Being as prepared as you can is the secret to doing well in something. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re memorizing all the responses to possible interview questions, but rather being acquainted with a wide range of interview questions that can be thrown at you so you’ll stay calm and composed. How to do it? Well, here are some ideas from our recruiters who interview candidates on a daily basis.
Before the Interview
As shallow and superficial as it sounds, your clothing gives your interviewer the very first impression. It’s always better to look more professional than less. Place a few clothes together, and pick one that is relaxed yet competent. Getting an outfit on which you can always fallback is always a good back-up strategy to have for all professional meetings, even if it is not for an interview.
Research, Research, Research…
Study the entity or product and communicate the comments in the company’s context. Search for news articles or studies on what the company has achieved, where it is going and any obstacles it has encountered. Input that knowledge into your responses and tie in any experience that is related to what they have. The interviewer will be impressed that you took the time to come prepared, plus it shows that you are interested in the job offer.
Understand the Playing Field
It is helpful to know what happens before you even get to the interview. In today’s working environment, many hiring firms get hundreds of applicants for every job posting. Hence, managers tend to look for reasons to not hire you as to why they should.
Prepare for common interview questions
There are literally hundreds on such websites covering this component (Here are the top 5 we have shortlisted: LINK to 5 Essential Questions). A good place to start would be narrowing down what kinds of questions are related to your job posting. It is best to type/ write out your answers so that you are able to see exactly what you are saying. This makes it easier to improve your answers and acts as a guide for yourself.
Be prepared for traps and trick questions
It is best to answer the question. Do not try to divert away, but try to turn the answer into a success story. If you learned something the hard way, use that challenge to your advantage and show how you have grown.
During the Interview
Understand where Interviewers are coming from
People hate to interview. Many applicants are not ‘the one’ for the job, however, they can only tell after meeting the person. Also, the scheduling is a nightmare, especially if there is more than one interviewer.
Do it! It looks good on you! Look in their eyes and, whenever possible, smile with confidence. Candidates don’t realize that after the interview, the team may often comment about things not discussed through the questions. You want them to say, “I really liked her smile – she was friendly and confident,” rather than, “He wouldn’t even look at us when we asked the questions!”
Right Body Language
Dress appropriately, make eye contact, give a firm handshake, have good posture, speak clearly. When you show up at an interview, be the kind of person other people want to work with. Present a positive attitude, be polite, friendly, punctual and engaged. Are you sitting up in your chair, leaning forward, engaging with your interviewer? Do that.
After the interview
At the end of the interview, you will probably be asked if you have questions (or simply mention you have a few questions). Show them you are interested in their company and you want to know more about it. Mention what you learned about the firm before you interviewed. You can even ask about the culture of the company.
Finally, Follow Up
Email the interviewer to thank him/ her. This provides a good closure. It also shows your level of interest in the job opening. Though it may seem small, it can tip the scale in your favor.
Written by Frank Ang, Senior Consultant at Cultivar Asia Consulting