How to prepare for a job interview? 3 Tips from a recruitment consultant
Tip 1: Know the company and the vacancy by heart
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to go into a job interview unprepared. You obviously don’t need to know all of the 1000 products a company owns, but just do some research on the company in general.
- What are the values of the company?
- What sector are they operating in?
- Are they active in other companies?
- And so on…
If you don’t do your research, it might come of as a lack of interest in the company or the position you are applying for. You can highlight the fact that you did your research by asking relevant questions about the company during the interview.
This might sound straight forward, but look at the vacancy you applied for as well. Make sure you know what traits the recruiter is looking for and try to highlight those that align with your profile. You know they are trying to find the right person for the job, so why not make their life easier? Again, come up with some questions to ask about the position. This shows you are genuinly interested in the position and that you want to make sure it is the right one for you as well.
Now let’s talk about your outfit. To make the right choice, you can research the company culture. Looking at pictures on their website might already give you an indication of how they expect you to dress. If you are still not sure: don’t dress down, as it is better to be slightly overdressed than the other way around. If you dress too casual, they might think you are not serious about the position. Don’t forget to wear something that you feel comfortable in as well, this will help with your nerves!
Tip 2: Prepare for tricky questions
Even though it is important to answer questions as honest and spontaneous as possible, researching the most commonly asked questions is important.
- What are your strong and weak points?
- What does your career look like up until now?
- How would you describe your personality?
Interviewers know that those are the cliché questions and therefore they also know you had time to prepare them. So not knowing the answer to one of those, might not work in your favor.
Often, recruiters will try to hide the fact that they are asking a cliché question by asking it in a slightly different way. For example: ‘What is a skill your colleague has that you wish you had as well?’. If you prepare the cliché questions, you will most likely be able to answer these as well.
You can also look up some more difficult questions to get a picture of what the recruiter could ask, but preparing for every single question is impossible. It is best to stick to the basic questions and answering the other ones in the moment. You can also practice with a friend and let them come up with some questions if that helps you calm your nerves.
Another tip is to prepare a sentence to say when you need a minute to think about the answer. You will not be rejected just because you needed some time to think about a question. Know that a lot of the questions are made to challenge you a bit, so don’t lose hope when one of them does not go as well as planned. Just keep a smile on your face and don’t let them see you sweat!
Tip 3: Make sure you can fully focus during the interview
After preparing for the content of the interview, make sure to prepare for the practical side as well.
Start by knowing exactly when and where the interview will take place. Make sure you know how you can get there and how long that will take you. Calculating this will make you feel less stressed the day of your interview. Don’t forget to take into account some spare minutes to freshen up, find the right office and still be a few minutes early.
Okay, you arrived. Now make sure you can fully focus on the interview by taking away as many distractions as possible. Put your phone on silent, for example. If the interview is online, try to shut down the notifications on your laptop as well. This enables you to focus completely on the interview and gives you more credibility then checking your notifications every 5 minutes. It can also be useful to pack some business cards or a copy of relevant documents to give to the recruiters.