How to prepare for a job interview?

Recruitment interview is the most important stage of a recruitment process, during which the Employer can meet their potential Employee. What is worth paying attention to when preparing for the meeting? Here are 10 important things.

1. Make sure you’re wearing a business outfit and look professional

First impression during the recruitment interview is just as important as the way it goes. It’s best to plan out the outfit the day before the meeting. The clothing should be formal and business-like, for men it means at least elegant trousers and shirt, for women a shirt and classic skirt, dress or one-piece. It’s important for the outfit to be properly ironed, stainless and color-matched. We should avoid having dirty hands, greasy hair, heavy, colorful or smudged make-up, as well as dirty shoes - it won’t make a good first impression on the recruiter. It’s also worth paying attention to details, such as purse, jewelry or watch - they shouldn’t be too distracting or in a distinctly different colour from the outfit.

2. Don’t be late

If a Candidate is late for the recruitment interview the Employer might feel disregarded or have an impression that the Candidate doesn’t care about the job offer at all. It’s worth checking the route to the meeting place the day before, as well as getting familiar with other information, e.g. on which floor the company is located at or where is the closest parking. It’s good to be at the place of the meeting approx. 10 minutes before the appointed hour - it gives us some time to catch a breath and focus before the meeting. What if being late is inevitable, because there was a car accident on your route or your bus broke down? It’s crucial that you call the recruiter and inform them what happened, apologize and give an approximate time of your arrival. If the recruiter doesn’t answer their phone, it’s worth writing them an sms or e-mail.

3. Get familiar with company’s activity and profile of the position you applied for

It’s worth reading about the company before the meeting and collecting important information, such as company’s industry, capital, number of employees, vision and mission, plans for development and any current news. That kind of information can be found on the company’s website, in articles and publications, as well as on the company’s profiles on business portals, e.g. LinkedIn or Goldenline. Of course there are things that can’t be found on the internet, in that case all you need to do is get familiar with what is available on the Employer’s website. It’s also important to thoroughly read the job offer for which you applied, compare requirements with your competences and get familiar with the range of duties.

4. Put your phone on silent mode

If your phone rings during the recruitment interview it will distract not only the person running the interview, but you as well. On top of that the potential Employer might take it as a sign of lack of respect. If it does happen it’s best to silent your phone immediately, without even looking at it and make sure to apologize. Answering the phone or, even worse, replying to a text message, will be seen as completely unprofessional.

5. Pay attention to what you’re saying, your hand gestures and posture

First of all - be kind to everyone in the company, starting with the guard or receptionist, through people in the elevator, finishing with the person running the interview with you. It’s very common to ask those people what kind of impression you made on them. You should control your posture during the interview itself. You shouldn’t gesticulate too much, it’s also badly seen if you slouch, rest on your elbows, touch your face or avoid meeting recruiter’s eyes. It’s also important to keep your voice calm and to speak loudly and clearly. You shouldn’t change the subject of the conversation, avoid answering questions or talk too much - brief and concrete statements are crucial. If you can try to back your answers up with specific examples. When you’re asked about numerical value give a specific number, avoid saying things like “a lot” or “a few”.

6. Questions you might get asked during the recruitment interview

  • Why do you want to work with us?
  • What value can you bring to our company?
  • Why do you want to change workplace?
  • What are your current duties?
  • What was the most stressful business situation and how did you handle it?
  • On what position do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Why did you choose that [university/college] course?
  • What are your expectations towards your future Employer?
  • How do you imagine working on that position?
  • What motivates you to work?
  • What is your biggest work success?
  • Which tasks were too difficult for you and how did you manage them?
  • How would you describe your style of work?
  • If you get this job what strategy will you adopt in the next 90 days?
  • Which job was the most satisfying for you?

It’s worth preparing answers for the most standard questions - keep them short and logical.

7. What shouldn’t be said during the recruitment interview

There are things that will make a bad impression if you say them during the recruitment interview. Among them is speaking badly about your current or past Employer, complaining about your range of duties, criticizing coworkers, self-exaltation or undermining competences of your coworkers/superiors, cussing or showing a demanding attitude. If the recruitment process is classified don’t start the meeting by asking about the name of the Employer - you will be informed about it at the right time. The topic of salary or your financial expectations should also be started by the person running the interview, not by you.

8. Asking questions

Asking questions is important and it shows Candidate’s commitment. Usually time for asking questions is at the end of the meeting and it’s worth spending it asking about the position or company itself. You shouldn’t ask too many questions or interrupt the recruiter whenever a questions comes to your head. Avoid asking about things you should already know, e.g. company’s capital or products portfolio.

9. Questions that shouldn’t be asked by the potential Employer

There are questions that shouldn’t be asked by the potential Employer or recruiter. Among them are questions about number of children, marital status, maternity/paternity plans, sexual orientation or your believes. How to react if such a question is asked? If it makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to answer it - it shouldn’t be taken badly by the Employer. But you shouldn’t react nervously or with rudeness, calmly tell the recruiter that you don’t wish to answer that question. Remember that such a question may be nothing more, but a way of testing your assertiveness and if you can kindly say “no”.

10. Don’t be stressed or try to hide it

Stress is an inseparable element of a recruitment interview, but if you follow our advice and properly prepare for the meeting you will surely do well. If you show too much stress during the interview your potential Employer might think that you may find it difficult to handle stressful situations in your work life or that you may not be dynamic enough, so it’s worth working on it. Treat every recruitment interview as a new experience - you’ll learn something new on every meeting and will be asked many different questions that will help you prepare better for the next one. Practice makes perfect in all areas, so you can treat recruitment interviews as a training. But if stress does overpower you during the recruitment process, think about what can go wrong during the meeting. It’s also good to practice those kind of meetings - you can ask someone close to you to help you prepare by stimulating a recruitment interview, asking you questions or you might find sample questions yourself and practice answering them out loud.

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