How to prepare for an interview? There are lots of things to consider before going into an interview.
Whether you are applying for a job or preparing for an exam, knowing some key skills can really boost your chances of success.
Interviews are an important aspect of the recruitment or hiring process in a company. They allow employers to get to know prospective employees better and give them a chance to see whether they would fit well into their team.
Here are essential skills every candidate should master before stepping into an interview.
Communication is one of the most essential skills in any professional scenario or setting. It’s very important that candidates have quality communication skills so that they are able to effectively convey information to others.
This may be through email, phone calls, face-to-face meetings, or even social media. Candidates must have the ability to communicate clearly and concisely with other people.
Employers value candidates who have excellent communication skills because they’re essential for the effective performance of job tasks and responsibilities.
Your answer should demonstrate that you’ve read the question carefully and understand it well enough to be able to write an answer that answers the question clearly and concisely.
Discuss verbal and nonverbal communication techniques that are relevant to the job, including writing, active hearing, and presentation skills.
Listening is often seen as a passive activity but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Good listening skills have a huge impact when it comes to getting successful or failing in an interview.
When the interviewer talks to you, it is very crucial that you focus and listen to him or her carefully.
Pay attention to body language too. Are they looking down, avoiding eye contact, fidgeting, etc.?
These are all signs that they might not be interested in what you are trying to communicate. You can change the topic or change how you are saying things.
Problem-solving is another critical skill for any professional. During an interview, candidates must be prepared to deal with problems that come up.
For example, if the employer asks about previous work experience, then the candidate needs to be ready to answer questions such as “What was the biggest challenge you faced while working on that project?”.
Companies value employees who are able to identify potential opportunities before anyone else. These employees are proactive and creative, and quickly understand their organization’s vision.
Employees who are good at solving problems are also excellent leaders and are skilled at helping their companies deal with difficult situations.
Writing is another area where many people struggle. However, having strong writing skills can greatly improve your chances of getting hired.
The ability to write professionally and at a significant competence is something that companies or employers look for in potential employees.
This skill shows your understanding of the subject.
It shows an understanding of the organization’s mission and vision, the market its products and services serve and the competition, and the strategies used to generate revenue.
Commercial acumen or business awareness skills are especially important for sales and other customer-focused positions.
Thorough research of the company will provide insight into its culture and how it works.
Collaboration or teamwork
Collaboration and teamwork skills are also important for success in any role, especially for roles that involve working as part of a group.
Your answer should emphasize your ability to build and nurture productive working relationships with others to help them focus their strengths for the benefit of your organization.
Not Badmouthing Your Former Employee
The most obvious question you are going to be asked that why you want to leave your current job. Make sure you don’t lie and also don’t be negative about it either.
Refrain from putting negative remarks such as “My boss is a big jerk or “She is nit-picking, playing favorites, and has a strong odor of tuna fish.”
Even if these things are true, they don’t look good coming out from you.
Figure out how to tell them why you left, why you got fired, and what you’ve learned from it. Explain the situation well. And share why this new job is a perfect fit for this.
Employers value highly flexible employees because they can take on a wide variety of roles and can go beyond their normal duties when situations require it.
Individuals who are flexible can quickly adjust to new challenges and disruptions in order to help their organizations turn weaknesses into strengths and opportunities.
Optimistic employees are an asset to their companies because they’re optimistic enough to deliver positive outcomes even when things get tough.
These employees don’t give up when things get tough.
They draw inspiration from setbacks and challenges to learn, grow and find better opportunities for themselves and others.
Show your enthusiasm and positive attitude by using both your words and body.
No business or employer wants to hire someone with a negative attitude or pessimism approach towards things.
Don’t bring anything into the interview room that might affect the way you’re perceived by the interviewer.
Never bad-mouth your former employer or any other corporations where you’ve worked.
Also, make sure you don’t complain about your personal issues or household problems.
Be yourself, expressing reasonable perspectives through an optimistic lens.
For example, if someone has to talk about a difficult situation, they should include a mention of what they did to help solve it, and what they learned from it that made them a better employee.
The body language you carry in your interviews is as much communicating as your words, so it is very essential you mind that too.
Enter the room smile on your face. Make good eye contact with your employer or whom you are meeting.
Offer a firm handshake, and make sure you sit up straight on the chair leaning forward to the table as you are attentive to them.
