The Final Moment of Truth…
It’s the final stage to your job application, you’ve perfected your CV, now you need to match that perfection and ace the interview. Like your CV, it’s a first impression that counts and an interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications to an employer, so it pays to be well prepared. The following tips may help you in preparing for your interview;
Before attending your interview, you should research the company information such as product/service information, competitors, brief history etc. This will give you enough background information for any surprise questions that may be asked.
Research the Position
It is important that you know the position you have applied for, that you have researched the tasks and responsibilities so that you can compare your previous experience to the position at hand and openly talk in depth about why you are right for the position.
Know your CV
Apart from knowing the position you are applying for you must also know your CV most importantly. There is nothing worse then being unable to answer a question about a previous position because you have not reviewed your CV for a long time.
Use your Knowledge
Within the interview the employer will usually ask you questions relating to the new position and he/she will expect you to use your previous experience and knowledge to answer the question. By applying previous experience as a solution to a scenario it shows the employer that you have the right experience and knowledge for the position available.
Strengths and Weaknesses
What are your strengths and weaknesses? This is a sticky question that is used to test the personality of the candidate. While the real answer to the question might be, 'I find that my attention wanders, especially on Monday mornings', or, 'I'm actually a recovering alcoholic,' make a point of keeping this information to yourself, and instead respond by describing a characteristic which, although less-than-ideal, is still relatively innocuous. Faced with this sticky question, here is an example of a cute reply:
'I'm one of those people who likes to be involved in everything. I want to know how things are done—because I feel the more I learn, the better I can serve the organisation. So I suppose that makes me especially inquisitive.'
Not a busybody? Then perhaps you're just gregarious—in which case you might choose to play the martyr card: 'The biggest problem I have is saying no. I'm naturally a people person, and I enjoy a challenge, but sometimes that combination can get me into trouble when I take on more tasks than are feasible for me to complete alone.'
And if you find yourself completely stuck for something to fill up the stony silence with, you can always rely on:
'I have to confess that I'm something of a perfectionist when it comes to my work. I tend to become extremely focused on the project at hand, becoming so committed to the current task that I lose sight of the overall plan.'
As mentioned before; first impressions are very important and your personal appearance will be a major factor in this. When going to your interview you should be dressed smartly, in a suit or a business dress and you must be clean shaven. For women it is advised that you keep your hair up and neat and do not wear too much make up. This is the way you’re expected to dress in a business environment so if you cannot achieve this in the interview then that suggests to the employer that you probably will not be well presented in a day to day business.
Interview Top Tips:
- Be early (At Least 15 Minutes)
- Bring your CV & References. Employers typically require three references.
- Learn the name of your interviewer and greet him or her with a firm handshake.
- Use good manners with everyone you meet.
- Relax and answer each question concisely.
- Use proper English—avoid slang.
- Be cooperative and enthusiastic.
- Use body language to show interest—use eye contact and don’t slouch.
- Ask questions about the position and the organization, but avoid questions whose answers can easily be found on the company Web site.
- Also avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless a job offer is made.
- Thank the interviewer when you leave and shake hands.
- Send a short thank you note following the interview.
Common Interview Questions:
The following questions are some of the most commonly asked questions and although some may seem easy to answer, you must remember that each answer you give essentially reflects the type of person you are and the characteristics you hold;
1. Tell me something about you?
This question is more important then many people realize. It’s usually the first question and it is your chance to sell yourself to the employer. Detail your answer around your unique selling proposition; for example - "I'm a seasoned Retail Manager strong in developing training programs and loss prevention techniques that have resulted in revenue savings of over $2.3Million for (employer's name) during the past 11 years." 3. Why do you want to leave your previous job?
2. Tell me about your greatest achievement so far?
This question should be well thought out before the interview. It portrays your strengths indirectly so when talking about your achievements you must talk about firstly the challenge that you have faced and the way in which you went about resolving that challenge. This question shows your ambition and willingness to achieve.
This is a tricky question because some people often make the mistake of answering the question in a personal manner. The employer does not want to know your personal reasons for leaving the job. There are problems in every company but you should answer this question around the idea of developing your career. 4. How do you deal with stress in your work life?
This question analyses how you deal with stressful situations and how well you work with others. You should talk about how you resolve conflicting situations, especially in the work place and with colleagues. The employer wants to hire a team player and tests you to see how well you work with others.
5. Why do you want to join our organization?
This is where you can use the company information that you have researched prior to the interview. You can structure this answer in three forms. Firstly you can talk about the position in which you have applied for and why you are suited to it and why it attracted you. Secondly you could talk about the company and its performance in the industry. Thirdly you can talk about how the company is developing and growing within the industry and your plans to be a part of this growth.
6. What goals have you set for the next three years?
This question identifies if you have ambition and ability to reach the next level. After talking about your potential career progression within the company you must then have a well thought out plan to the steps you intend to take to reach this desired position. 7. What are the major challenges that you have encountered so far in your career?
In answering this question the employer wants you to be honest. We all encounter difficult situations in the work place and the employer would like insight into these hurdles and how you approached the challenge.
These sample questions are just some of the tricky questions you may be asked in an interview.
These questions help the employer to get some insight into how you deal with various situations in the work place. Being well prepared for your interview and having researched the appropriate information, you will have no problem passing these questions.