09 Nov 10 Tips to Prepare for a Job Interview
The African job market is getting increasing competitive and over populated. It is very important that you prepare for a job interview by keeping up with everything required of you to qualify.
Much more, it is important to factor in little details that would make you get ahead of other job applicants in an interview session.
Once that invitation email pops in, many things run through your mind, you want to impress.
You want the recruiter to see you as the best man for the job.
You want to convince them you can fit into the culture of the organization.
These feelings and expectations are normal but are you doing the right things to impress the interviewers?
In this article, we will cover everything every young African professional needs to know and do to be properly prepared for any job interview.
JOB INTERVIEW PREPARATION CHECKLIST
This is one thing most applicants fail to do.
We have found that most applicants do not prepare for their job interviews.
The job interview preparation checklist is a very good place to start
Having a checklist of everything you need such as possible interview questions, research about the company and maybe, your interviewer, etc will help keep you grounded during the interview.
Now this list doesn’t have to be so long and boring, in fact, a bullet list is the best.
Research. Research. Research.
It is absurd for you to apply for a job in an organization you know nothing about.
This is where a background check comes in handy.
Knowing little details such as the founder, vision and mission statement, products and services rendered as well as the awards and value of recognition the organization has been known for will help you more than you think.
Thanks to Google, getting this information is not hard at all.
Prepare a list of possible questions you will be asked.
Ask yourself first these questions and prepare the best possible answers for them. It doesn’t matter if you are eventually not asked these questions, what matters is that you have done your homework well enough.
How To Prepare for a Job Interview About Yourself
This part is where many applicants shoot themselves in the foot.
The “big” question every job applicant has to answer is “TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.”
Despite looking simple, even the most prepared job applicant can miss the point here.
You see, when a recruiter asks you to tell him about yourself, he is not asking you how many siblings you have, or your best food or best colour!
While all these may fall into the “about myself” category, in truth, it is NOT what the interviewer expects to hear from you.
Here, your answer should be purely “CAREER BASED”.
Say everything you need to say about your career within the few seconds this question is relevant. Don’t start with, my name is so and so, and I love rice and beans and my best colour is blue.
That sounds very elementary.
Instead, tell the recruiter how you have come to grow career wise, what inspires you to do more and the kind of work culture that motivates you a lot.
Tell them the biggest feat you have achieved so far and personal career goals that have been your own pursuit. In essence, give a creative summary of yourself.
9 TIPS TO PREPARE FOR JOB INTERVIEW
These are a few other tips to help you get that job you’ve always dreamed of.
UPDATE YOUR CV
Many mistakes a lot of applicants make is refusing to update their CV to fit into the requirements expected of the job.
Do you know you can have more than one variation of your CV?
How your CV is structured depends on the job role you are applying for.
It is important to always update your CV.
In fact, anytime you achieve a feat in your career, update it right away because you might forget to do so when you are having the pressure of submitting a CV before a deadline.
Don’t ever forget that when it comes to job qualification, you are to blow your own trumpet, no one else can do it for you.
First impression matters.
For a job interview, dress formally and smartly. If you don’t have a suit, wear only a shirt and a trouser or skirt.
If you are a lady, you could also wear an office gown. Appear smart and formal.
MAKE YOUR PITCH INTERACTIVE AND ENGAGING
Especially the point where you talk about yourself and the organization, make that part most engaging and carry the interviewers along.
Pause and get their responses.
Check their expressions to make sure they are flowing with you. Don’t make it look like you are the only one who understands what you are saying.
HAVE A HARD COPY OF YOUR CV
It may shock you to know that many recruiters don’t check the soft copies of the resumes applicants send.
This is why, it is important to go along with the hard copies of your CV and Resume.
In fact, if you have a clue of how many interviewers you might have, bring that much and ensure they each have a copy. This is a proof that you have done your home work well.
If you have to wake up earlier than usual to possibly beat traffic, do so.
Just make sure your interviewers do not wait for you. Appear at least 30 minutes before the given time. It shows you are punctual and a good time keeper.
GREET AND BE POLITE
Little details such as a simple “good morning’ have made some job applicants unfit for the position they are applying for.
Sometimes, interviewers test behavioural attributes of an applicant to see how they treat their colleagues. So, if you are the type that ignores people as low as cleaners and receptionists when they greet you, try to shove that uncouth attitude down the bin at least for the sake of your interview.
Greet everyone you meet at the reception area, when you are called in for your interview, greet the members of the panel seated and politely ask if you may seat if there is a chair obviously reserved for you.
Also, if you are being given a challenging question or reaction that throws you off guard, do not answer rudely or challenge the question. Instead, ask the recruiters to explain better so you understand what they are trying to say.
If you have been given a brief to work on, or you think your pitch will be best relatable with a powerpoint presentation, do arrange for that and present it.
Bring along your fully charged or at least dependably powered laptop. Don’t go along with just a flash. And expect them to give you a laptop to present it with. It shows lack of adequate preparation.
BE TRUTHFUL AND TACTICAL
A lot of applicants fail to do this.
Especially when they are being asked questions about why they left their last job or why they are not doing anything currently.
Most applicants give unreasonable and untrue answers.
Questions like these are confusing, no doubt but it is also important that you don’t paint the last organization you worked with in a bad light. If you do, the recruiters will think that you will do the same when you move on or see a better offer.
Now, I hope you have been able to learn one or few things from these tips. It’s now your turn to go nail that interview.