You have finally secured an interview, perhaps after months of trying to find a suitable role or perhaps after multiple rejections in your job search. Preparing for an interview can be really stressful if you haven’t been for an interview in quite some time. It can also be stressful if you have been for multiple interviews yet you’re not quite sure where or why you are going wrong. It is here that preparation is key!
We would like to share some useful tips which we have gained through the information shared to us by our candidates and clients.
Preparing for the First Interview
- Do your research on the organization
It has been brought up time and time again that it definitely shows when a candidate does not know anything about the organization or company to which they are being interviewed by. This should be done before you even apply for the role, in order to determine if the company would be suitable for you. If you are not able to find the information you need about the organization when preparing for the interview, add these questions to your list of questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview (if it is not yet covered during the interview process) when the interviewer asks the famous “Do you have any questions for us?”.
How is a company suitable for you, you may ask? Before joining an organization is is important to ensure that the core values, missions and projected outcomes of the organization are aligned with that of your own. Ask yourself the following:
- Does the organization’s values align with my personal values?
- Does the aim and mission of the organization align with my own career goals and personal missions towards achieving my highest career end goal?
- Does the organization work on social projects or the likes that are interesting to me?
- What is the company culture and would I fit in?
- What is the size of the company?
- Does the organization fulfil the needs that are not being met at my current or previous company?
- What type of leadership do they have?
- How many opportunities are open currently within the organization, and why? Is there a high turnover rate?
- Do your research on the role to which you are being interviewed for
It is important to understand the role itself. Go through the job description in detail and make sure that you have full understanding of the opportunity. When referring to the proposed questions below, do as much research on this BEFORE the actual interview:
- What are the requirements of the role?
- What would my daily responsibilities be?
- What are all the technical requirements and do I meet all of the listed requirements? If not, it is important to question this during or after the interview in order to get the best possible understanding of the role. If there are certain expectations that you know you would not be able to achieve, rather ensure that you question this instead of setting yourself up for failure.
- If you do not have certain skills and abilities required, would the organization be willing to up-skill you and train you in this? Make sure that they know you are willing to learn and willing to grow in order to achieve these requirements – research ways in which you can do this and present this in your interview. This shows initiative and problem solving. It also shows that you have done your research for the particular role!
- Why is this opportunity open? Is the opportunity new or are you replacing someone? Use LinkedIn, their website or other platform listings of the organization to research this by finding out whether there is someone currently in this role, or previously in this role. Find other employees in the organization with a similar role and review their skills and profiles on LinkedIn or other platforms to determine this information.
- Can’t find another employee who is or was previously in this role? This could mean that it is a new need for growth in the organization or that the organization is working on a new project. Try to find out more about the new and exciting projects that the organization is working on. If you do find information that could potentially explain this, don’t assume that it is correct. Always ask in the interview.
- How long has the opportunity been advertised for? If it has been open for long, why has it been open for so long? Has it been re-posted multiple times? Are there multiple openings for the same position? Is there a quick turnaround on climbing the growth ladder in the organization, and this is why the role is open again?
- Do your research on the internal organization
- Find out more about the employees, CEO, directors, managers, teams or any other individuals you find in the organization.
- Find out if the team works in-office or from home.
- Does the team only work in one location or are they distributed across the globe? If so, where?
- Browse and read through their website, social media platforms and other online platforms
- Have they had previous team building events that have been posted online and do these appeal to you?
- Do they have a blog page, or social media pages with shared articles, and what do they write about? Do you find the information appealing and does it make you want to work for them?
- Is the organization mentioned in other platforms such as business magazines, business forums, other websites and articles, in the news, in comments on Facebook or LinkedIn or even Twitter? Does this raise any questions or concerns? Does the information appeal to you and make you want to work there?
- Is there visibility of the managers, CEO and directors of the organization? Do they have good reviews? Do they post motivational or inspiring content? Are you able to determine any of their leadership qualities and culture of the company through this?
- Find out more about the people who are conducting the interview. Whether this is the HR team, a more junior employee or the CEO themself – it is important to ensure that you prepare and demonstrate yourself in the same manner for all. Remember that the first impression is important, and that how you present yourself to them will determine whether or not you make it through to the next stage.
- Prepare for the questions that could potentially be asked in the interview itself when preparing for an interview.
Here are some examples of questions that could be asked, and how to answer them (this is not the ONLY way of answering these questions and these are not the ONLY questions that could be asked).
|Potential Question||Potential Answer Guided Points|
|Tell me about yourself.|
|What are your greatest weaknesses?|
|What are your greatest strengths?|
Why is this question asked? It is to determine:
Read more: How to answer: What are your strengths
|What are your hobbies and interests?|
|What attracted you to our company and why are you interested in this job?|
Read more: What attracted you to this company?
|What are your job expectations and where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?|
Read more: How to set SMART goals (With 5 Examples)
Read more: Set SMART goals to get ahead in your career
|What are your salary expectations?|
Read more: What are your salary expectations?
|Do you have any questions for us?||ALWAYS SAY YES!|
ALWAYS HAVE QUESTIONS PREPARED!
DO NOT SAY NO, YOU HAVE COVERED EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW.
ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS AND NOT QUESTIONS WHICH REQUIRE YES / NO ANSWERS.
DO NOT ASK SALARY BASED QUESTIONS
Here are a few other questions to ask:
Read more: Best Questions to Ask an Interviewer
End of your interview positively and on a high note! Reiterate your interest in the job, practice your handshake (if it is a face-to face-interview) and politely thank them for their time.
Read more: How to End an Interview – Steps and Tips
Finally you can walk into every interview confident and determined to put your best foot forward.
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.“ Suzy Kassem
And if you don’t succeed, remember to work on attaining resilience in rejection! Every interview you attend is an opportunity to learn. You may get rejected or passed along for another candidate. How you deal with this can shape your next interview and interview outcome! Bounce back by shaking it off and reflecting on how to improve your next interview performance – this is key. The more interviews you do the better you get!
When one door closes, do not dwell on it for so long that you do not realise or see that another door has already opened!
If you have any other tips, questions or information to share – please add this in the comments section below! Let’s help others through the interview process and support others in securing a job!