Five Strategies To Get You Ready For Your Job Interview
Doing a job interview is a stressful experience for everyone, and it is especially hard if you have to do it in English. Being well prepared for your job interview is the best way to make sure that you meet with success. In this post we take a look at five things that you can do to make sure you’re ready to make a great first impression and secure the job you want.
1. Research the company you are applying to
Take some time to carefully research the company where you want to work. Visit their webpage and read about what they do. Check them out on Facebook and LinkedIn. You want to get a good idea of what they do and how they do it. This will help you in preparing for the interview by seeing how your skills will add to the company and what in your background should make the company interested in you.
By understanding the company and their brand you’ll be able to tap into their carefully crafted reputation right from the first conversation and all the way through the hiring process. This should help you make a great impression.
Doing research will show the interviewer that you’re a serious candidate who shows initiative and that your interest is real.
2. Practice common interview questions
There is no way to know for sure what questions you are going to be asked, but there are two things you can do to prepare yourself.
Firstly, you need to imagine what the employer would want to know about you. Think of the types of questions they might ask you. Make sure that these are open-ended questions – not questions that can be answered with just one or two words. Make a list of these questions and take some time to create good answers to these questions. We will come back to your list later on.
Secondly, take a look at these common interview questions and think of the best answers that you can, we give you a few tips to help you on your way:
|Tell me about yourself.||Try not to talk for too long about yourself! Think of important points that are relevant to the job like you enjoy being with people, you enjoy a challenge, you like researching things or resolving problems (with some examples). Maybe talk about a sport you enjoy. Try to avoid talking about things that are too personal.|
|What interests you about this job?||You want to be ready with about a one minute answer that summarizes where you are at in your career, what you do and what your strengths are. This question is used to get a broad background of who you are.|
|What do you know about our company?||This is where your research comes in handy. A well prepared answer will make a great impression. Keep your answer as brief and complimentary to the company as possible.|
|Why did you leave your last job? Why are you leaving your current job?||Do NOT say anything negative about your current employer. Saying something like "I don't feel challenged enough" or "I'm looking to develop myself further" is a good place to start.|
|Tell me about your experience at [your last job].||Talk briefly about what you did, what skills you used and how they could benefit this company. Describe yourself positively without being boastful.|
|Where do you see yourself in five years time?||Be careful when answering this question, appearing too ambitious or not ambitious enough may cause you to lose the job. Think about how you could grow within the company and what contributions you could make in the future.|
|Tell me about your strengths/weaknesses.||Before going to the interview make a list of your 10 good points and 10 bad points. For the good points think of things that would make you suitable for the job. For the bad points be honest, nobody expects you to be perfect and often you'll be respected for being humble and truthful. What you do need to do though is talk about your weaknesses and how you're controlling them. Give an example of something you used to struggle with and how you overcame that problem.|
|Tell me about a time when...||These will be situations relevant to the position, for example, "Tell me about a time you had to use your initiative/had to deal with a difficult customer/you had to respond to a crisis/you had to give feedback to an employee." Make sure you use the correct past tenses for talking about past events/anecdotes.|
|What would you do if...?||Take your time and think carefully about this question. Make sure you use the correct grammatical construction of the First Conditional.|
|What has been your biggest professional achievement?||This is a great opportunity to showcase your talent. Don't be boastful but do be honest. Sell yourself! Again, make sure you use the proper past tenses in this answer.|
These are by no means the only questions you will get, but they are a great place to start preparing yourself from, and to start thinking about the interview.
Take your answers to the questions you thought of and the answers you made for the 10 common questions and start to practice your replies. Be sure to rehearse your answers out loud – get a friend to help you by asking you the questions. Practice saying them over and over until the answers fly off your tongue automatically and naturally. The more you practice the better you’ll get and the more comfortable you’ll feel.
3. Dress appropriately
Making a good first impression is vitally important. Dressing properly for the job is an easy way to help make a good first impression. If it’s at all possible you can go to the company before the interview. If you’re lucky you may see employees walking in and out and you’ll see how they dress.
However, it is usually best to dress soberly and smartly just to be safe.
While this has nothing to do with English, it is an important part of the interview and dressing smartly can make you feel more confident.
4. Speak clearly
During the interview be sure to smile and make eye contact with the interviewer. Speaking clearly and not too fast is important. Give yourself time to think about your answers. A great way to do this is to use fillers. Here are some examples and when to use them:
PHRASES TO USE WHEN YOU NEED TIME TO THINK BEFORE YOU START SPEAKING:
- First of all…
- Let me think…
- Let me see…
- The first thing I should say is…
- Let me start by saying…
- That’s an interesting question…
PHRASES TO USE WHEN YOU NEED TIME TO THINK IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ANSWER:
- Can I add that…?
- The other thing I should say is…
- Let me give you an example.
- I could also say…
PHRASES TO USE WHEN YOU ARE NEARLY FINISHED SPEAKING:
- And finally…
- The last thing I’d like to say is…
- What else can I add?
- I think I’ve covered everything.
- Which brings me to my final point…
5. Ask questions
You’ll probably be given an opportunity to ask questions towards the end of the interview, if you aren’t be sure to ask some questions in any case.
Asking questions is a chance for you to show your preparedness for the position, and asking intelligent questions about the company, your boss and the position you’re applying for is a step in the right direction.
Here are some typical questions to ask:
- When are you looking to have someone start?
- What are the hours of the job?
- Are those hours Monday to Friday, or are staff expected to work Saturdays?
- Is this a full time position?
- Is this a permanent job?
- May I see where I would be working if I were successful?
- Who would I be working for?
- Do you offer any training, and how long is it for?
- Is there a career path?
Here are questions you shouldn’t ask:
- How much is the pay?
- How many holidays would I get?
- Do I get sick pay?
- Would I get a company car/telephone/credit card?
- How long is the maternity/paternity leave?
- When do I start?
And here are some fantastic questions to ask:
- If you were to rank all the people who have done this job in the past, tell me about number one and why you put them there?
- What qualities did the person who held this job previously have that you’d like to maintain?
- What are the most important qualities that the person filling this job should have?
And finally, while preparing for your interview and just before you go in for the interview be sure to remember the Five Cs of a job interview:
The Five Cs: Capable, Confident, Convincing, Comfortable, Concise