Interview Tips

Best resources for preparing for job interviews

You can use the information you find out to prepare your answers to Common Job Interview Questions.

Finding out about the company

  • Doing a quick Google search is a start but the successful job candidate needs to go beyond that.

  • The questions you ask in the interview and the way you respond to the interview questions you are asked will reflect your knowledge of the organization, the industry and the job.

Let’s have a look what information you need to gather before your interview and the best resources to use for your background research.

The obvious starting point is the company website. If you don’t have the web address you can try searching at Google http://www.companyname.com to get to the company homepage. Use the website to find out the following :

  • a brief history of the organization
  • organizational structure, subsidiaries, branches, holding company
  • major competitors
  • all products and services
  • company culture including mission and vision
  • most recent news and happenings (read through the latest media releases)

You need to go beyond the company website to be fully informed when preparing for job interviews. For example:

  • Hoovers.com is a well respected service that provides detailed information on over 50 000 public and private companies.
  • Corporateinformation.com provides information on both US and international companies including company profiles, earnings details and analyst reports.
  • Business.com provides news and research for a large number of public and private companies in a variety of industries.
  • Searchsystems.net is a Public Records Directory that provides free information on a private company
  • Yahoo Finance provides a financial profile of companies by bringing together resources such as Businesswire, Newswire and Market Guide

The next step is to read newspaper articles on the company.

Your local newspaper is a good starting point. You can go to www.newspaperlinks.com which provides links to online newspapers throughout the world. Search for your local newspaper and research back articles on the company.

Google News also provides company news and updates. Bizjournals.com provides access to over 40 business journals where you can search for periodical articles that provide valuable information on the organization. 

Preparing for job interviews includes updating yourself on the industry in which the company operates. Find out :

  • The current industry trends
  • The leading companies in the industry
  • New developments in the industry

www.corporateinformation.com provides links to resources for over 30 industrial sectors. Yahoo! Industry is also a valuable source of industry news.

Use your information to tailor your interview answers to be as relevant to the company as possible. Highlight areas that you can add value to. Ask insightful questions that demonstrate your hard work in preparing for the interview.

Communication Skills

How to get started with job interview?

Often communication in the job interview will start off with-

  • Some small talk,
  • Asking questions about getting to the interview, the weather etc.
  • Respond appropriately in a conversational tone but avoid over-communicating.
  • Stay clear of problems or negatives such as describing how bad the traffic was.

Have a couple of polite conversational-type remarks ready for this small talk phase, 
For example - comment positively on the building or surroundings.
You can prepare these while you wait for the interviewer.

  • Address the interviewer by name but know how to pronounce it correctly.
  • Ask the receptionist beforehand if you are unsure of how to pronounce it.
  • It is advisable to address the interviewer formally until they suggest otherwise.

Important tips for job interviews –

  • Matching your communication style to that of the interviewer.”
  • If the interviewer is very business-like, then you should respond in a similar way.
  • Avoid offering up jokes and funny stories.
  • If the interviewer is more informal and chatty, adjust your communication style accordingly by responding in a more informal tone while still showing respect.

The interviewer should be the one who sets the tone of the interview, not the candidate.

A good interviewer will attempt to put the candidate at ease; don’t interpret this as trying to be your friend! Always treat the job interview as a professional meeting.

  • A common mistake candidates make is talking too much.
  • Listen to the question being asked, ensure you are clear as to what is requested and respond with the information.
  • Effective communication means keeping your answers concise and to-the-point and making sure you are answering what is asked.
  • It is advisable to ask for clarification if you are unsure what the interviewer means or wants. Don’t guess and make assumptions, this usually results in an inappropriate response.
  • Say something like, “So you would like me to tell you about ….”. The interviewer can then correct you if you have misunderstood.
  • There is no need to fill up silences with unnecessary rambling.
  • Silences will naturally occur as the interviewer gathers their thoughts or formulates the next question, it is important to be comfortable with silences.

Avoid interrupting the interviewer. Make sure they have finished speaking before you respond.

  • You can do this by allowing a pause before you start speaking.
  • Taking a little time to think about a question rather than rushing to answer also helps you to organize your thoughts and prevents verbal fillers such as “umm” and “you know”.
  • These always come across as unprofessional.
  • By taking a moment to think before you answer you appear calm, confident and polite.

The best ways to end the interview 

Follow these basic closing guidelines.

Use the possible statements below to help you develop your own closing that is appropriate and that you feel comfortable with.

  • “I did extensive research on this company beforehand and was really excited about this interview. This has been reinforced by everything I have heard and learned today. I appreciate the time you have taken with me and I am positive about my ability to perform successfully in this job. Is there anything else you need to know?”
    You need to be sure that any possible concerns that the interviewer may have are addressed when you close.
  • “Is there any reason why this process will not progress to the next step – I would like to clear up any issues now that may impact on my getting this job. I am really excited about this opportunity.”

Make sure you close on a positive note.

  • “Thank you for your time. I Hope that my skills and experience will add real value to your company in this job. Have a good day Sir/Madam.”
  • “From my research I knew that this was going to be an exciting position with a company that has an excellent reputation in the industry. Now I am even more convinced of that. Is there anything else you need to know that will help convince you that I am the right candidate for this job?” 

Body Language

Interview Body Language that Sends the Right Message

Using effective non-verbal communication techniques, including appropriate interview body language in your job interview is essential to your success.
Non-verbal communication accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending in your job interview!

Your verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you.
As you can see your non-verbal signals, both your body language (55% of the message) and the way you speak such as voice tone (38%) are as important as the actual words you use in your job interview answers.

Posture 

When the interviewer offers you a seat at the start of the job interview,

Do’s

  • Sit upright but not too stiffly in your chair. This indicates that you are comfortable and feeling confident.
  • Relax and lean slightly forward, about 10 degrees, towards your interviewer. This gives the message that you are both interested and involved.

Don’ts

  • Hunching down in your chair gives the impression of nervousness and low self-esteem.
  • A sloppy posture indicates a careless attitude and a lack of energy.
  • Sitting on the edge of your chair can come across as being nervous and tense.
  • Leaning back makes you appear too relaxed and casual.
  • Leaning to the side can be perceived as not feeling comfortable with the interviewer.

How you position your head also sends a message. 
Do’s

  • Tilting your head very slightly to one side comes across as friendly and open.

Don’ts

  • Keeping it straight comes across as self-assured and authoritative.

It is also important to pay attention to the posture of your interviewer. Sometimes you can establish rapport by adopting the same posture as the other person. This is called mirroring. If they have adopted a more formal posture do the same until you see that the interviewer has relaxed and become less formal.