The job interview is without a doubt the most important stepping stone in an individual’s career. It is a test of one’s knowledge, skills and presence of mind. An interviewer would meet many candidates and select probably just one of them. So success in the job interview needs careful planning and preparation. This article discusses practical tips to prepare for a job interview.
The interview is just like any other activity and needs to be planned properly to achieve desired results.
The first step in planning is to know the organization. Thanks to the internet and social media, information about the company can be found out easily. One needs to understand what the company does, its vision, its goals, products offered and also about the management. Understanding the organization would help the candidate to prepare well for the interview.
Apart from knowing about the company, being well-versed about the industry and the company’s competitors is an added advantage. An interviewer would definitely be impressed with a candidate who is knowledgeable about the industry as also present trends.
The first few minutes of the interview acts as the clincher. As they say, the first impression is the best impression. The first few minutes of interaction where the interviewer in all likelihood asks the candidate to introduce himself/herself would determine the candidate’s fate. The introduction must be powerful and must clearly convey the candidate’s knowledge and skills and showcase his/her confidence. Proper preparation for a self-introduction is vital. A candidate would do well to write down a self-introduction, which explains how he/she is suitable for the position applied. The self-introduction must not take more than two minutes and should focus more on the qualification, skills and aptitude rather than dwelling on personal and family details. The candidate should remember that the resume is in front of the interview, so repeating what is already given doesn’t help. The introduction should be a crisp and precise summary of the entire resume.
Practice makes a man (and a woman) perfect. Practising answers to the questions with friends or in front of a mirror help to improve one’s confidence. The self-introduction needs to be practised thoroughly, making sure that it is not learned by rote. Effective preparation involves making a list of possible questions that could be asked and prepare answers to these questions. The combination of preparation and practice helps to gain confidence.
On the interview day
One the big day arrives, the candidate needs to firstly ensure that he/she knows the venue for the interview and leaves home well in advance to reach on time. A well-dressed and presentable candidate would always make a good impression on the interviewer. Being properly groomed is important. Research on the organization would tell how to dress – formals or ‘business casuals’. Nothing would be more embarrassing than going for an interview in t-shirt and jeans and finding the interviewer decked up in a suit and tie. Dress matters and so also personal hygiene.
Preparing an interview docket with copies of resume and other credentials (educational certificates, training certificate, experience letters, testimonials, etc) is essential. Candidate must carry this during the interview. It would be advisable to include copies of sample work, project reports, etc. in the docket.
On reaching the venue, the candidate must make sure to report to the front desk so that the interviewer is aware of the candidate’s arrival on time. And in case the candidate is late, the candidate must apologize without trying to give excuses and hope for the best.
Confidence is the key
Practice and preparation are the two mantras to gain confidence. Practising deep breathing techniques just before entering the interview room would help to relax the body and mind. During the interview, listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking and think and answer calmly. Self-confidence, composure and demonstrating a positive attitude goes a long way in succeeding in an interview.