Your ability to effectively communicate your skills, your achievements and your interest in the position you are seeking will determine if you get a job offer or not.
Important : Get ready for a conversation, not an interrogation
1. What is expected of you during an interview
Whatever type of interview, you will stand out by:
- your ability to establish your credibility based on your achievements;
- your assurance, optimism and communication skills;
- your tact and insight in interpersonal relationships;
- your knowledge of the industry trends, issues and stakeholders;
- your compatibility with the culture, values and main stakeholders.
2. Preparation: get information on the industry, the company and the main issues
- consult the company's Website, the media, public documents, your network
- understand the company's market and identify its main competitors
- find out about the company's values, challenges and strategic objectives
3. Preparation: conduct a required skills and gaps analysis
- find out about the company's basic needs and main priorities
- determine if your skills correspond to the position requirements or if there are gaps
- plan the strategy you will use to fill these gaps
- develop a convincing presentation demonstrating that you are the best candidate
4. Preparation: clearly identify what makes you stand out from the others
When all is said and done, you will have had to tell the employer what you can contribute to the company. Use the required skills and gaps analysis to headline your unique qualities. Be ready to answer the universal question: Why should we hire you? To be able to promote your assets, you must understand the specific needs of your client.
5. Preparation: prepare your sales pitch (draft your presentation and practice it)
As a general rule, your answer will be more convincing if it addresses the following issues:
- summary of relevant experience and fundamental skills;
- significant achievements;
- specialised knowledge and competence;
- motivation in and interest for the position.
6. Interview Time
- arrive five minutes early (if you anticipate being late, call to let them know)
- dress appropriately; it is better to dress a step above the regular office attire
- check your appearance upon arriving
- be very considerate to receptionists
- the person you are meeting with will begin assessing you before the interview starts
- a good handshake is important with all contacts, upon arriving and leaving
- be yourself, smile and be expressive
- don't forget body language (yours and that of your contacts) and your tone of voice
7. Be ready to answer questions (practice your answers) and prepare your questions
- prepare your answers to typical questions employers like to ask
- be brief, clear and use concrete examples
- don't ramble on: after answering a questions, you may once in a while ask a question yourself on the same subject to better focus on the needs of the company
- learn how to answer difficult questions or sometimes more personal questions
- use the resources available to you to prepare your interviews (i.e. workshops, interview preparation guides, Vault guides, practice interviews with Interviewstream, etc.)
Important : your degree of motivation and your interest for the position have a great influence on the hiring decision.
8. Prepare yourself for a behavioural interview
In a behavioural interview, the interviewer will ask for specific experiences illustrating the required competencies to obtain the position. It is therefore paramount that you prepare concrete examples prior to each interview. Develop parallels between your examples and the competencies and skills required for the position.
Practice using the CAR formula (Context – Action – Result).
- talk about your contribution to team success;
- quantify your achievements, if possible;
- commend yourself, but with diplomacy;
- be brief on each example;
- generalize so that the recruiter can relate your example to his knowledge;
- finally, show how this competency will help the employer.
9. Be refined in your conclusion
Develop a conclusion and practice it. Your conclusion should send two messages:
- I am very interested in the position
- I am convinced that I can meet the challenges of the position because… (sales pitch)
If your conclusion is well articulated, it can lead the recruiter to give his impression of your candidacy. This verbal commitment will reinforce his determination to take your application into consideration.
Important : Get all the specifics on the next step of the job process.
10. After the interview, determine what you would do differently the next time
- take notes as soon as possible after each interview
- put your general impression on paper, the points to develop, your concerns, follow-up ideas, etc.
- send a thank you note by email or letter depending on the constraints or timetable of the process
- if you are invited to a second interview, leave a message to the first contact to thank him/her and, if possible, get his/her advice on the next step.