Preparing for an Interview

Video Interview Tool Recruitment Remote and Virtual Hiring

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 

 

  1. 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?

 

 

  1. 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? 

 

 

  1. 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.

 

 

  1. 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).

Examples:

Potential QuestionPotential Answer Guided Points
Tell me about yourself.
  • Not about your personal life only (usually not at all unless stipulated)
  • Talk to your career accomplishments and achievements
  • Align your answers with the organization and role – it needs to be applicable in determining whether you would be a match for the role or organization
  • The goal here is to determine whether you have the right skills and attitude for the organization and job
  • Demonstrate your skills and attitude, display your empathy and solving skills
  • Explain your professional journey, why you are so obsessed with what you do and what you are aiming to achieve
  • Be confident, clear and concise – get the interviewer up to speed with a summary of your professional experience and skills, and do this in such a way that it explains why you would be suitable for the organization and role (without actually saying this)

Read more: A Complete Guide to Answering “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview (Plus Examples!)

What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Own up – you are not a perfectionist! Nobody is perfect. If you are able to demonstrate a few examples yet provide a solution of how you have worked on these weaknesses or are in the process of working on these, you can demonstrate that you are self-aware and that you are also finding a way to better these weaknesses
  • This question is asked in order to determine whether the candidate has:
    • Self-Awareness
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Honesty
    • Self-Improvement
    • Problem Solving
    • Self-Building

Read more: What is your greatest weakness (Job Interview Questions) 

What are your greatest strengths?
  • Be modest
  • Align this with the requirements
  • Align this with the values of the organization
  • Align this with the information you found about the person conducting the interview
  • Demonstrate abilities and strengths which would provide a reason as to why you are the perfect candidate for the job
  • Base this on:
    • Experience
    • Talents
    • Soft Skills
    • Education / Training
  • Prepare examples to demonstrate this
  • Don’t be arrogant
  • Ensure that you demonstrate self-awareness

Why is this question asked? It is to determine:

  • Your strengths align with the company’s needsYou can do the job and perform like a rock star
  • You are the best person for the job — no need to hold out for someone better
  • You have qualities, skills, and/or experience that set you apart from the competition
  • You are someone who will make an excellent addition to the team

Read more: How to answer: What are your strengths

What are your hobbies and interests?
  • Again, align this with the requirements for the role and the organization at hand
  • Highlight your skills, values and interests which are aligned to that of the company (this is why it is so important to research the organization in as much detail as possible)

Read more: Interview Question: What are your hobbies and interests?

What attracted you to our company and why are you interested in this job? 
  • Align this with your research and explain how their values, missions and projects align with that of your own
  • Explain how the role is suitable to your skills and how you could leverage other skills or talents or even your strengths to best perform the role

Read more: What attracted you to this company? 

Read more: How To Answer “Why Are You Interested In This Job?”

What are your job expectations and where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
  • Be clear, confident and concise – this is not a trick question
  • What is it that YOU want, and how will this align with your future goals long term with the organization?
  • This needs to be aligned with the organization and how you can grow their business or grow within their business. No company wants to be used as a stepping stone for you to better your career – don’t portray this.

Read more: Interview Question: What are your job expectations?

Read more: 10 Examples of Career Goals [For Job Interviews and Performance Reviews]

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?
  • Be modest and fair
  • Do not oversell or undersell
  • Be realistic

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 

  • This shows a lack of preparation 
  • Do not ask about hours or social events or team building events
  • Do not ask about lunches and extras that could be offered by the company 
  • Ask the questions you could not find when doing your research.

Here are a few other questions to ask:

  1. What weaknesses are there in the team currently that could be strengthened with bringing in a new employee? 
  2. Where would you see my skills in potentially strengthening these weaknesses? 
  3. With a long term goal in mind, where could you see me in 5 years time within the organization? 
  4. When reviewing my profile, and after this interview, are there any downfalls or concerns raised? (This way you can perhaps turn the concerns around or learn from them for your next interview). 
  5. With the previous employee who was in this role, were there any lacking skills of which needed improving upon and what were they? 
  6. Can you elaborate on the day-to-day responsibilities this job entails?
  7. What are the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?
  8. What’s the most important thing I could do within the first 90 days?
  9. What are some of the challenges people in this role encounter?
  10. How would my performance be measured?
  11. What does the career path for someone in this role look like?
  12. What other functions or departments does this team work with most often?
  13. What does your job look like day-to-day?
  14. What do you like best about working here?

Read more: How to respond to “Do you have any questions”. 

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 

Read more: 10 closing statements to use after an Interview

 

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! 

 

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