Career Advancement Interview Tips Self Improvement

Preparing Yourself for that Important Interview

You’ve gone for quite a few interviews but nobody has called you back. You’re feeling weary and are anxiously wondering what you could’ve done better.

You may have a good resume, but being correctly prepared in mind and body for that first meeting is another important key.

This article is about going back to the basics and understanding the purpose of a face-to-face interview.

Who we hire determines how far we go In an employer’s mind, who they hire determines how far or to “what great heights” hiring you can take them. This simply means the following:

  1. Is the candidate reasonably or sufficiently experienced to handle this role?
  2. Does the candidate have a good attitude toward work in general?
  3. Does the candidate have a matured enough character or are there too many areas that need improvement?
  4. Can this candidate work with us and our people as a whole?
  5. Can this candidate communicate well with reasonable interpersonal skills?
  6. Is the candidate enthusiastic about the job offered.

Suffice to say, each industry have their own set of criterions.


1. Prepare your image and communication

The visual and sound is actually important. Dress well for the job. Do not underestimate the power of the visual. A good fitting shirt and pants with the right shoes can make a powerful presence. People also respond positively to someone who sounds confident. Speaking and pronouncing words properly say that you know what you’re talking about. Wear a cologne or perfume and one area we all neglect, brush your teeth before going out of your house as fresh breath is a real winner. And again, be before time.

2. Anticipate Questions from the interviewer

Have you given some thought about this? What are the probable questions any interviewer will ask? Here’s a few.

a) Why do you want to work with us?

b) Why do you want to leave you current job?

c)  What have you been doing during the lockdown to upskill yourself for a new job?

For whatever the reasons for these questions, try to give more professional answers and not saying anything remotely negative or pinning blame. The answers may vary greatly due to the differences in industry.

3. Prepare some real experiences that highlight your exceptional abilities. How you overcame some challenges.

They might ask you about some of your strengths and weaknesses. This is a very normal question and asking you to talk about your weakness might send your alarm bells ringing but don’t worry. You’re not required to tell everything. Prepare some highlights from your career and how you successfully executed them and overcame challenges. For a new jobseeker, a portfolio of managing some college projects as a leader or as an intern in a company will certainly be an asset. Employers are looking for people with a proven track record and proven initiative.

By the middle of the interview, it’s not so much about your resume anymore but its more about you as a person who they can or cannot work with.

4. Don’t just answer questions. Ask some of your own.

This is important. Asking insightful questions tell the employer that you are really interested and very much into the discussion. Do some research about the business and ask how you can contribute with your unique talents. Ask about the company structure or even the production process.

Don’t ask questions like, “What is working here like?”

This isn’t a good question. How will the employer answer such a question?

Ask instead, “What are the main challenges I can expect in this job?”

This shows some good engagement on your part and sends a positive message. But most importantly, a more relaxed discussion can start because now both of you are talking about work and sharing experience, hence a relationship is beginning to form.

If you don’t ask any questions, then it’s just the opposite and it’s not a good message. You’ll also miss out the relationship part. It only shows that you’re just coming in for another nine to five job and not beyond that.

5. A good impression not perfection. Be down to earth.

Employers are people too. They’re not looking for a perfect candidate, just the best one. People say, “Don’t be yourself. Be your best self.”

In so doing, you don’t have to prepare long speeches but again as we said before, speak professionally and be an open and real person with no pretence. People will appreciate a certain level of honesty.

6. After the interview is over, send an email to thank them and follow up.

Have you ever given this a try? A company’s perception of you starts before the interview. After the first meeting, their evaluation of you continues. An email appreciating them for the interview actually pushes them to respond and not keep you waiting. Ask the interviewer for his or her business card. Their email should be there. This also shows them your enthusiasm for the job at hand.

More can be shared about how to ace that first interview and get hired. It all boils down to how extraordinary and irresistibly valuable you can reinvent yourself to be and this pandemic era seem to be the best time to do that.

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