There is more to going to an interview than showing up, looking good, and asking for the job. There is a lot of preparation that needs to be done before you even set foot in the door. Below are some of our suggestions to help you ace your interview.
Your Resume and other materials
Your resume is the first step in getting your foot in the door. Be sure to bring multiple copies of your resume and read the document over just before you interview so that you are completely familiar with it. You can also bring materials that illustrate an important aspect of your work. Don’t bring college diplomas, letters of commendation or bowling trophies. Consider bringing a leather folder or at least a notebook with a pen to take notes. It is amazing how many candidates do not bring their CV and a pen and paper. This shows that you are organised, interested enough in the role to take details and gives the impression of being efficient.
Appropriate dress and appearance
A general rule of thumb is to dress one level above the person you are meeting with. It is important to make a great first impression. You can always dress down after you get the job. If you have questions about what to wear, talk to your JobFinder Spain recruiter.
Travel, arrival, and departure
Know the route you will take for the appointment and how long it will take to get there. Consider the potential for traffic, rush-hour and other time constraint issues. It is possible to be too early. Arrive no sooner than 10 to 15 minutes prior to your meeting. Never be late.
Before an interview you should know who you will be speaking with and what their job responsibility is. You’ll want to prepare for how long the interview will take, and schedule your day accordingly. Turn off your cell phone. Provide the interviewer with your undivided attention. At the end of the interview, make sure to get a card or contact information from everyone you met with. You’ll be sending a thank you mail to the interviewer(s) and it is important to remember the names of the people you meet with should you need to refer to them later.
Researching the Company
You should walk in to your interview full of knowledge about the company. Showing that you have researched relevant information about the company before your interview proves you’ve done your homework and are sincerely interested in the company and the position you are applying for.
Knowledge also gives you confidence in being prepared and able to answer questions.
Be prepared for the following types of topics and questions:
- Company personnel – Who are the major players in the company? It would be a good idea to know who founded the company and who is in upper management. How does management manage?
- Company structure – What products or services does the company provide? Who are their customers? Whether they are privately or publicly held?
- Company vital signs – How is the company doing financially? How’s their stock? Are they growing or shrinking?
It is important to have a list of questions to ask before you go into an interview. The questions you ask should be very specific and important to you. One suggestion we always make is to not look selfish. Take a “what can I do for my country, not what can my country do for me” approach to your questions.
Questions could deal with the following topics:
- Company questions deal with the organization, direction, policies, stability, growth, market share, and new products of the prospective company.
- Industry questions deal with the health, growth, change, technological advancement, and personnel of the industry as a whole.
- Position questions deal with the scope, responsibilities, travel, compensation policies, and reporting structure.
- Opportunity questions deal with the potential for growth and advancement, as well as educational opportunities and future growth.
There are four fundamental components to a successful interview. These will influence the way your personality is perceived, and will affect the degree of personal rapport, or chemistry that you share with the employer.
Enthusiasm – You should leave no doubt as to your level of interest in the job. Employers are interested in employees that are excited about being there. Also, it’s much better to be in a position to turn down an offer than to not get it in the first place because of a lethargic interview.
Technical Interest – Employers look for people who love what they do and get excited by the prospect of a new recruit jumping in to the position with their feet running.
Confidence – No one likes a bragger, but if you are sure of your abilities it is ok to be confident. Confidence will almost certainly be more favourably received over uncertainty.
Intensity – The last thing you want to do is come across “flat” during an interview. There’s nothing wrong with being a laid-back person; but sleepwalking through your interview won’t get you hired.
Questions, questions, questions
Asking questions is the key to gathering knowledge. The more you know about the position and what the employer is looking for, the more relevant information you can provide to prove you’re a good match.
Some potential questions could include:
- What is the most important issue facing the department?
- How can I help you accomplish this objective?
- Is there any particular skill or attitude you feel is critical to getting the job done?
- Is there a unique aspect of my background that you’d like to exploit in order to help accomplish your objectives?
- Ask for the job or at least let the employer know that you are interested and excited.
- If you are aware that the employer is looking at other candidates you can always ask how you compare
The most common mistake candidates make while interviewing is talking too much. Employers are interested in finding out about you, but keep the anecdotes professional and related to the task at hand. There are two ways to answer interview questions, the short version and the long version. A good line to use is “Let me give you the short version. If we need to explore some aspect of my answer more fully I’d be happy to give you the long version.”
Money, Money, Money
Typically we recommend not talking about money during the first interview. A great response is “My recruiter knows exactly what I am looking for, and I would feel more comfortable having you discuss remuneration with them.” If they keep pressing you, let them know what your target compensation is by giving them a range, not a specific number. Be honest. Don’t bring up the subject of benefits, salary, or bonuses during the first interview. You’ll get to those at the later stages of negotiation or via your JobFinder recruiter.
Obvious questions to be ready for:
Here are seven questions you will most likely be asked in any given interview. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for them with an honest answer. Be careful on the final question. Never bad-mouth your previous company. Employers don’t like to hire negative people.
- Why do you want this job?
- Why do you want to leave your present company?
- Where do you see yourself in one to five years?
- What are your personal goals and interests?
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
- What do you like most about your current company?
- What do you like least about your current company?
To sum it all up… Look good, be prepared, take notes, have fun, and be yourself.