“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” –Alexander Graham Bell
“Fail to Plan and You Plan to Fail” –Benjamin Franklin
“Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.” ““Abraham Lincoln
You might be in the middle of a job search and currently have interviews lined up. We all know very well that planning is a very crucial part of the process, however, all the careful planning that you do can fall apart once anxiety sets in. This may sound daunting especially if it’s your first time but don’t let the thought overwhelm you. Instead, use this feeling as a motivator – it can also drive you to perform better!
Here are some tips to help you out before, during and after the interview:
Before the interview
- Do your homework. Look at the company website or blog to learn more about the company, what their key products and/or services are, which industries do they work in and how big they are in terms of employee size and revenue. It’s good to do a competitor research as well.
- Thoroughly read the job ad again, take note of the main responsibilities and required skills and map it to your own skills, educational background, and job experiences. If you have questions, jot them down so you don’t forget.
- At the beginning of an interview, candidates are usually asked “Can you walk me through your resume?” so it’s good to review your resume the day before. Print extra copies for your and the interviewer. Having spare copies shows initiative and preparation. These are strong qualities that the interviewer will take note of and appreciate.
- Choose an appropriate outfit. Your clothing choice doesn’t necessarily have to be high-end, you just need to make an effort to look presentable. This is also a sign of respect for the company as well as the person interviewing you. So pay attention to your grooming to leave a good first impression.
- Write all the details in your job interview journal if you have one. Take note of the company name, address, time of the interview and the name of the interviewer.
During the interview
- Be sure to turn up at the right place and the right time. If you think you’re lost and will be running late, it is common decency and professional courtesy to apologise for your lateness. Call and let them know your ETA.
- Make sure your phone and other electronic devices are on silent.
- Sell yourself (up to a certain degree). Present yourself with confidence but not to the point that you already sound like you are the only qualified candidate and the answer to your all of your employer’s problems.
- Choose your words wisely. You may encounter some common interview questions but try not to respond with empty clichÃ©s. Be unique, memorable, specific and keep it brief.
- Take down notes if necessary so you don’t forget important details.
- Show your personality for them to see if you will fit in with the company culture of their working environment.
- Towards the end of the interview, Make sure you’re clear about the next steps. Ask what the next process is and when and how you can expect to hear from them.
After the interview
- Drop a line to the interviewer and let him/her know that you appreciate his/her time and the opportunity you were given. This will speak volumes about your commitment to the position. If you didn’t get the job, you can ask for constructive feedback. This can help you do better in your next round of interviews with other companies in the future.
Keep in mind that getting prepared is a job itself. Sharpen the axe, as Lincoln said. A checklist is very useful but ticking all the boxes on your list will not be enough for you to land the job you like, you have to do more than that. But don’t stress, just do your best… You’ve got this!
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