Exceptional organizational skills are also important in almost every organization.
An organized employee can achieve high levels of productivity by prioritizing effectively, working efficiently, and attaining the highest level of organization.
You should focus on managing your time, prioritizing, and meeting deadlines.
Whether you’re applying for an entry, middle, or senior role, recruiters love employees who can lead their teams.
You must have the ability to delegate the work and assign tasks to subordinates.
Leadership also involves setting deadlines for projects, managing the people, and motivating and supporting them as well.
You give them resources to make things happen and also constructive feedback and all the help when needed.
Self-motivation is crucial because it helps keep you going when results aren’t coming or are different from what you expected.
Self-motivated people have a lot of endurance. They don’t give up until they achieve their goals.
Ability to work under pressure
The ability to work under stress shows you can still deliver even when things get tough and don’t lose your focus or become overly stressed out.
If you’re applying for a job in a high-stress environment or one where you need to be able to adapt quickly, this skill is essential to your success.
Most jobs require minimum basic computer skills, including using word processing and spreadsheet software, and social media tools.
It is important to stress how you used IT skills in previous roles, by providing real-life examples to back up your answer.
It is important to research the skills required for the role before applying. You should be aware of the skills needed for an interview success to impress the interviewer and stand out from other applicants.
Before you go into a job interview, it’s important that you spend some time researching both the company you’re applying for and the position you’re interviewing for.
There are several ways to research an organization, including through:
- Review their website by looking at the “About” page.
- Searching for the company name online and reading any press releases available
- Analyzing the company’s social media accounts
- Interviewing employees of the company, as well as people who worked there before you.
- Researching job platforms where companies provide feedback from current and former employees about the company
You should also take some time to get as much information as possible from the company you’re applying for a position at.
Look at the job posting carefully. If there’s an employer website, check out their site to see if they list any additional details about the position.
Also, look up current employees who have held the same or similar positions to see if you can get some insight into the culture of the company.
You can also lookup the job title in general for a broader idea of what’s expected in that position. The more you know beforehand about the position, the more prepared you’ll be for the interview.
Don’t Be Too Familiar
An interview is a professional meeting where you talk business. It’s not about making a new friendship.
You should be familiar enough with the company to know what they’re looking It is important to be energetic and enthusiastic during an interview, but don’t overstep your place as someone looking for a job.
You’re there to learn about the company and its culture, not to sell yourself.
Make sure your language is appropriate
You should always use professional language when interviewing for a job.
You should be aware of any inappropriate slang terms or references to age, gender, race, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. These topics may get you fired from your job.
Don’t Be Cocky
Your attitude plays a key role in whether or not you get the job. You need to be confident enough to stand out but not so confident that you come off as arrogant.
If you’re going to perform for an audience, even if you know you’re good at performing, overconfidence is just as bad, if not more so than being too reserved.
Interview tips in the world won’t save you if you come across as unprofessional.
Knowing More Than Your Elevator Pitch
You should be able to give a short elevator pitch in which you briefly introduce yourself, summarize your experience, and promote the most valuable professional assets you have.
However, make sure you’re comfortable talking about yourself beyond just that. You need to know how to talk about both your strengths and weaknesses.
Emphasize your best qualities and greatest abilities, while putting a positive twist on your areas for improvement.
You should be able to exert some degree of control over the conversation by using keywords and phrases.
For example, your interviewers might ask you questions like, “Have ever had a bad experience working for an employer?” Or “Tell me about one time when a coworker was unhappy working with you.”
If you’re not sure how to respond, you should be able to get them to ask a question by answering it yourself.
Then, you can use that question to bridge your response into a positive one. You should also have some questions of your own to pose to the interviewee.
You may encounter challenges in life and work environments that test your perseverance Companies want people who can face challenges head-on without losing their focus and energy.
Your answer should show that you’re able to endure and devote your skills and strengths to the company during hard times.
You should prepare for an interview by thinking about questions you might be asked.
If you don’t prepare for an interview, it’s likely that you won’t get hired. Most hiring managers can easily detect candidates who aren’t prepared.
Put aside at least an hour for preparation before or on the day you’re going to be interviewed. Here are some things to consider before preparing:
- Read the job description again and determine which responsibilities and requirements are most relevant to the position.
