How many times have you thought “If only I’d said that during my interview”? If you haven’t done your job interview preparation properly, it’s easy to think of great answers after the event.
You can never know exactly what questions you will be asked at an interview, but you can have a reasonably good idea of at least some of the issues you are likely to face. So the trick to avoiding those post interview regrets is to be well prepared.
There are three key stages to your pre-interview preparation:
1. Research the Company.
You need to understand exactly what the company is about, where it stands in relationship to its competition and how it fits into the bigger picture of the local economy and the national and international economy fit is a major player.
The amount of knowledge you will need will depend on the level of job you are going after. If you are applying for a junior position, you will just need an overview, but don’t underestimate the importance of understanding what your potential employer does.
If you know how the company operates, you’ll be in a much stronger position to tailor your answers to their specific needs. And don’t forget that those small details could mean the difference between success and failure. This is particularly the case if the interviewers are having difficulty choosing between two candidates.
2. Research the Job.
Make sure you know what the job entails. You won’t be expected to know everything about the job but will need to have studied the job description very carefully, and you’ll need to not only know what it all means, but you’ll be expected to be able to show that you can do every task which is specified.
You should already have done this on your application, and now you will have to expand on what you wrote, and you will have to be able to give concrete examples from your experience.
This is your chance to demonstrate that you can do the job. So think in advance of the times you have done each of the aspects of the job. Think of an example of when you worked in a team, solved a complex problem or dealt with a difficult client.
3. Prepare Answers to Tricky Questions.
The first two steps have made you to answer many of the more general questions you can expect to be asked.
But you need to consider how you will respond to questions which are a little bit more difficult. It’s impossible to prepare an answer for everything you might be asked, but the better prepared you are, the easier it will be to adapt your answers to any tricky questions the interviewers might throw at you.
So don’t prepare exact answers and learn them by heart. This will sound contrived, and your answer is unlikely to fit the question perfectly, which will not look good. And you don’t want to sound like a parrot – that’s not the right impression!
Jennifer Broflowski is a blogger and contributor to resume blog