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Preparing for job interview

11/7/2013 12:00:00 AM

One of the most critical parts of job-hunting is the interview. It could be the clinching factor or the losing cause of your effort to start a professional career. In other words, it could make or break your chances of getting that dream job.

 

Take the case of Jenny Mayer. She applied for a technical support position in a technology company. Looking at her ‘rich’ resume, she was qualified for the position. Her curriculum vitae revealed outstanding academic performance and good organizational experience having been an active member of several school groups. Her credentials have been noticed and she passed the first screening with ease. Jenny came in the interview with so much confidence that she would likewise pass the second screening because of her impressive scholastic credentials. But Jenny overlooked one important point: to impress the employer during the interview session. To put it simply, Jenny failed to get the job because she didn’t perform well in the interview.

 

“It was indeed a learning experience for me. I came unprepared during the interview because perhaps, I was too confident having good academic records. I felt I already had the advantage over other candidates. What was most embarrassing was when I was asked why I applied for that company and I wasn’t able to give a good answer because I don’t know exactly the services offered by the company I am applying for,” confessed Jenny.

 

Definitely, you could have a different fate as what Jenny had by arming yourself with surefire ways on how to turn the interview session to a winning discussion for you. Here are some key points you should consider before getting into the battle field:

  • Research about the company you are applying for. Your application to the company means that you want to be a part of that organization. Therefore, it is but important that you know something about the company. You can check out the company website for such information or you can do some ‘investigative works’ to get details. The interviewer almost always asks questions that would measure how well you know the company you are applying for. Just look at Jenny’s experience.
  • Anticipate questions for the interview. Prepare Q and A sheet ahead of time. Practice your answers if you must. You can probably ask a friend or a family member to help you out during ‘rehearsal’ of Q and A. Here are some of the frequently asked questions during employment interview:
  • Tell me about yourself? – Highlight your qualifications, previous work or internship experience and work habits other than those written in your resume

  • What are your strengths? – Point out your positive attributes. You can cite previous experiences in school or internship which would demonstrate such strengths. 

  • What are your weaknesses? – As everybody has weaknesses, admit yours. However, offer strong attributes that would compensate for those weaknesses. 

  • What qualifies you for the position? -Emphasize your qualifications. Highlight those that that match with the job description you are applying for.

  • How do you think would you be able to contribute to the company? – Again, you can offer your positive work habits and positive attributes as a worker. Avoid ‘committal’ commitments (i.e., I can raise the company sales by 5% if you hire me) which could just put you in a disadvantage point. 

  • Why do you want to be part of this organization? – You can impress the employer by sharing with them what you know about the company (its reputation, achievements or milestones) and then segue to how your positive work habits and strengths can further contribute to the company.

  • How do you handle work stress? – You can give positive answers such as resorting to exercise (going to the gym, etc), socializing with friends (i.e playing badminton, watching a good film with them, etc), reading motivational books (if you mention this, be sure you have read one as you might be asked what was the most recent book you’ve read), or any activity that helps you turn stress into productive energy.

  • How do you see yourself five years from now? – Clearly explain your career goals in line with the job you are applying for. Avoid giving answers that could work against your bid such as implying interest in the position of your potential boss. 

Always remember to answer the questions clearly, short and straight to the point. Don’t go around the bush. The interviewer provides limited time for every candidate and it is important that you’ll be able to communicate key points. Also, try to maintain good eye contact and good posture. Try to relax and feel comfortable talking with the interviewer.

  • Read, read, and read. - Be in the know of the current trends, market updates, industry news and technological developments in line with your profession. Any company would want an employee who is in the loop of advancements.
  • Go out to win! – Carry with you tons of optimism and confidence that you can handle the interview and get the job.

The interview is your chance to show the potential employer your capabilities and worthiness to be part of his or her organization. So, do your best! Whatever happens, you’d come out as a ‘winner’ because you know from your heart that you performed to the best of your abilities.