- Think of several specific answers to potential interview questions related to the job you’re applying for and what you’d be expected to do if hired.
- Write down everything you know about the job, including the skills needed for the position.
- Review your cover letter and resume again to ensure you remember how they initially presented themselves.
- Researching potential interview questions related to the job you’re applying for and your industry will help you prepare for any questions they might ask.
- Look up less specific questions that aren’t directly relevant to the job, but might still be asked. For example, practice some behavioral and situational interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What would be your
- Practice answering interview questions by talking through them with a friend or family member so you feel comfortable when actually answering questions during an interview.
- Include several specific examples from your past job experiences, including milestones, challenges, and successes. Use these questions to support your interview answers and to strengthen your responses.
- Make sure you review your notes from the research process before going into the interview. You want to be able to answer any questions they may have about the company.
Make sure you arrive at least fifteen minutes before the scheduled interview.
Being on time is an important trait that employers and hiring managers value and give them an idea of how reliable you will be on a day-to-day basis if you are hired.
If you want to be sure you arrive on time, plan out your outfit the night prior and iron it so that it’s already ready for the next day. Back up your purse or briefcase so you don’t lose anything important.
Also, make sure you have copies of your resume and cover letters on hand. Make sure you set an alarm and have reliable transportation for the interview.
Confidence is important when you’re talking about yourself but again it doesn’t warrant you to be rude.
Self-confidence is another important skill that will help candidates stand out from the crowd.
If a candidate lacks self-confidence, it could negatively affect how he/she performs during the interview.
A confident person will appear more relaxed and comfortable in front of his/her interviewer. He/she will also feel more at ease when answering questions.
There are several aspects involved in professionalism, and all of these are important when attending a career interview.
First, make sure your attire is professional and appropriate and is neatly pressed and cleaned.
Don’t wear clothes that are too casual or too formal, too large or too small, too revealing or flamboyant.
Neutral colors that go well together and don’t distract from each other are best. If you’re not sure about the dress code requirements for an interview, dress more formally than you would normally wear.
When arriving at the job interview location, be sure to greet the interviewer properly using professional language.
Treat everyone you meet with respect, even if they aren’t your direct supervisor.
Being polite and professional in your actions and words makes you seem kinder and more pleasant than if you were rude and unprofessional.
Relaying Your Interest
It’s very important to show the interviewer you’re very enthusiastic about the job. It’s important not to come across as too desperate to get hired for a job, or for any jobs.
It can sometimes be helpful to think of interviews as professional dates. If you seem too eager, too desperate, or too enthusiastic, you may come across as unprofessional.
Regardless of how much you want or feel you need the job, don’t act as if you’re desperate by pleading or begging for it.
The key is to be enthusiastic about the role and the company, and passionate about the work you do.
Remember that you’re a valuable asset to an organization.
Negotiating and persuading skills are important in some roles, especially ones related to sales and customer services.
A good negotiator should be able to communicate well, have excellent interpersonal skills, and understand the industry thoroughly.
Advanced Communication skills
Communication skills are important during the job interview process because they help you get hired. Communication skills include written verbal, and nonverbal communication skills.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind when communicating with others during interviews:
- When addressing an interview, always address the interviewer by name and ensure you say their name correctly.
- Start by asking some small talk questions. You should be prepared with some questions that are professional and conducive to an interview setting.
- Match your communication style with the hiring manager’s preferences. For example, if a hiring manager communicates professionally, try to match their tone. If they are more cheerful and offer jokes here and then, don’t be afraid if you do the same as long they’re appropriate.
- Don’t interrupt the person you’re interviewing when they’re talking.
- Avoid using jargon or abbreviations when speaking with the interviewer; instead, speak clearly and slowly.
- Avoid using speech fillers like “um” and “like.”
- Try to copy the interviewer’s body language. For example, if someone is sitting in an upright position at a desk with their hands on the desk, do the same.
- Pay attention to your own body language so that you present yourself in a professional and confident manner.
Listening skills are an important part of a successful interview experience, but they’re not the only ones.
It’s easy to hear someone talk, and while doing so, to think to yourself how to respond.
While this may seem like a good idea, it can also prevent us from listening to what the other person is trying to say.
You need to pay attention to your recruiter when he or she is talking. In fact, it is better to paraphrase what they are saying by giving them an appropriate verbal response.
