Legwork for Interview Success
By Bob Mcindoe
When it comes to acing a job interview, there are countless tips, tricks and strategies to be found. Experts have suggestions on virtually everything, from how to greet the interviewer to the ideal duration of a handshake (the answer: until you can see the colour of the recruiter’s eyes).
All of this insight is certainly valuable, and it’s certainly worth reading. But at the same time, it’s important not to get too caught up in the details and forget the most important factor in doing well in an interview: preparation.
It’s true – the most important part of any job interview comes before the interview ever takes place. Thoroughly preparing for your interview is of the utmost importance – you are, essentially, building the foundation for success.
Interviewers often like to ask what you know about the organization. They may ask tough behavioral-based questions that require tangible examples from your past work experience. They may expect you to have informed questions of your own. If that’s the case – and it likely will be – you will find yourself hard-pressed to respond well if you haven’t done your homework beforehand.
So how can a candidate prepare effectively? Here are some points to consider:
Research the company: What exactly do they do? What are the different lines of business? Who is the CEO? Do they have offices in other cities? Is it a 90-person operation, or a 5,000-person one? What is their revenue/profit? Knowing these details is never a bad idea.
Know the answers to common questions: What is the interviewer likely to ask? There are some questions that seem fairly obvious, and some that may be position, sector or industry-specific. Knowing what you want to say will prevent you from being caught out by a question you could have easily predicted, with a bit of forethought.
Arm yourself with examples: Are you great at managing teams? Prove it. Interviewers, particularly those who favour the behavioural style interview process, like to hear specific examples of how you have demonstrated and applied your skills. It’s not enough to just say, “I’m good at resolving conflict between team members” – think of a time that you actually did so. Ideally, you should think of some examples that could apply to all of your different skills.
Design your look: What are you going to wear on interview day? Your new skirt suit may look sharp, but what if it’s really uncomfortable to sit down in? Plan what you are going to wear, and then actually try it on beforehand. You want to feel comfortable and confident the day of the interview.
Practice makes perfect: Practice your answers. Say them out loud. Have a friend or family member pretend to interview you. Re-read the info you looked up on the company. This is not to create more pressure for you but to ease it, so you are self-assured that you will do well!
Watch for part two in this series on Interview Tips in April.