8 tips for a successful job interview
You’ve applied for a job and the recruiter contacted you for a job interview? Congratulations! Piquing the recruiter’s interest with your CV is already a great success! To go further and succeed in your job interview, you must prepare for it.
Here are 8 tips to help you prepare for your job interview.
1) Look up the company
You will be interviewed by one or more people who represent the company. It’s up to you to prove your motivation by showing that not only do you know this company, but that you have studied it and that it interests you.
Doing research on the company not only will allow you to confirm your interest, but also help you feel more comfortable.
If the recruiter asks you what you know about the company, with a little preparation it is very easy to show the difference between you and someone who didn’t study the company.
Here are some key elements that you can prepare before the interview:
- Date of when the company was established
- Number of employees
- Company activities
- Company values
- Cities and countries in which it operates
- Latest news: press, company blog, social networks
- Knowledge of the market in general
2) Study the job description
Job descriptions are a wealth of information that you need to know precisely.
You can’t be faulted for not knowing every detail of a company you are not part of. However, recruiters will be demanding your knowledge of the job description, which you have had the time to study. Whether it is the brief presentation of the company, the mission, your tasks, or the profile sought, you must fully understand the reason for their search and why you are the right candidate.
If you do not understand one of the tasks mentioned in the job description, write it down and ask the recruiter for details.
3) Arrive ready
If there’s a day when you need to be on time, it’s at your job interview. For some recruiters, a delay on the day of the interview is the end of the process. However, if you are late, the least you can do is call your recruiter to let them know in advance that you are late and to apologize.
Come with all the documents you may need for your interview:
- Your CV with several copies (at least 2 for you and your recruiter)
- The job description (annotated if necessary)
- A notebook for taking notes (and 2 pens)
- Your ID
4) Prepare a presentation of yourself
Here comes the essential part of a job interview: “Tell me about yourself”! This is one of the most open ended questions you will have to answer during your interview. This is your opportunity to present yourself in your best light, so it’s important to prepare for it and to be impactful, concise and clear. You must be able to present yourself between 1 and 3 minutes maximum so state only the essentials.
Keep in mind that the recruiter has already read your CV, it is now up to you to explain your choices of studies, career, what led you to change companies, or why you’ve chosen to interview with them. Say enough for the recruiter to understand your background but cut out unnecessary details. If an element of your CV deserves to be investigated, the recruiter will ask you questions afterwards.
5) Use the STAR method
If you want to be successful in your job interview, you need to demonstrate the skills that you are selling. To do this, as soon as you present a know-how or interpersonal skills, use the STAR method to illustrate it with an example:
- Situation: State the situation your were in or the problem you faced
- Tasks: What was your role in this situation? What do you have to do with the situation?
- Actions: Detail the actions you took to overcome this situation
- Results: Expose the results, how the situation was unblocked…
By using the STAR method, you demonstrate to your recruiter your ability to analyse a situation, organise your pitch and you will stand out from other candidates!
6) Mind your verbal and body language
There are some things about the verbal and body language that may be obvious to some, but not to everyone.
This is the vocabulary you use:
- Don’t be informal, even if the recruiter is the same age as you.
- Use strong, appropriate language, even if you apply for a job in a start-up.
- Avoid language tics such as “eeerm”, “actually” or “you know”, for instance.
Para verbal language
The para verbal language is everything that revolves around your speech, the way you express yourself.
- The tone of your voice: do not shout but the recruiter must hear you too, an inappropriate tone can portray stress or overconfidence.
- The speed of your speech: don’t rush your answers, stressed candidates tend to pick up the pace.
Non-verbal language is anything that does not come out of your mouth.
- Dress professionally.
- Pay attention to your posture: try not to collapse or rock in your chair, shake your legs or play with your clothes or jewellery…
You can practice in front of your mirror or record yourself in order to notice the potential tics you have. Even though this isn’t an easy exercise, it has proven to be very effective!
7) Prepare questions
At the end of the interview, the recruiter will ask you if you have any questions. This is the moment for you to clarify the points which are not clear to you!
Not asking a question can be seen as a lack of interest or motivation on your part. So, even if you have had all of your questions answered, there is always something to ask:
- After X years in this business, what did you like the most?
- Is there something I haven’t been clear enough about and you would like me to come back to?
- What is the next step in the process?
Remember that an interview is not a one-way street, it is an exchange / meeting between a candidate and the company who both have to introduce themselves.
8) Thank your recruiter
Once the interview is over, take about ten minutes to write a thank you email to your recruiter.
In addition to appearing polite, you will be able to renew your interest in the position in question, leave a good impression and once again set yourself apart from your competition for this role.
To conclude, preparation is the key for a successful job interview.
There is nothing random about a job interview: the better prepared you are, the better your chances of succeeding in your job interview!