It’s no secret. Job interviews are terrifying.
Imagine getting that phone call or email saying you got an interview for your dream job in your dream company. Oh, the excitement! But it’s only a matter of seconds before anxiety creeps in, and just about every possible worst-case scenario pops into your head. Does that ever happen to you?
That’s why we’re here. We want to help you prepare for that interview so you can calm down and focus on slaying it. Because you can and you will! Whether you’re already scheduled for an interview or still waiting for one, here’s an interview guide on the important things you need to know before coming to the interview!
1. Interview Details
So you got accepted for an interview! Congratulations. The next step is making sure you actually make it to the interview. Repeat after me: the deal is in the detail. (The interview details, to be exact.)
There will be a lot of names to memorize once you get the job but, for now, knowing your interviewer’s name is enough. Check the text or email for their name and job title so you’d know how to address them properly. Quick research is encouraged, too!
P.S. Some interviewers hate it when their name is misspelled or mispronounced. The best practice is to listen carefully when your interviewer mentions their name during the call, or you can discreetly ask HR.
Place & Time
One of the worst nightmares that can happen in an interview is realizing you’re in the wrong building an hour late to your schedule. Yikes! Triple-check your invitation for the exact place and time of your interview.
To be safe, check the maps for the best route to the office and give yourself a safe time allowance for unforeseen events. Better safe than sorry!
You know you’re coming in for an interview, but what step in the process are you in exactly? It usually takes 2-3 interviews before a company makes a decision. The questions during the first interview are different from the second or third, and you’d want to come prepared all throughout.
The trick is to 1) know who will be interviewing you and 2) anticipate what type of questions they might ask. A dead giveaway to know the purpose is the email invite! Will you be interviewed by the manager? By the CEO? That’s your clue right there. *wink wink*
2. Answers To The Most Common Interview Questions
How you answer the interview questions can make or break your chance of getting the job. While you won’t know the exact questions you’ll be asked, you can prepare for the common interview questions just in case they come around.
“Tell me something about yourself.”
“How can a question be so easy and so hard at the same time?” is what you’re probably thinking, right? Before you gush about all your achievements in life, know that HR reads your CV beforehand so there’s no need to repeat yourself. Instead, say something unique about yourself that can set yourself apart and above from other applicants. Are there skills, talents, and advocacies you feel strongly about? Keep it short but interesting.
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
Now, this is the trick question of all trick questions. How do you enumerate your strengths without sounding arrogant? And how do you enumerate your weaknesses without shooting yourself in the foot?
Tbh, there’s no one way to answer this question. But the rule of thumb would be highlighting strengths and weaknesses that could only help you get the role. Would you say you’re struggling with math for a finance position? Yup, didn’t think so.
“What do you know about the company?”
Skip the memorized answer (read: mission and vision) and go personal! When interviewers ask this question, they’re more likely interested in your why than what. Why do you want to work for the company? Sure, read up on the company’s “About” page but make sure your answer reflects why you’re personally invested in the organization.
P.S. If the company name is commonly abbreviated or referred to as an acronym, it’s a no-brainer that you know what it means beforehand.
“Do you have any questions for us?”
The interview isn’t just for the employer. It’s for you, too. When the tables are turned and you’re asked for questions, don’t just smile and shrug. Use this opportunity to ask meaningful and relevant questions that can help you decide if this is the job for you. After all, the company should make you want them back.
Ask questions that aren’t usually brought up in the actual interview. Think company growth, work culture, and even those targeted to the interviewer. Not only do you learn about your future workplace, but it shows you are genuinely interested in the position, too. Win-win!
“What’s your expected salary?”
Now, this is an elephant in the room. How do you answer this question without setting the figure too low nor too high? Well, the key is research. Do your homework on the salary range for the position you’re applying for. Considerations like experience, education, industry trends, and skills matter!
Galinsky’s study recommends going for the highest number in the salary range, as long as you’re able to justify your figure and are flexible when negotiations arise.
3. Proper Interview Etiquette
Interview details, check. Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), check. Now here are last-minute reminders to make sure you’re at your best during the interview.
Dress for the job.
First impressions last. And your first impression during a job interview isn’t a firm handshake or a well-rehearsed introduction. It’s your interview outfit! While some companies may require business attire or business casual, always remember that it never hurt anybody to come in their “power outfit.” (read: your best-dressed self, that is.)
When you put in extra effort to look good, it’s as good as saying you’re dead serious for the job. Need help for your interview OOTD? We gotchu covered!
Free yourself from distractions.
A half-hour interview could mean the job of your dreams. That means you can’t afford a second of distraction like a ringing phone or a quick toilet break. Get your focus mode on by clearing yourself of any distractions. Since “distractions” can be a gazillion things for different people, here are three tips that should be helpful for everyone:
- Eat before the interview.
- Use the toilet in advance.
- Put your phone in silent mode and keep it in your bag.
Good preparation is half the battle. This saying also applies to job interviews. Whether it’s rehearsing your smile or carrying extra copies of your CV (even if they didn’t ask you to bring one), the well-prepared applicant that you are is likely to be more confident and put together than someone who’s cramming requirements last minute. Come prepared and skip the unnecessary adrenaline rush!
It’s no secret. Job interviews are terrifying. But only when you’re unprepared. Prepare for your interview as you would on your first day at work! Remember the details. Practice your answers to interview FAQs. Observe proper interview etiquette. When all these things come together, you can be amazed at how job interviews can turn from terrifying to exciting real quick!