One way to look at a job interview is to see it as the first opportunity to sell your skills. Although first impression is very important and it is very rare, unless you are shortlisted for the position, to get a second shot at securing a position; there is a good chance that a candidate can find her/his way back to the interview room with the employer if she/he does aa few things right.
In corporate parlance, a job interview can be synonymous with a procurement process for a product or a service whereby the potential supplier is required to understand a bidding document, decipher the message between the lines, and understand the need at hand in order to make the right technical as well as commercial offer.
Without the need to draw exact parallels between an inanimate object and a human candidate, the purpose here is to outline similarities in the thinking behind a corporate hiring process for a human resource and a procurement process for a product or a service, and use it to perfectly position a candidate for an advertised vacancy. At the end of the day, the purpose of both processes is to attract/get the best.
That said, here are some important tips to acing an interview.
- Read and reread the job posting, and take notes
- Understand the exact requirements in order to position your qualifications, experience, and skills competitively
- Research your potential employer as deeply as you can and don’t limit your preparation to the information provided on the job posting
- Outline your assets (Education, Experience, Skills, Trainings, Certifications, and Volunteer activities)
- Fit your assets into the requirements of the vacancy.
- Ensure that you enclose true copies of all your credentials with your application well ahead of time to give time for your interviewer to assess your qualifications.
- An interview is not a fashion show, so make sure that you maintain a respectable image by considering a professional attire.
- Be punctual. There is no excuse for arriving late and storming the interview room with a sprint from wherever you are coming.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate, but make sure that your negotiation tactic must be designed in such a way that your employer sees that there is winning for the company he/she represents.
- Follow up with a polite email. Give your interview a few days to complete the assessment, and follow up with a polite email. Phone calls may not be a good idea unless it was explicitly offered at the end of your interview as a standard company practice.
- If you are asked to add anything you wish at the end of the interview, tell an interesting story about a difficult situation you were in, and how you overcame it. If you don’t have such stories, tell stories about your involvement in a team environment. Make sure that you tell genuine stories and let your interviewer use the information to formulate an opinion about you without leading her/him to make any hasty conclusion.
- Relax! A job interview is not the end of the world. Being nervous reduces your chances of being hired so don’t fret. At best, you will get a chance to be selected. At worst, you can learn from the experience and prepare yourself for the next interview.