Excelling at Interviews

You have been invited for an interview right? Then don’t stress.

Are you aware there were several CVs/resumes the employer sifted through before shortlisting you as part of the candidates to be interviewed? A lot of people applied but you were part of the chosen few– WHY?

There is something that the employer is interested in and want to engage with you to confirm you are really the candidate for the role. So you understand why I say you have the job? – you have something they are looking for. With this in mind it’s no longer ONLY you desperate for the job, rather both parties (you and the employer) have an interest in the success of the interview. This at the back of your mind should be able to take away about 50% of the nervousness you feel anytime you hear or are invited to an interview.

We always advise applicants not to lie while writing their CV, as the interview stage helps the employer test the credibility of the information outlined in your CV.

Experienced recruiters always know when you are lying – Trust me!!

When the information on your CV is accurate and you are invited to an interview, all you prepare for is “going to get the job” by doing some research and of course BE CONFIDENT.

‘See an interview as an opportunity to meet your future employer and reinforce that you are the one they are looking for. An interview is a discussion NOT AN EXAMS, so just RELAX”

Forget the old notion that an interview is where employers drill candidates and make them feel worthless. Be happy anytime you are invited for an interview. If you know your script: that is your mission in life, who you are and what you want to do, your values, how the job you are applying affects your long term goals and the company’s objective, then you are sure to excel at most well-structured interviews.

I believe I have been able to convince you enough, so i can confidently wish you the very best in your next interview right?

Most people I believe excel in interviews because they have had time to reflect on who they are as an individual and what they want to do. Employers are able to see who the right candidate for a particular role is as soon they go through their CV or cover letter and when they engage with them during the interview.

“Make time to reflect on who you are because this plays a crucial role in the success of your interview.”

Let me briefly walk you through what you should do before going for an interview. We have talked about having that ME TIME – Reflection. A simple question as, TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF can mess an interviewee up. It is only when you know who you are that you can tell people about yourself.

Ø Research on the role you applied to: Every employer wants to know whether a candidate clearly understands their role and how their role contributes to the bigger objective of the organization. Refrain from just going over the job description as outlined in the job advert. Go the extra mile to engage with people working in the firm, connect with them on social media especially on LinkedIn, Ask questions!! You can also get information from friends in similar roles you are applying to but in other organizations – there might be some similarities. Better to have a hands-on idea about the role than just the job description you have read.

Ø Research on the company: Who is your potential employer – What products/services do they offer? Who are their competitors and what their market share in the industry they operate is. Find out which of their products/services is/are their most preferred choice by their consumers. Which of their products/services generate their highest revenue if that information is readily available.

Ø Be ready to ask your panel some questions/share your thoughts/comments/observations: If you have done your research well, you are sure to have some questions or comments. At the end of every well-conducted interview, the interviewer is likely to ask if you have any questions. This is another opportunity to sell yourself more and make up for any mess during the interview. Ask well-thought through questions and give constructive feedback or observations. I know most people are always in a rush to leave the interview room so prefer to say “NO PLEASE I HAVE NO QUESTIONS”. Try not to do this – prepare some intelligent questions or thoughts prior to your interview. Its all for the POINTS!

Ø Get the dress code right: It is not enough to just sit in your room and rely on your desk research. Go to the company, observe the people and how things are done in the firm (check out who mystery shoppers are). You need to have an idea of how the employers dress to work and people in your role dress. It makes a great difference – It is another way of telling your employers you identify with them and know what you are about. Always keep it professional and conservative as possible.

Ø Mock interview: Most people make this mistake of going for interviews without prepping. It is not advisable to attend an interview without practicing with a professional or a friend who is competent to walk you through sample interview questions.

“Role play the interview with someone especially a professional before you have the real interview! – it works wonders”

NOTE:Most interviews start from the gate of the company. How you address the security guard or receptionist can sometimes be a deciding factor to you landing a job. It is all about the right attitude every time, everywhere and to everyone.

Be conscious and observant about your surrounding when waiting for your turn to be interviewed. Talk to people sitting beside you and greet/smile with everyone you come in contact with. You will never know who will be on the panel or assigned to give feedback about their encounter with you.

‘Be smart, but be yourself!’

Written by Akua Ampah

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