You can also just do that in your head. Another great way to assert that you are attending is to use non-verbal cues like leaning to them when they talk, maintaining eye contact, or just nodding.
When you don’t understand something, make sure you ask for clarification. This will make your communication stronger.
Don’t change the subject too quickly and pay attention to any nonverbal cues the interviewers are giving you, such as their facial expressions and tone of speech, to get a better understanding of what they’re saying.
You’ll need to show that you’re a team member who can manage and delegate to others, but also have the ability and willingness to take on responsibility.
Teamwork is also about building a strong foundation as well as sustainable relationships. It is something that help everyone in the team to achieve their goals and business objectives.
Do your background research
It’s not a real interview skill, but it’s something you need to know.
If you walk into a job interview and say, “Now, what did you do again?” or ask questions like “Have you guys got funding yet?”, you are going to be judged right there and then.
Because this will clearly show that you didn’t do any background research on the company, especially public information and news that are out there.
It doesn’t matter how great your profile and experience are, and how much you are confident, background research is a must.
Be polite to everyone
You may have heard of people who were rude, cut someone off in traffic, or yelled at the cashier at the grocery store and then didn’t get hired for the job.
There are already a lot of things that can happen to ruin the opportunity you have at hand.
If someone is rude to the receptionists or baristas at the coffee shop, they will never, ever hire them. Many recruiters and HR professionals feel the same way.
So, the best you can do is be polite to everyone reducing any potential chances of friction.
Mind your body language
Body language can be a bit trickier to focus on. Minda Zetlin from My Inc has listed 21 body language mistakes people make.
Some of them are particularly important when interviewing for a job. For example:
- Lean forward or sit up straight to demonstrate interest.
- Make sure you keep eye contact but don’t just stare at them. Instead, look at them with a friendly gaze.
- Don’t nod too often. It might sound counterproductive but when you nod too much, it lasts its meaning. It means that you don’t care.
Watch your real language
If you have a bad mouth, save it for conversations with your friends, and don’t use it when you’re talking to someone interviewing you for a job.
If the interviewer allows the f-word to be used, then you can feel better by saying the same thing, but if not, use the words that most accurately describe your actual feelings and thoughts.
Review your resume Beforehand
Do you know your experiences so far? Do you remember all and can define them without hesitating?
You have to figure that out before you enter the room for your interview.
When you were interviewing for a job, you might get caught off-guard when the hiring manager asked a specific question about achievement on your resume.
Don’t make that mistake. Refresh your memory of your professional journey by revising thoroughly your resume.
Prepare for standard questions
Most of the interviewers are going to ask you some questions that are similar or the same in one way or another.
For example, they can ask you to tell them about that time when you, left the job yourself, or when you were promoted, or when you changed your industry, basically anything from your resume.
You should be ready with an appropriate answer for all these kinds of questions.
Jot down a list of potential questions you will be most likely to be asked and prepare for them.
Prepare your wardrobe
People form their judgment for another by looking at their wardrobes.
Most employers or people who are taking your interview will not pay attention to what brand you wear or about your shoes.
But they will form an opinion through it, especially what type of clothes you are wearing, how you are carrying them and more.
For most professional settings, they look for a suit, or something professional or formal. If you’re worried, go to their parking garage before the interview and watch who comes out.
If they’re business casual, you should dress up, and even if they are in too many casual clothes, you still better be dressed up well, no matter what.
Remember it is always better to be overdressed in an interview than underdressed.
Don’t Talk Too Much
Don’t tell the interviewer more than he really needs to know.
If you haven’t prepared for an interview, you might ramble when answering an interview question, which could lead to you not getting the job.
Read through the job posting thoroughly, match your skills with the position’s requirements, and relate only that information.
Prepare your questions
Don’t ask questions that can easily be answered by simply looking at the job description.
It is better to ask about the potential and challenges of the job position.
You can also ask if the role of the job position in the company and how it helps the organization.
Remember, you want others to think you’re really enthusiastic about this job, and you must have this knowledge to succeed.
send a thank you card
You don’t actually need to send a physical card anymore; emails works also great.
It is important to send a quick follow-up email saying thank you to the recruiter after submitting your application.
This keeps you remembered in people’s memories and shows that you are considerate and polite.
Being nice only going to increase the success of your interviews.