or spelling errors are likely to be thrown away or overlooked when you are vying against the hundreds of candidate applications.
Also, review the content of your Résumé against the five points mentioned earlier and ask yourself if what you’ve written is the image that you want to project.
When applying for a job, know the company that you are applying for. It shows your interest to the employer when you have “done your homework”. It gives a good impression of you and helps you to also understand if the organisation and role is right for you.
This should be done before you apply for the job (not just before you show up for an interview). For example: many applicants have zero or little idea about what a company does, before deciding to apply for a position. This lack of interest becomes evident when a recruiter decides to make an initial phone call to a shortlisted candidates. Know that during such a phone call, this is when recruiters have already started to evaluate you and your suitability. Picking up such a phone call and saying things like “Sorry, what application was this for?” or even “What is the name of your company again?”, is definitely not going to help you get the job.
The in-person interview is very much like a performance. Rehearse your answers to common interview questions (you can easily Google for them). Check your body language and key pointers are;
- Firm (not hard) handshake.
- Upright posture.
- Make eye contact when you speak (but remember to blink). If you are uncomfortable, just look at their forehead.
- Check your tone of voice; this conveys so much then your actual words.
- Importantly; smile.
Among other things, candidates often forget that an interview should be a two-way discussion between the recruiter and you.
You are not there to get interrogated. You are there to ask questions and find out more about how it is like to be working at their organisation and why the organisation might be a good fit for you.
So go prepared to ask questions about the organisation, here are some questions that you should be asking:
- What is the culture like in the team that I’ll be working in?
- What is the most successful person in the team like? What makes him/her successful?
- Do you think that I might be a good fit for the team? Or are there areas that I am currently lacking that may be a concern? (This is an important questions to ask. It allows you to understand if there might be areas about yourself that might not have been covered in your resume or in your conversation with them. This enables you to address them early and hopefully convince them that you are the person that they are looking for.)
You can also work on other areas to better prepare yourself:
- Always try to arrive 15 minutes before time
- Empty pockets; no bulges or items that might jiggle
- Clean breath; no cigarettes or food smells
Finally, the one common mistake that I have seen graduates make is this: Not saying thank you. This can happen in two instances:
At the end of the interview;
While this is not as common, some candidates may forget. Know that the recruiter has spent time to review your application and carved time aside to speak with you. A small word of appreciation doesn’t mean much, but when you don’t say it, it says a lot.
Sending a thank you email;
Some candidates find this unnecessary, especially when they have said their thanks at the end of the interview. Yes, you have said your thanks, but this email is an opportunity to do a few things:
- Express your gratitude.
- Reaffirm your interest in the role.
- Remind the recruiter why you are the best candidate for the position.
Good luck for your job hunt!