If you've just recently graduated college and are going to interview for your first job in the near future, there are a few things you should know about how interviews are conducted. While an interview might seem like a friendly exchange of opinions and questions, it's important to understand what the interviewer is actually looking for during the conversation.
The first interview is typically the most casual, informal setting with the hiring manager or recruiter. This is when the employer decides whether or not you are a good candidate to move on to the next step. This might be a phone interview or in person.
Preparing For Your Job Interview
Prepare for your job interview as if it's an examination where you're being tested on your abilities and skills. Keep in mind that interviewing is part of the job search process. You're not just a guest at an interviewer's office-you are a job candidate being evaluated for hire. So it's critical that you have a plan for success. How should you prepare?
- Researching the Company and Job Opportunity
First, research the company and job opportunity in advance. Review the employer's website to become familiar with its products or services, competitive environment, and culture. Read the company's annual report, as well as its financial statement for the last two years, if available. Research how much profit and sales the company made, and how it was distributed.
- Understanding the Job Responsibilities and Roles
In a phone interview, it's easy to get caught up in superficial conversations about policies that don't really relate to your job duties. Instead, use your research to ask the interviewer probing questions about the job responsibilities and roles so you really understand what you're getting in to.
- Preparing Your Bringing A List of Questions
An interview is meant to be a two way conversation, and most employers expect you to have questions as your own. This will prove that you are both prepared and interested in the job, and it will be an opportunity to show your critical thinking skills and mastery of the subjects that they expect you do know for this role.
- Brushing Up Your Resume
If the job you're interviewing for is a position that requires a resume, take time to review it before the interview and make sure it's up to date.
Interestingly enough, many employers will not review your resume in depth until you pass the phone interview. So, if possible, a professional resume writing service may be beneficial in making sure your resume presents you in the best light possible. The person reviewing your resume will most likely be looking for these three critical points:
1. Proof of your experience in the job you are applying for
2. Proof of solid educational and training history
3. Proof of your character, integrity and communication skills
What Are The Top 10 Questions Asked In An Interview?
Recruiters and hiring managers ask candidates the same questions at almost every job interview. The most frequent questions include:
1. Tell me about yourself?
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
3. Why do you want this position?
4. What is your greatest accomplishment? (also tell me about a time when you... )
5. How do you handle conflict with others? (also describe a time when... )
6. What do you know about our company?
7. Why should we hire you? (also why do you want to leave your current job? )
8. What have you learned from past job experiences? (also describe a problem you faced and how you solved it )
9. How do you define success? (also what are your goals )
10. What are your personal goals?
What To Say At The Beginning Of An Interview
The very first thing you must do at the beginning of your job interview is have a confident and positive attitude. You are there to show your interest in the position and to sell yourself. Provide a brief but concise overview of who you are, what you have accomplished and why you would be an asset to the company. Be prepared for all types of questions and demonstrate that you can handle any question. Be honest about what you can and cannot offer based on your knowledge, skills and experience. Show your enthusiasm but be sure to not to be overbearing.
You also want to be very professional at the beginning of the interview. You need to shake hands with everyone who interviews you. Reaching out your hand first shows a sense of confidence and will set a positive tone for the interview.
Questions At The End Of An Interview
It is important to take time at the end of an interview to ask questions that may help you make a decision about accepting or declining a job offer. Be concise and clear with your questions. Most employers will be happy to answer any questions you have about the job and the opportunity to work for the new employer.
Important questions to focus on include the following topics:
- working conditions
- benefits and compensation (job security, vacation time, health insurance)
- performance review procedures, salary review schedule, and salary increases
- company resources to improve the way you work
- company culture
- areas for growth
An interview is a two-way conversation. While the interviewer asks questions, you have a right to ask questions of your own. This is an opportunity for you to learn about the company and job opportunity. It's also an opportunity for you to present yourself in the best light possible. Be professional, poised and courteous during your interview. Set yourself apart from other candidates by showing that you are prepared, engaged and interested in the job opportunity presented to you by the interviewer.
It can be a very nerve-racking experience for many new graduates, but by coming prepared, you should be in an excellent position to confidently handle any type of job interview. With any skill, practice makes perfect, so expect to go on many interviews throughout the course of your career.