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How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

Having a job interview means you’ve been shortlisted – as long as you differentiate yourself from other candidates at this stage, you will get the job. Therefore, effective preparation is the key.

At the beginning of almost every job interview, an inevitable question is, “Could you please tell us a little about yourself?” Though this seems like a pretty easy question, you'd be surprised by the number of candidates who answer this question incorrectly.

Know How to Introduce Yourself

The tip we always share with job seekers is that you have to create a 30 to 45-second (60-second max) "career pitch" prior to the interview so that you're prepared to nail this question every single time!

The best way to do this is to prepare your answer by including important, relevant information that the interviewer(s) will want to know. A good answer will flow well together to includes statements such as:

  1. “I am a ….”

  2. “I have worked in …”

  3. “I have expertise in …” (your technical skills)

  4. “My strengths include …” (your soft skills)

If it helps, remember to provide examples to illustrate your skills; however, remember to keep it at a maximum of 60-seconds. You want to provide a good idea of who you and leave room for them to ask you more questions later in the interview. The key to perfecting your elevator speech is to practice it over and over until you can recite it without error or sounding as if it's been memorized.

Know How to Introduce Yourself

At the end of each interview, the interview facilitator most often asks if you have any questions for them. Most people will express that they don't or will ask the wrong questions. Here's the thing, a job interview should be a two-way street. That means you are supposed to ask the employer questions as well. If you've never done this before, here are a few of the basic questions you can ask:

  1. Confirmation and clarification questions such as “How would you describe the company's culture?”

  2. “What is your favorite thing about working for this company?” (You'll get an idea of great things about the company.)

  3. “In terms of this job, what does success look like in 6 months?” (You need to know the employer’s expectations and what you can expect.)

  4. Questions that reveal the cultural values of this organization. That means you need to find out whether your values and their values are compatible. For example, if they would do anything in order to get what they want but you have morals, that’s not the right job for you. (Sometimes, you don’t really have to ask specific questions in this regard so as to find out their culture/values because they may reveal their cultural values while talking to you.)

Know Your Resume and What's On It

Anything that has appeared on your resume could be something that will be discussed during the job interview.

Obviously, you’ve sent your resume to the employer, and they are happy with what they’ve seen so far. Hence, they will probably ask you questions about what you’ve written in your resume. That’s why you have to be well-prepared and know what to say when they ask you questions about things on your resume.

For instance, if there is a one-year gap in your employment history, you may need to prepare an explanation for that gap. Perhaps you were taking care of your children, or you took a year off to study at university. Just find a way to explain that gap honestly and properly.

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