Job interviews could be likened to school exams. They both have a tendency of making one get butterflies as you approach them. One consolation though is the fact that any candidate who is well prepared will always have a 90% success rate in both.
As a job seeker, upon receiving an interview invitation, it’s prudent to develop an effective interview preparation strategy. This will help ace the interview and land the job.
The Job interview preparation could be broken down into three different stages
- A few days before the Interview
- The night before the interview
- On the D-Day
In this article I will guide you on how to prepare a few days before the interview,
This is what is known as the research phase and the most tedious of all the stages. Prior to starting the preparation you should do the following:
- Respond to the recruiter/employer on email thanking them for the interview invite, and confirming you will attend. This courteous act will portray you as a professional. It builds good impression beforehand.
- Secure the time by booking it off your normal daily schedule.
Once this is done your first assignment will be:
Understanding the company
It’s important to understand the interviewing organization. This will help you know what it does and whether you will want to be part of it in line with your personal values. Demonstrating good grasp of the company, will go a long way in making the interviewer take you seriously as an interested candidate.
Some off the areas you will need to research on include, the organizations;
- Services/products offering
- Competitors both locally and globally
- Geographical/operational cover
- Current news and achievements
- Culture and values
- Key individuals
This information could be found on:
- The organizations websites
- News and industry websites
- Through social media
- Inquiring from the recruiter
Understanding the role
After understanding the company, you need to understand the role itself. Imagine facing an interviewer when you have vague idea of what is being interviewed. That would be awkward.
Take time to familiarize yourself with the job details. If you have not been furnished with the finer details do ask for it from the contact person.
Ensure you have a thorough understanding of the following:
- What is the overall goal of the role
- Which area/team you will be working in
- What will be your reporting line
- Internal and external stakeholders
- Technologies you will be using
- Product or service knowledge required
- Work you will be producing
- Environments you will be working in
Know why you are the best fit for the role
Matching you skills and knowledge to the job requirements and organizational culture should automatically follow.
Take time to go through every detail of the job and map out how you fit in each. This will guide you during the interview since the interviewer will be interested in seeing your suitability in line with the role.
Understand your weakness
Once you know how you fit into the role, it’s equally prudent to identify any gaps between your skills/knowledge and the job description. The objective is to plan how to address the shortcomings.
In case a particular skill or academic qualification is required but you fall short of it, then plan to demonstrate to the interviewer how you will work around the same to effectively execute the role.
Plan the journey
Sounds simple but if not done well you could end up losing an interview opportunity or getting late because you failed to estimate and allocate adequate travel time or you didn’t know the venues’ exact location.
It’s wise to plan out your route early including your preferred mode of transport. It’s equally good to anticipate disruptions and plan adequately how to counter them.
Kindly note: If you interview is scheduled on days or times that coincide with certain political events, then it’s key to thoroughly plan the journey to avoid bumping onto motorcades and political gatherings on the roads.
Prepare anything you need to carry
Be certain to get all that you will need to carry to the interview. This includes:
- Multiple copies of your CV – print them neatly and early to avoid printer drama on the D-day
- A pen and pad to take notes
- Some prepared questions
- The job description
- The interview details
- Certificates plus anything specifically asked to carry
- Work samples
- A smart folder or bag to put everything in – to look professional and organised.
Also make sure that anything you are planning to wear is clean and ready for the day.
Practice common interview questions
There are a host of interview questions and it may be difficult to know which ones exactly will be asked. However there are also those questions which you are guaranteed to be asked. These include:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want this job?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
Practice beforehand how you will effectively respond to this questions.
Prepare questions to ask the interviewer
No interview will end without you being invited to ask questions. This is critical to you as a job seeker and you must prepare in advance the set of questions to ask.
Asking the right questions will portray you as keen and diligent, this will impress the interviewer.
Plan questions around career growth and development opportunities and the nature of the role. Avoid question about paid holidays, lunch breaks etc.
Remember to prepare well in order to be confident as you come close to the interview day.
In the next article we will guide you on how to prepare “the night before the interview”.