Cracking an interview is an essential step in securing a job. A job interview is an excellent opportunity to highlight your skills, experience, and suitability. Your success in a job interview depends on your preparation, performance, and post-interview follow-up. This article will discuss various steps and tips to help you crack a job interview.
How to crack a job interview
Good preparation helps you perform well during the interview. Similarly, some post-interview activities such as informing your referees and following up with HR also increase your chances of success. Follow these guidelines to ace a job interview and stand out from other candidates:
Review the job description
Review the job description to understand the skills and qualifications the employer expects you to have. It will also give you an idea about the job’s duties and responsibilities. This information will help you customize your CV for the position and prepare for the questions the interviewer may ask. Try to analyze your strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis those required by the job to decide how you should approach the interview.
Research the company
Most employers prefer hiring candidates that have good knowledge about the company. You can start your research by visiting the company website and social media accounts to learn about its mission, business, and work culture. You may also want to go through employee reviews on third-party websites to get an insight into its employees’ experiences. Knowing more about the company and the interviewer will help you align your response with the company culture and values.
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If possible, also try to find out more about the interviewer on professional networking platforms so that you get familiar with their personality and temperament.
Revise your CV
Once you have gained enough insight into the position and the company, customize your CV to match it with the job and the company. Highlight the skills and strengths that the employer has explicitly specified. Pick up some prominent keywords from the job description and the company profile, and use them in your resume. Make sure the information you provide is genuine and honest.
Practice your answers
Refresh your subject knowledge and prepare for the tests that may form part of the interview. Organizing your thoughts will help you impressively express yourself. Think about the interviewer’s questions and how you would respond to them. Search for common interview questions based on the job profile, company, and experience level.
Besides domain-related questions, some of the common potential interview questions include the following:
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why do you want this job?
- Why are you looking for a change?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in another five years?
You can also ask someone to conduct a mock interview. Consider recording it to analyze your performance and look for areas to improve. Rehearsing for the interview can increase your confidence to face the actual interview.
Be on time
Plan your travel to reach the interview venue at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Showing up early for the interview shows that you value time. It also gives you some time to relax and freshen up, especially after a long, tiring journey. Use the location map sent by the company or browse through Google Maps to get familiar with the route. Double-check the destination displayed by your GPS device and arrange your mode of transport in advance.
Follow the proper dress code.
If there is any specific dress code stated in the job description or the interview letter, make sure you dress accordingly. In the absence of such guidelines, you should attend a job interview in formal attire. If you are using perfume, deodorant, or hair gel, make sure it’s mild. Keeping your clothes and accessories (shoes, socks, belt, tie) ready the night before the interview can prevent unexpected hassles on the interview day.
Carry the required documents and devices
If applicable, make sure to carry all the essential documents, including your CV, cover letter, reference letters, academic certificates, and salary slips from your previous job. Organize them neatly in a file or folder. Keep a pen and paper handy so you don’t have to borrow them during the interview. If you need a laptop or tablet to show your work or make a presentation, carry one.
Present yourself well
It is helpful if you start behaving professionally when you reach the venue and act politely with everyone you meet. Enter your details in the register if the security person asks you to. Usually, you have to submit your resume at reception and follow their instructions. Be patient while waiting at the reception, and keep your interaction with other candidates minimal. It is good to switch off your mobile or keep it in silent or vibration mode. If you think it is unavoidable to take a call, talk in a low voice.
Giving a cheerful greeting when you meet the interviewer creates a favorable atmosphere. Try to speak using a constant pace and clear voice. Let the information emerge in a natural flow instead of rushing to get out everything you know in one breath. If you don’t know something, be honest about it. If you need a minute or two to think, you can ask for it. Being sincere and having good clarity of thought will place you in a stronger position than other candidates.
Active listening is an essential skill in a promising candidate. Try to be attentive and listen to the interviewer carefully. Employers consider it a good professional ethic when you avoid interrupting the conversation in a formal setting.
Understand the questions and other details properly before beginning to answer them. Sometimes, the additional information that the interviewer provides may prove helpful in answering questions that they may ask later in the interview. Observing how the interviewer reacts to your answers can help you fine-tune your responses to other questions.
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Highlight your skills and achievements
Try to highlight your skills and accomplishments that would help you excel in the new job. A little preparation can help you tie each of your answers to one or the other craft or quality in some manner. If you get a question like “What are your strengths?” or “Why are you looking for a change?” utilize this opportunity to explain why you are suitable for the job. Be sure to answer confidently and informally with a modest and humble tone.
Use positive body language.
Your body language tells a lot about your attitude and confidence level. For example, slouching or shaking your legs can indicate nervousness. In contrast, sitting too informally in a laid-back posture can be interpreted as lacking proper office etiquette. Try to appear professional and composed without looking too informal or overconfident. Some examples of positive body language include sitting straight, exhibiting optimistic expressions, and making direct eye contact with the interviewer.
Be precise and focused.
Interviewers usually have a busy schedule and rarely have time for lengthy answers. They appreciate crisp and focused responses. Hence, keep your answers short and direct. At the same time, be sure to include all the essential information. Customize your solutions based on their specific questions and the additional information you get during the interview. Whenever required, speak positively about your previous and current employers. Try to assess the mood and personality of the interviewer and adapt yourself accordingly.
Ask appropriate questions
Towards the end of the interview, most interviewers allow you to clarify your doubts and queries. Asking questions shows that you are interested in learning more about the job and the company. For example, you can ask about your day-to-day responsibilities, the company’s values, or department-specific questions. Try to avoid asking about the salary in technical or first-stage interviews.
Provide your references
You should list two or three references in your resume or job application. When someone from the company calls any of your contacts for verification, their response should conform with your provided information. If you haven’t already informed your references that you applied for a job, contact them after your interview and tell them about any upcoming verification calls to ensure good referrals.
Follow up with the HR
If you don’t get to hear from the company within the expected timeframe, do not hesitate to follow up with HR. You may either call them up or send them an email. Make sure to state your name, the position you applied for, and the interview date to help them recall you easily. Follow-up is usually helpful in cases where you are on a waiting list, or the company is undecided on choosing between two or more candidates. Follow-up can make the company have a change of mind and give you priority over other candidates in such cases.