Here’s what may be a shocking revelation: job interviews are not to seek what is already on the resume.
Yes! Employers interview an applicant because they want to know more than the accomplishments that are written on paper. Well sometimes, they may let you demonstrate some skills on the spot, perhaps ask about networking topologies if the job is system admin or have one draw a product logo if it is in advertising. But most often, a job interview is more than just to test technical skills. It is for employers to see soft skills that are not usually visible on the resume — thought process in dealing with a problem, attitude and work ethics, commitment, leadership, and so on.
So, how do you ace a job interview? Given that you have an interesting portfolio of work experience and technical skills enough for you to merit an interview with a prospective employer, here are some guidelines.
Know the company and job description
This is super basic; no question to that. Employers want to see your genuine interest in the vision and mission of the company and how you could make a contribution. Research about the company. If you know someone who has worked there, ask for a testimony. The goal is to make the interviewer feel that you deliberately made a decision to choose this company over all other options available (and not that you are desperate for a job, even if we all know sometimes that could be the truth).
First impressions usually last
This is not limited only to the outfit or the grooming, but extends to your ability to build rapport within the first few minutes of the conversation. It is said that the hired ones are not always the best ones but are those who can make a connection and an impact during the interview. Know what picture you want them to paint about you depending on the job. If it is an associate in a law firm, then perhaps you would want to put yourself as a formal, strong-willed individual. If you are applying for a kindergarten teaching position, then you would want to be pictured as a cheerful and nurturing person.
Look up interview questions
… and practice answering them. Even if the exact questions don’t come out, you will be able to train your thought processes in answering them. Thankfully, we are in an age where information is easily obtainable so you should be able to gather enough practice questions. I did a quick search and was surprised with the results — questions varying from the serious ones like “How would you forecast the evolution of this job?” to those out-of-this-world ones like “What’s your spirit animal?”
At one point in the interview, employers usually ask you to ask questions. Prepare for this as now the table has been turned and it is up to you. And, this could be your shining moment. The best questions are usually those specific to the company and job you are applying for. Hints on how to ask the right questions are here.
Be honest (but not about everything)
You should not lie about having skills that you aren’t capable of or working somewhere you have not actually been to. But, according to an article in Business Insider, there are certain things that you really need not tell your employers. For example, the article says, “you don’t honestly say that your greatest weakness is inattention to detail or accepting feedback gracefully” and then suggests certain ways to say this in a nicer way. I personally love that write up because it is realistic and spot on.
We hope this will help you in your career endeavors. Good luck and break a leg!