Have you just received a call back from a potential employer who has browsed through your resume or LinkedIn profile and thought you are probably a good match for their vacancy? Congratulations! Now it's time to prepare for the job interview that will determine whether or not you will be hired or not.
Job interviews could be the single most difficult step in the hiring process. It's challenging for both employers and candidates because it requires both sides to read so much into the person on the other side of the table, so the right person is chosen for the right place.
Whether the interview is going to be held in person or via one of the video conferencing services, there is a number of steps through which you can impress the hiring committee and be at least among the shortlisted candidates, until you're hopefully offered the job.
1. Do your research
Once you receive the phone call and set your reminder for details of the job interview, start by researching the organization that could be your next workplace.
Online, you will mostly be able to find a website, in addition to social media pages that will help you develop a better understanding of the position you're applying for and the team you might join.
Try to know all the key facts about the organization, such as the date of its foundation, its board of directors, size of branch or teams, whether it has international branches or other local ones.
2. Prepare your answers in light of the organization's vision
While most people would read the "About us" part of a website, they are most likely to ignore the "our vision" page, even though it highlights the objectives and long-term goals the company is trying to achieve.
Going through questions that you might expect during the interview, try to draft your answers in ways that always address the organization's vision to show that you're on the same page.
Make sure you can go in detail answering questions based on each and every piece of information on your resume, to accurately shed light on each experience suggesting that it has equipped you with the needed skills for the job you're applying for.
3. Print out a copy of your resume and take it to the interview
While this becomes less and less important as the world heads towards becoming an environment-friendly place, many organizations would still expect you to have a paper copy of your CV or resume so they discuss it with you during the interview.
Having your copy ready with you is yet another proof that you've put a lot of effort into preparing for the interview.
4. Dress for success
Even if you're interviewing for a youth organization that is known for its casual interactions and low-key interest in formalities, always put on a formal outfit for job interviews.
This applies to even online interviews because it just leaves a very strong impression on interviewers.
5. Arrive 15 minutes earlier
Unlike arriving late, being early for a job interview is a win! If you're too early try to hang out near the building your interview will be conducted in, but showing up for a job interview about 15 minutes earlier speaks of your seriousness about the job and of your respect to the company you're applying for.
Trying to avoid being late, try to plan your drive to the company ahead of time. Using today's technology, you can easily figure out how much traffic you'll be facing so you're on time.
6. Approach people with a friendly attitude
One of the main things that leave an instant effect on the people you're trying to impress is your attitude. Employers love a positive, friendly, confident person who can be welcomed within their teams without causing unnecessary tensions.
Try to not put much effort into this so you don't mess up. Also, this needs to be your attitude in the workplace anyways, even if you're not typically as positive.
7. Keep your phone on the silent mode
Switching your phone off or at least turning it into silent or vibration modes will not only show respect on your behalf but will also minimize distractions and keep your focus on in the interview.
Also, try to keep your phone in your pocket or bag so you don't come off as a phone-dependent person.
8. Prepare a strong intro
In most cases, interviews start with candidates being asked to introduce themselves to the person or the individuals in the room. Not only do you need to work on the information you're providing and making sure that you're being heard well. You also need to maintain a friendly and confident attitude that shows them a distinct nominee.
9. Elaborate on your answers... but not too much!
When answering interview questions, don't offer very short answers. You'd rather need to explain your points and support your claims with practical examples.
The more thoroughly you speak about your experiences and your skills, the better the chance you have to show them that you qualify for the job.
However, you don't want to ramble for longer than you should, repeating the same ideas again and again. If you can't further explain your points, then short answers are enough.
10. Be ready to ask questions
Never skip this part at the end of the interview, but it could suggest that you don't know enough about the position. Try to ask specific questions about the organization, about their expectations from you, or about tools provided by them to help you carry out tasks.
Also, it's always a good idea to ask about the expected enrollment date even if you still haven't received an offer, as it shows that you are a planner who needs to set their near future plans. Additionally, it shows decision-makers how serious you are about the job.
Bonus: don't negotiate salaries with employers, who have already disclosed such information in the ad or in organizations with fixed salary plans.
Your written CV/profile has already impressed the employer, so make sure you are well prepared in order to prove them right in reality!
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