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Getting Ready For A Job Interview


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Getting ready for a job interview can be one of those anxiety provoking situations that we are prone to face at any point in our professional lives. Whether newly graduating, or shifting to a new job, you could make use of some tips to get a favorable impression when you’re at it. You’ll find, below, few requirements that serve every stage of the process.

Allow me to start by posing a simple question: What do you think the first thing the interviewer sees? No, not your face. No, not your attire. They see your CV (i.e. Curriculum Vitae). It’s the first thing that gets their attention. Even if you had little experience, your CV tells a lot about you. Do some good researches on CV design, writing, format, etc… before you complete your own. It can evolve to give a very good impression about your creativity, organization, your social make up and interests. Do include the latter because these enhance your image and potentials. You might need to tailor your CV for the specific job you’re applying for to include more, or less depending on the job requirements.

So you got your CV all ready, sent it, and it was impressive enough to get you that preliminary interview. How do you further prepare?

Home preparations: It may be necessary to revise any pertinent material relevant to the position you’re applying for. Prepare a file of more copies of your CV, application, portfolio, references, and other documents you may need to take a long with you. Learn about the target organization (i.e. their strategy and vision). As you get to know the organization you’re applying for, prepare some smart questions about it and rehearse the answers for common questions about you. Get clear about the location of the interview and how long it would take you to arrive there. Finally, prepare your attire for the interview a day before and get a good night sleep. As prepare, visualize the best scenario of the interview when you’ll be sitting there with confidence replying to all the questions posed in the most composed way. Anxiety is provoked, usually, by imagining the worst case scenario.

On interview premises: In order to arrive there in a good energized state, it helps if you sing an upbeat promising song along your way.  Arrive 10 minutes early and take some time to freshen up (e.g. check yourself in the mirror). It is important to start giving a good impression by greeting the staff when you arrive (they too will be studying your moves). If you’re not sure about the pronunciation of your interviewer’s name, double check it with the secretary. Put your phone on silent. As you wait for your turn, avoid listening to your Ipod, playing mobile games, or talking on the phone. Observe, instead, what’s going on around you. You may have more material to talk about during the interview. Visualize, again, you’re being your best during the interview and how relaxed you will be while speaking.

The first encounter with your interviewer: so you go inside the office and naturally it’s time to greet. Maintain good eye contact as you offer a firm handshake topped with a smile. In a forceful high energy voice, introduce yourself and address your interviewer by their name preceded by their proper title (i.e. Mr., Dr., Ms., ….). Careful in calling a Ms. Mrs..

The interview process: As you sit down getting even readier for the process, scan the office around you. You need to identify something you like about it (to compliment); and other cues that point to common grounds you might have with your interviewer. These can be addressed as you effectively communicate to reflect what a great addition you could be for the position you’re applying for. Don’t hesitate to clarify any question you did not understand; and offer examples of your skills when you’re replying to questions while relating your answers to the organization. Check the review of guidelines for “Effective Communication: Guidelines and Tips” here. These focus in details on several essentials; mainly:

–          Proper use of your voice and body language to convey confidence and a relaxed attitude.

–          Establish rapport by matching your interviewer’s voice, body language, and words used. This is when you’d want to use the commonalities you found between both of you to get them to like you better.

–          Maintain eye contact as you speak. It serves establishing a connection and reflects confidence. Don’t let your eyes wander everywhere, stare at your shoes, or get fixated on a wall frame.

–          Be a good listener during the interview to properly answer their questions (never interrupt them speaking).

–          Empathize with your interviewer in wanting the best fit to the position; hence, you can offer being a good fit.

–          Address your interviewer frequently by name (and title). This will seem like flattery to them.

–          Ask good questions to get them to talk about what they need (this will help you sell yourself better).

–          Use positive words to convey any idea you’re addressing.

Wrapping up the interview: Ask if there is anything you can still do to facilitate their decision. Seal the deal by making sure you understand the next step in the hiring process (i.e. when and from who to expect an answer).

Some additional “Do”s: Make sure you had a shower and brushed your teeth for the interview. Go alone to the interview (i.e. no friend or parent). Sit still in your seat (no fidgeting or slouching). Be honest; be yourself. Treat the interview seriously and have a positive attitude. Implicitly convey you’re determined to get the job. Show what you can do to the company and not vice versa. Stay relaxed and hide any frustration you may have because of the process. Finally, be friendly. You’d want to give the impression that you’re a pleasant person to work with.

Some “Don’t”s: Don’t chew gum, or smell of smoke. Don’t wear strong cologne either. Don’t make excuses for earlier life or professional choices you made. Act responsible. Don’t criticize previous employer/professors. Don’t treat the interviewer casually as a friend (and this does not conflict with being friendly). Don’t give the impression that you’re only interested in the company’s geographic location. Don’t inquire about the salary or benefits until it’s brought up by interviewer. Don’t try to overly impress (talk about your achievements in context and match these to what they’re looking for). Don’t act desperate for employment (or ready to take anything for that matter). Finally, don’t offer negative information about yourself by bringing up personal, health, or family issues (these are for your doctor, therapist, or life coach).

Post interview action steps: Take notes of critical details you need to remember. Re-evaluate your performance when you’re done. This was yet another experience to learn from in order to improve. Evaluate your interviewer and the organization. Were you treated with respect? If not, you can always file a complaint to a director. Write a thank you note/email (within 24h) re-iterating your interest in the position. Follow up with a phone call or email if you have been waiting too long for a reply.

Lastly, unless you’re fired up with enthusiasm to give a good professional impression, you won’t be hired with enthusiasm for the profession. Go ROCK’em!!!

All the best…..

 

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