By Patil Touloumjian
Many job applicants think that the interview process begins during their one-to-one meeting with the interviewer. Preparing for job interviews is the most important and most difficult part of the whole process. Anticipating questions that are likely to be asked and preparing your answers to these questions, as well as thinking of questions that you might have about the job need to be considered prior to the interview.
In order to show your future employer that you have done your homework, you could mention a few facts about the company, followed by a pertinent question, that indicates real interest. Another mistake that people make is to believe that the interviewer is the only one in control, simply because they have underestimated their role as an applicant. Also, often times, applicants forget that their CV is merely a tool to attract the attention of the person who is in charge of the selection process and that it is during the interview that they must really sell themselves, by elaborating on the qualifications mentionned in their CV.
To start with, it is important to choose trustworthy individuals as your references who have a good understanding of your work experience and qualifications and that will speak well on your behalf, without any exaggeration. They can be colleagues, managers, vendors, and even professors.
During an interview, one of the first three questions that almost always comes up is: “Tell me a little about yourself”. In order to leave an impression on the interviewer, canditates must follow the three following steps. First, interviewees should provide a brief introduction, by listing their key attributes and strengths that relate to the position they’re applying for. Then, they should talk about their most recent work experience. For students who have recently graduated from university, it would be important to mention what they’ve learned from their internships, part-time jobs, and anything they have learned in classes that relate to the position they’re interested in. This question allows interviewers to see how well the candidate can organize a long list of information into a brief summary, in a clear and cohesive format. It is important to avoid any exaggerations or omissions, since employers are easily able to pinpoint any inconsistencies between what is being said and what they’ve read in the candidate’s CV.
Another question that interviewers could ask is: “Where do you see yourself in the near future?” Here, the person wants to find out if your goals are compatible with what they have to offer. That is why it is very important to be familiar with the company’s values and objectives to see if they match with your own, before even going to the interview.
“If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be and why? ” A smart candidate would start by talking about a weakness that he or she previously had or still has, followed by a statement that indicates awareness and the willingness to overcome this weakness.
Other questions, such as : “Do you prefer to work alone or with others”, “How well do you handle conflict” and “How well do you work under pressure” could be asked during an interview. It is important to provide examples to illustrate the methods you used to overcome the challenges you faced and what you learned from these experiences. Employers want to hear that their candidates are able to anticipate problems and to solve them without getting angry. They also want workers who are good communicators and able to get along with a wide variety of people.
Thus, employers are looking for a team player, a problem solver and a hardworker who demonstrates enthusiasm, confidence, honesty, dependability, along with many other qualities. The biggest challenge for job applicants is not only to possess these qualities, but to recognize their own strengths and abilities and to present themselves in the best way possible. One thing that applicants must remember is to always remain true to themselves and to look for companies that match their own values and principles, rather than radically changing their approach to impress a prospective employer. Don’t forget that an interview is the only chance you have to make an impression, so make sure that you are well prepared for it!