We’ve looked at resumes (and we’ll continue to do that more) but it’s time to start thinking about what you should be doing at the next stage. This post on job interview tips will give you a foundation for this crucial stage.
I have a friend who loves job interviews. He’s been to more than needed and in fact has on more than one occasion interviewed for a position he didn’t plan on accepting just to get practice for when he has an interview for a job he wants.
He once told me the best thing about a job interview is it’s the only time a group of people will sit down with you just to talk about how great you are. He was being facetious, but he’s actually half right. Yes, you are supposed to talk about why you’re great, but it needs to relate to what the employer wants.
Thinking about the entire process of gaining a job, it isn’t about “me,” it’s really about “we”. By now you should know all about yourself and how your skills fit within the generic skills required in the position description and the specific skills in the selection criteria. The reason you’ve moved onto the interview stage is because you’ve satisfied their general requirements. Now you’ve got an interview, it’s all about the employer.
What are they doing?
We’ve spoken before about researching a company to find out if they are the right organisational culture fit for you, but you should also be doing research to find out more about the company. This information is usually easily found on a company’s website, but there are other avenues such as social media, news sites and press releases among other places.
More importantly, however, understanding the company allows you to understand the reason you were asked a certain question. All the questions are really about the organisation itself.
Example: you are interviewing for a company that has recently released several new products. During the interview, you are asked a question about how you handle deadlines.
The interviewer is really asking: we have a lot of hard deadlines. Can you meet those deadlines?
I’m my favourite subject
Before I interviewed for my first professional job, I read the company’s website over and over until I had memorised it. When they asked me to tell them about their own company, I recited their history, the types of products they offered, which of those products were recent additions and which had been around for a while, their major partners and the recent growth the company had experienced. They were impressed. I quickly demonstrated how interested I was in the job (very).
Everyone loves talking and hearing about themselves, so it should come as no surprise that employers are often disappointed when an interviewee fails to relate their answers back to the organisation. In the above example, an easy win for you is to tell the interviewer why you’re great at meeting deadlines and then add “I think having this skill is important to help you continue to release new and exciting products, such as…” and list some of the products.
I’m an employer, AMA!
The research you’ve done as part of your preparation for the role should also inform the questions you ask during the job interview. And you should be asking questions during your job interview because this shows your interest in the job, your ability to research and your ability to ask questions where needed.
As Sinead said in our pod on job interviews, though, you should be asking questions that build on information that’s publicly available. Therefore, asking how long a company has existed is not a great question because a couple of clicks can get you that info pretty quickly. A great question is how a company plans to continue to build upon its recent successes.
There’s more to interviewing well than just having good answers and questions, however. An estimated three-quarters of interviews fail within the first 3 minutes. Learn more by listening to the pod.
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