The interview may be the most important step in your job search. During this face-to-face interaction with your prospective employer, your objective is to get a job offer. However, for the employer, there is more to their list. They want to know:
- Who you are?
- What you have to offer?
- Why should you be hired?
Employers are looking for great people, so your main goal is to present yourself as the best candidate for the position. Along with this, you also need to learn more about the organisation and position. This is why it’s important to prepare some of your own questions so you can determine whether the organisation will help you further your career goals. Thus, the interview shouldn’t feel like an interrogation. It’s always a two-way discussion.
Therefore, receiving a job offer relies very much on how well you perform in your interview. While a good CV and impressive educational background can land you the interview, none of these alone will get you hired. It is the one-on-one interaction, where you have the opportunity to talk directly to the hiring manager that will motivate the company to hire you.
However, despite the recognised importance of interviewing many candidates seem to think that they only need confidence to ace it. But actually preparation is key, including:
- Research the company and the role they will be interviewing for.
- Developing a list of questions they think they will be asked.
- Prepare answers to those questions.
Of course most capable applicants will be doing their own similar preparation so you need to practice for the unexpected.
By completing several practice tests and mock interviews, you will learn how to avoid those moments in an interview when you think “how do I respond to this?” and improve your chances of getting hired.
Even for experienced persons looking to change careers, practicing your interview skills can also help you improve significantly beyond where you would have plateaued. Consider the kinds of questions you can expect, prepare for them without simply reeling off memorised responses and role play the interview situation to refine your interview technique so you’ll be smoother and more spontaneous in how you choose your words and become aware of your nonverbal communication (i.e., body posture, eye contact, voice quality).
Remember: Preparation is your friend.