It’s quite a big deal when you are selected for an interview because not all job applicants are allowed to walk through a company’s door to be considered for an open position. However, once you get to this stage of the game you have to be prepared to the max! The job interview is where most candidates fail when they are trying to get hired.
There are quite a few things you can do to prepare for the interview process such as knowing the most common questions and answers as well as other job interview preparation tips.
Here are a few lesser-known but good interview tips you can place in your arsenal to get the job you want:
- Know your job interview strengths and weaknesses and make the most of them. For example, you may be a strong communicator but perhaps you may feel as if your education leaves a little to be desired because your grades were average. Be prepared to answer difficult questions such as why your GPA was 2.3 at a local college and redirect that question to your qualifications and success regarding real work experience. The more you concentrate on improving your weaknesses, the more prepared and confident you will be so you should consider bettering yourself as a lifelong commitment.
- Never ever talk bad about your previous employer! If you put down your previous company or supervisor, it shows you may be a problematic worker and you can probably forget about getting hired. It also shows you may be someone who is negative and full of excuses and alibis; this is exactly the type of person nobody wants to hire. Even if you had a bad experience at your previous job through no fault of your own, be positive and say something such as you felt the need for a more challenging work environment instead of how you had to leave because one worker was driving you crazy.
- Be very careful about what you post on social media. Most every single company looks at this these days before they hire someone. The last thing they need to see is a great job candidate posting half-naked pictures of last night’s party at Smoky’s Tavern complete with foul language and a Rastafarian with long dreadlocks blowing marijuana smoke in your face while cracking up! Always avoid foul language and sexual innuendo when you are exchanging messages and posts on social media. If you don’t, it can come back and haunt you in a big way.
If you know a little about the most common interview questions and answers before you go through the application process of any company, your confidence level will rise dramatically and you will place yourself in a favorable position during any job interview. Some people go as far as even rehearsing how they will answer specific questions and I have no doubt this can work well as long as you have the ability to act natural while doing so. Still, it’s probably a better idea to simply be well-informed on what the most common interview questions are so you don’t get blindsided with an unexpected question you have no answer for.
Not Every Interview Question Is Actually a Question
“Tell us about yourself” and “describe a difficult situation you were able to resolve and explain what you did to resolve it” are two very common subjects an interviewer will expect you to talk about during the interview process. You should never walk into a job interview without having a response to these two suggestions in the back of your mind.
One of the most common interview questions that really is not a question is when you are asked to talk about yourself. Only highlight the positive aspects of your work life (not your personal life) and stay far away from anything negative. The idea is to talk about the your key skills that make you the perfect fit for their company. If the interviewer asks you a specific question in response to what you say about yourself, always paint that subsequent answer in a positive light. Most interviewers don’t want to hear about how your dog “Puffy” is the only faithful companion you can trust in the world and they certainly don’t want to hear about how you love to party till the wee hours on Friday nights!
When you are told to describe a difficult situation, you need to have a great response that shows your problem-solving skills. Avoid describing how the customer was “out of hand” or “completely out of control” and opt for descriptions like “the customer was displeased” and concentrate on a straightforward explanation that paints you as a patient, composed, dedicated, and talented problem-solver.
Here are 5 of the most common interview questions:
- Why do you want to work for us? Your answer should be tailored to how well your skills match the company’s philosophy as well as how your talent perfectly matches the position you are seeking. Also, talk about how the job can benefit you as well as how the company is going to benefit from your efforts and talents.
- Where do you see yourself in your career, 5 years from now? Whatever your response is to this one, NEVER say you don’t know. You need to be quick to respond to this one in a confident and hopeful manner as you describe how you are perfectly cut out for this job because you want to go from whatever position you are applying for to another one you have researched within the company. You can also explain how you are aware of the specific training offered or not offered by the company and how you plan on completing all the necessary requirements to get you there.
- What are your greatest weaknesses? Try your best to be as honest as possible by giving an example of a slight weakness you may have that perhaps a supervisor pointed out and explain how you have improved by (talk about what you have specifically done to improve in that area). You should never mention a negative trait that may completely disqualify you such as, “I have had a problem showing up to work on time” or “I sometimes have trouble working alongside others.”
