Whether you want to start your career during your studies or after graduation, is not only your CV that matters. Job seekers have to attend a lot of interviews, and this stage can be really challenging. You have the only chance to make a great first impression, so approach job interviews with all due responsibility.
- Job Interview Tips for Ambitious Seekers
- After the Job Interview
- How to Answer Common Interview Questions to Get the Job Offer
- The Most Common Job Interview Formats and their Features
Job Interview Tips for Ambitious Seekers
Looking for a new job, you should be ready for the long process that consists of several stages.
Read the Job Description With a Keen Eye
Well, you have received a call for that dream position, and now you are absolutely excited. Take a deep breath! Now you need to read the job description once again and to remember what knowledge skills do they expect of you. It is an important step because during the job search process candidates send a lot of resumes, and you may easily find yourself in an awkward situation if you mix up different companies.
Do Your Homework
Even if you’ve already researched the company to write a personalized cover letter, the chances are you forget the important information as soon as you submit your application. So, when you have a job interview invitation, check the following once again:
- Company background and financials. Is it a fresh startup or a leader of the field? How many offices do they have and where are they located? Check the website and the company's profile on Linkedin, do a Google search to find more about the current state of your potential employer and its business goals.
- Executive team. It is necessary to understand the enterprise's hierarchy and find out more about its executives. If you know who can be your future boss, try to find some information about him or her as well. You can use it during the interview to establish a connection.
- Company culture. Check social media and Google reviews to find out what current and former employees think about this organization. You can also look for the company's mission and values on its website.
- Competitors. Find some information about the company's primary competitors and check their websites so that you have a basic understanding of the entire market.
Plan Your Journey
It is a no-brainer that things usually go wrong when you have a big day. The alarm does not ring, trains break down, passers-by pour coffee on your white shirt, and so on. The only thing you can do about this is to organize yourself. If you have an offline meeting, you need to:
- Check the interview location and define how much time you need not be late;
- Check the traffic report;
- Plan a backup route if something goes wrong;
- Check the weather report;
- Define whether this company has a dress code and get your clothes prepared;
- Prepare all necessary documents, e.g. copies of your resume and portfolio in advance;
- Go to bed early and wake up early;
- Have a healthy breakfast and a walk to make up your mind.
On the one hand, an online interview looks easier. You don't have to commute, and it saves you a lot of time. But on the other hand, it is essential to ensure that your computer, earphones, and microphone work without flaws. You also need to find a good background (it can be a white wall or a bookshelf) and ask your roommates or relatives not to bother you during the meeting. Take care of a coffee or a glass of water, necessary stationery, and other things that you may need.
How You Should Behave During the Job Interview
Finally, you're at your destination. Your behavior now can define whether you'll get the desired position. Follow these do's and don'ts to make a good impression:
Do's during the interview process:
- Smile and stay positive;
- Make eye contact;
- Begin with a firm handshake;
- Consider your body language;
- Make notes;
- Ask questions to find out more about the company and your position;
- Use concrete examples from your life to prove your knowledge and skills.
Don'ts during the interview process:
- Show your insecurity;
- Tell about other positions you apply for;
- Criticize your current job or last job;
- Tell lies or boast;
- Joke all the time.
Being an interviewee, try to keep calm and relax. When your mind is overloaded with worries, doubts, fears, it is not that easy to show that you're a perfect match. You can show your enthusiasm with words like "I'm really interested in your position because I would like to work with financial projects" not with something like "It is a dream job and I really don't know what to do if you don't hire me".
After the Job Interview
Once your meeting is over, send a thank-you email. Try to make it personal by adding some details that you have discussed during the meeting. Mention that you are happy to meet these people and are looking forward to their feedback. You can also ask the hiring manager when you can expect the updates so that you don't spend hours refreshing your inbox.
How to Answer Common Interview Questions to Get the Job Offer
Though each company has its own expectations, there are some basic questions that you should be prepared for. Think about your answers in advance so that you can easily find the right words and not miss this job opportunity.
