Feeling clueless about your next interview? Is it your first interview?
Research shows that when interview applicants receive coaching on interview techniques are are familiar with these 6 topics, they are more likely to have a great interview.
Getting informed on these seven topics will make you feel confident, calmer, and score those high ratings on your next interview.
1. Know the 101 on Interviews
What exactly happens in an interview? What can be expected of you in an interview? Whats the point of the interview? These are all questions you need to understand in order to succeed.
The simplest definition of an interview is that its a company's way of asking an applicant (you) a set of questions that will pertain to the applicant's past job behavior and also examine what the applicant would do in a number of "hypothetical" job-relevant situations.
You must understand that as much as you might feel pressure during the interview (and you should!), an interview is a 2 way street. It is used for you to get to know the employer and company as well. It is your chance to learn more about the position and culture of the company. Maybe you're interested in a very laid back environment. Maybe you desire a competitive environment. Maybe you seek to work somewhere that emphasizes community service, or creativity, etc. The list of options goes on forever! And its up to you to decide what you want, and be willing to compromise as no job will be perfect.
Usually an interview will occur after you've been invited to meet with the recruiter or other staff member of the company. Recruiters or hiring managers are the people responsible in the company to seek out new employees or "new talent" to work at the company. Often times these staff members are responsible for understanding a need in the workplace (e.g., we have a sudden influx of customers at our ABC Company - we need more sales people to be able to interact with people), and then following up by searching through resumes, interviewing, and hiring the best fit for the company.
Although usually the interview will take place with the recruiter or hiring manager, often times you will have more relevant staff members (people who you could be working on the same team with, same department, or same office area, for example) who may be in the interview as well.
So, you may have appointed time slots to meet with different staff members, sometimes it will be very formal (list of questions), or informal (the potential engineering team takes you out to lunch to get to know you). It may also be an individual interview where you meet with only one person at at time, but it could also be a panel interview, where there are multiple people asking you questions as well as multiple people that you are interviewing with simultaneously.
Usually interviews will consist of question that ask you about specific instances in the past that make you suited for the job, but they may also ask you to answer hypothetical questions (e.g., what would you do if you were the manager and someone came in yelling into the office while you were giving a major presentation to company stakeholders), or even mock-activities, where the staff members ask you to perform a relevant duty on the spot (e.g., can you write a code script to create a window pop up).
2. Know About the Different Types Of Interviews (Structured vs. Unstructured) & the Advantages of Each Type
Your entire interview day is going to be formatted in one of two structures:
Unstructured interviews risk putting you and everyone else applying at unfair playing fields!
What if the recruiter only asks the applicant after you to state specific examples of that program that is needed for the job, and not you or anyone else? By default, that lucky applicant is going to seem better suited for the job than you! All because him and the recruiter actually had the chance to talk about what was important for the job (because the recruiter remembered to bring it up).
So what do you do if you don't feel the topic of the interview conversation isn't structured or isn't prompting you to talk about the skillsets and experience that make you suited for the job?
Simply put, you steer the conversation in the direction you want. Answer the prompts the interviewer asks you (Remember, they may simply checking for how well you can hold a conversation and be a "people-person"), but include transition words in your speech to cover topics that will showcase your skill set.
It is your job to "Sell Yourself" to the employer - not the other way around!
Don't expect the perfect prompts from the interviewer to pull out all the best information from you - steer the conversation and be sure to include information about your skill-sets, experience, and accomplishments that show you are a great applicant. Check out our Blog Post: Didn't Get To Talk About Your Awesome Accomplishments In the Interview? to learn how to do this without seeming rude!
3. Know About the General Interview-Day Logistics
While this will always depend on the individual company and how formal, informal, big or small, and type of industry, we provide you with an example interview day itinerary:
Of course, this is all very dependent on the company. Perhaps you'll only meet with one person, or it will only be a 20 minute interview. In any case and no matter how nervous you are, you must try to remain calm, friendly, and ask compelling questions! Be someone that these people will remember (positively!).
5. Engage in Some Interview Role Plays
Up to this point, you've only been reading about tips for interviewing.
The best way to get better at interviewing is to practice!
Ask a friend to practice asking you questions, even if they're really basic questions like: Tell me about yourself? or What do you know about computer program X?
Ask them to be frank with you about any mannerisms you have, and work hard to practice addressing them:
It's also helpful to observe other people answer questions and see what you would personally recommend they do better. Once you have your list of questions you want to practice with, ask if your friend would volunteer to answer the questions, too! (Even if they're making up answers, so long as they're trying to be serious, this is still helpful). Observing other people interview will help you to mentally switch places and better understand what the interviewer is looking for during the interview.
Even if its embarrassing and awkward - wouldn't you prefer to be awkward and embarrassed with a friend before the interview, rather than learning from your mistakes after the interview occurred?
6. Learn Some General Interview Tips
Some general tips we provide you with:
Want more tips? Check out UQ Resume products and services geared to totally prepare you for your upcoming interview!
The Ebook Guide is full of checklists, prompts, and examples for preparing for your interview (including specific topics to research and other tips).
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