Once you've got your interview lined up it is important that you are prepared for it. You must think what it is that the potential employer is looking for. You must prepare and organise yourself. We have listed below some key areas for preparation.
- Your previous work experience
- Accomplishments; both at work and on a personal front
- Work motivation
- Likes/Dislikes about current role
- Working relationship with current and previous supervisors
- Your communication skills
- Your goals and objectives both in work and in your personal life
Using the above it is a good idea to put together a short presentation detailing your career history, what you have achieved, areas you are proud of, an analysis of your strengths and what you want to achieve. When talking about your goals and objectives it is important to talk about personal goals as well as business ones, as this will demonstrate a balanced view on life and how you see your career fitting in with other parts of your life.
Such a presentation will give you control of the interview situation, because you will be able to lead and not be led. You should look to prove to the interviewer that you possess the following:
- Communication Skills
- Analytical Skills
You will also find that different companies adopt different interview styles, with some companies adopting multi level interviews, each level designed to test for a different set of skills. It is therefore important to find out what the interview structure will consist of, as this will help you do the correct level of preparation for each interview stage.
The main interview can be demanding. Take time to weigh up what approach the person interviewing you is taking.
Are they intent on relaxing you? If so they probably want to find out more about your personality and what motivates you.
Are they being aggressive? It could be that they want to test your ability to handle pressure. Examples of how you have excelled in such situations will be of importance here.
Are they intent on asking you what you would do in certain situations? Here they are questioning your problem solving skills, your creative ability and overall judgement.
This is not an exhaustive list, but you do need to understand why the interviewer is taking certain approaches. Understanding the interviewer's motivation is the key to successful interviewing!
There are many qualities that employers look for in successful applicants, but here is a quick reference list of the most common :
Reliability - time spent in past jobs, a stable home life, low sickness levels etc.
Enthusiasm - body language, gestures, smiles, eye contact, voice levels etc.
Determination - past achievements, overcoming problems, reaction under pressure
Ethics/Professionalism - organisation, punctuality, appearance, personal standards, integrity etc.
Communication Skills - listening skills, relevance of answers, no waffling, body language etc.
Desire/Ambition - goals/future plans, past achievements, questions asked about position/opportunities/financial package etc.
Flexibility - quick thinking, previous examples, coping with change etc.
Personality - sense of humour, social graces, ability to make small talk
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