"Tell me about yourself"
You should understand that the recruiter doesn't want you to tell about your childhood, college years, etc. This question means "tell about your professional features", or "why do you think you're a perfect fit for this position?" Your task is to introduce yourself and to tell about your career background and ambitions:
For example: "I have been working part-time as a marketing assistant at the ABC company. I've successfully launched and managed 5 campaigns that helped the company to boost its sales by 25%. Now I feel ready for new challenges and want to continue my career in an international startup so that I can work with different markets".
You can check more tips on how to introduce yourself in a job interview to guide yourself.
"What motivates you?"
The recruiter wants to know when do you work efficiently, and how your employer can affect the working process. You have 2 strategies to choose from:
- Share your global goals. For example, "I would like to grow my marketing knowledge and skills and to launch a new startup one day. This dream gives me the energy to work days and nights". On the one hand, it shows that you're ambitious and are able to follow your dreams. But some employers may not be satisfied with this answer because they want you to work for their dreams, not yours.
- Share your desired work conditions. For example, "I like to work along with smart and creative people who have my back. When I see our mutual results, it gives me the energy for the next marketing projects". If you choose this strategy, you speak about your current motivation, not the future one. It provides your potential employer with an understanding of what you need to stay productive.
"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
Honestly, there is no versatile answer to this question. You can't say that you see yourself in this specific company because the recruiter may think that you lack ambitions and are not ready to grow. At the same time, you can't tell about your CEO plans because your current CEO will definitely not appreciate that fact.
You can answer something like this: "Actually, I don't know where I'll be in 5 years because the world is constantly changing and I'm trying to be flexible. For now, I'm going to develop in the marketing field, to work with foreign markets".
"Why do you want to leave your current job?"
It is a tricky question since you shouldn't criticize your previous employer. The recruiter will definitely take this into account so it is better to choose another strategy. For example, you can say: "I feel like I've already outgrown my current position, and now I want to work in a bigger company with bigger goals". Emphasys your ambitions, not claims.
"What are your expectations from our company?"
Speak sincerely and honestly but rely on features that you already know about this employer. For example, if you know that they have funny corporate parties, you can tell the recruiter that you're looking forward to working in a friendly team. If you have heard that they are striving to beat the competitor, show that you're ready for this challenge and want to bring your knowledge and skills to the table".
When it comes to salary expectations, you should be prepared for this question. Such websites as Glassdoor provide information about average salaries in different fields and even specific companies so check the statistics to find out how much your skills cost. Mention that you're ready for negotiation but keep in mind the minimal sum you want to earn.
There also may be a lot of other questions but don't take them too seriously. Your answer to the one our couple of them are only a part of the overall impression that includes your CV, cover letter, appearance, career goals, etc. Even if this attempt is unsuccessful, it means that you still have a chance to find your perfect match. It would be a good idea to ask recruiters to provide you with useful feedback. Learn from each interview and make some conclusions that will come in handy next time.
The Most Common Job Interview Formats and their Features
Knowing the specific format, you have more chances to get prepared. Feel free to ask the hiring manager in advance because it will save you from anxiety. There are several popular formats you may face:
- Phone call. Most companies start the interview with a phone call just to determine whether you're a good fit. Your task is to show that you’re interested in this position and demonstrate your communication skills. Rehearse the conversation before the call to make your voice sound confident.
- Regular job interview meeting. If you have succeeded at the previous stage, the recruiter will offer to organize the next interview that may consist of several stages but all of them are personal. It means you'll meet the recruiter, the leader of your group or department, and the CEO, depending on the roles and business processes in a specific company. Use the tips above and try to find a personal approach to all these people.
- Online job interview meeting. This format has a lot in common with the previous one with the only difference: it is organized via Skype, Zoom, or other software for online meetings. It is especially popular during COVID-19 times and is also often used among companies without physical offices. It is not that easy to make a great impression online because your interlocutors don’t feel your vibe (and you don’t feel theirs). So you need to be even more prepared and look for some additional hooks. For example, start a conversation with a witty joke about working from home.
- Group interview. It can be organized both online and offline, and its main feature is that you're not alone at this meeting. Companies resort to such formats when they need a) to hire several people at once, e.g. for the waiter position, and b) when they want to see how you use communication skills and react in stressful circumstances. You need to find the balance between being polite to other candidates and being proactive. Don’t interrupt other people and don’t criticize what they are saying. Focus on your advantages to stand out among others.