- Why should we hire you? This is an excellent opportunity to highlight your work history and all of your skills and talents as they relate to the job you are hoping to land. This one should be easy but you need to take the time to research the job opening, and match all of your qualities to that position so you can explain it convincingly.
- Was there anything you didn’t like or that you thought was unfair in your last job? If you say “no” to this one, you risk appearing dishonest. Some interviewers throw this question out there to see if a job applicant is lying and many are convinced if a person says nothing negative at all, they are indeed not being truthful. When the interviewer asks this question he or she is trying to see how you handled the situation and they are also looking to see if you are either trying to shift the blame on someone or something or if you took responsibility for your problem.
The most common interview questions vary from company to company, so it’s impossible to forecast which ones they will ask. However, the above-mentioned questions alone can give you a distinct advantage over anyone else who hasn’t bothered to research this subject at all. Finally, be honest during your interview; experienced professionals can spot B.S. from a mile away!
Let’s face it; to get hired today in a very difficult and competitive market can be a daunting task. In a perfect world, I wish everybody who submitted an application and went for a job interview would get hired. Of course, we all know that it’s not possible but if you arm yourself with the right job interview preparation tips you can easily place yourself far above any other applicant when it comes to the actual job interview.
Here are 5 important job interview preparation tips to stand out as an excellent candidate for the position:
1. Don’t look desperate. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re at their job interview is to look desperate instead of cool, calm, and confident. It’s understandable that you want this amazing job opportunity but if you look or come off like beggar on a street corner you’re going to miss out on your big chance to get hired today. Instead, keep your composure and give the impression to the interviewer that this is a very important opportunity for you but your life does not depend on it. Simply maintain professionalism and exude confidence with your body language while letting your qualifications speak for themselves. Preparing for job interviews starts with keeping everything in perspective and maintaining your composure without looking desperate.
2. Don’t appear arrogant. While we are on the subject of trying your best to not look like you are desperate, by the same token, don’t appear as if you are a “know-it-all” who shows no humility. No matter what your accomplishments are, give them the impression that although you are very proud of your achievements and not just anybody could have accomplished them, that you are a modest person.
No one likes a person who brags and carries on about how he or she did this or that without letting the interviewer get a word in edgewise. There’s a difference between a job candidate explaining how he or she solved a crisis within their previous company and a person who continues to ramble on about how the company could not have survived without their service.
3. Come prepared. Of all the job interview preparation tips available, this is one that’s easily overlooked out of excitement and nervousness. Did you conduct any research whatsoever about the company before trying to get hired today? You can easily do so by looking at the company website and even by networking and personally asking questions. Have you practiced answering common interview questions with the help of a friend or family member? This type of role playing can work wonders for your confidence level.
Many job applicants miss out on a golden opportunity when a job interviewer asks what they think about this or that as it relates to the company. Preparing for job interviews involves being able to give the impression that you have done your homework, you will greatly impress the people conducting the interview and increase your chances of getting hired.
Have an idea about how the open position matches your skills, qualifications, and experience. If you don’t have any experience in a certain aspect of the job opening, be prepared to let them know how you plan on being able to be up to that particular task associated with the job.
4. Don’t appear nervous and/or fidgety. To have a chance to get hired today, you need to place your feet flat on the floor and avoid shaking your leg up and down. While you’re at it, leave the chewing gum at home! It’s perfectly natural to be nervous during an interview but if you are trembling with fear, that’s a different story. With a little practice and a lot of preparation, you will see your confidence level rise tremendously.
If you bomb on your first few interviews, take them as a learning lesson, learn as many job interview preparation tips as possible and resolve to making sure you will be more prepared the next time. Most people get this “stage fright” and the feeling of butterflies but it does fade away with more experience and time. A good tip or trick here that may help you is to pretend you don’t need this job that badly and there are plenty of other jobs, even if it’s not true!
5. Ask questions when asked to do so. If the interviewer asks at the end of the interview, “Do you have any questions?” there is no reason why you should not have at least one question to ask, especially since you have conducted so much research about the company. Failing to act here can cause the interviewer to get the impression you are not that excited about the position and you just want the interview to end or that you are not as interested in the job as previously thought.
Preparing for job interviews is the key to success; if you go in there unprepared you may be setting yourself up for failure unless you are one of those few people who are so personable they can just wing it! Get hired today by being prepared and acting in a composed and confident manner.