So you’re a fresh graduate from university. You feel that your job is not the right fit for you. You wonder what comes next. This is all too common. For most of our adult lives, we strive to get and keep a nice job with good benefits where we can also contribute with our expertise. But the journey of sending a job application to finally receiving that offer letter can be quite challenging, as recruiters look for more than the skill set on your resume. Typically, there is an initial application phase and an interview phase, the latter being a critical stage that determines whether or not you are truly fit for the job. Knowing interview etiquette and how to present yourself is important, but being prepared for an interview with the right information is what makes you, as a candidate, stand out to the recruiters and helps you ace the interview.
This article will provide some useful information to help you prepare for an interview, along with additional tips to ensure the process goes without a hitch.
Knowing what the job entails
First and foremost, before sitting for an interview you probably should know the details about the job you’re applying to. Many job postings include a Job Description that lists what skills and requirements the employer is looking for in potential candidates, as well as what type of tasks will be assigned under the position. As a potential candidate, you need to do a thorough research into the job description as a first step. By going through the list of requirements you can do the following:
Match skills to the job
After looking through the required skills needed for the job position you can then list down your personal skills and experience to match them to the requirements. By doing so you can determine whether or not you have the skill base needed to successfully perform tasks that will be assigned for the position, and it will also help you determine whether or not the job is an appropriate choice for you. Nowadays recruiters look for more than just the quantitative skills or the “Hard Skills” mentioned in CVs, there is now more emphasis on the “Soft Skills” of individual candidates, especially in the service industry. Find out which soft skills are most desired in the customer service sector.
After matching your existing skills to the requirements listed in the Job Description, you can narrow down your personal strengths that are most suitable for the job. For example, if the job you are applying for requires you to be good at managing employees, you can put relatively more emphasis on your leadership skills during the interview than on other strengths you might have. By determining the right strengths to mention, you can stay focused on only the most relevant points while answering interview questions.
Prepare examples of accomplishments
It is common for interviewers to ask follow-up questions after you mention your strengths. In many situations, interviewers will ask for a practical example of when you successfully used your strengths to tackle a difficult situation. Under these circumstances, it is important to have good examples or “success stories” prepared beforehand that you can mention to interviewers. By keeping these examples in mind before the interview, it will help you paint a more interesting picture of yourself with confidence to engage the interviewer. To create a compelling response, you can use the STAR approach:
Knowing what the company is
One critical mistake that many candidates make when applying for jobs is that they don’t research the company beforehand. Although it may be a priority to some to look up information on the company, it is often something that comes up during interviews. Many employers do ask questions to test your knowledge on their business, and if your response to these questions are less than satisfactory, you will risk the chance of falling behind other candidates. Knowing a bit about the company before the interview can help you to ask some good questions at the end of the interview as well.
Doing your homework on the company will not only benefit you at the interview, but can also give you a better idea about the company which will help you decide whether you actually want to work for them. Information about pay range, fringe benefits, HR policies and overall organizational culture can either make or break a prospective job opportunity for candidates. Company research can be done through the following methods:
- Searching through the Organization’s website – the Home page and “About Us” Section
- Going through Company’s social media accounts – Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
- Using Search Engines like Google and Bing to find articles and news/announcements about the company
- Reading through reviews to see how people feel about the organization and its products
Additionally, you can also look up names of people working at the organization (without invading their privacy, or course) to find out if you have connections with anyone who can give you a boost during the interview.
Knowing what the industry is
To take the company research one step further, it is advisable to conduct industry research as well. In Bangladesh, you can find jobs in many different industries, but every industry might not be suitable for you.
Doing overall industry research can also give you information about other competing organizations and their policies and culture so you can compare to find jobs that are best suited for you. It will also help you determine the market salary range for the specific type of job, which will aid you in salary negotiations, something commonly talked about during the interview.
Additionally, industry research can also tell you which sectors are doing well and which are not, here is a list of Top 10 Most In-Demand Jobs in Bangladesh to get you started.
Knowing the location of the interview
When you have been called for an interview, it is absolutely essential to arrive on time. Punctuality is one of the key things interviewers will look out for, and being late to your interview is a bad sign. Even if you show up a mere 10 minutes late, your interviewers may already be questioning whether you should be considered as a candidate.
To avoid this situation, it is best to look up the interview location beforehand using Google Maps or any other location apps so you know exactly where to go and how to get there. It is advisable to go to the location a day or two in advance (if you have the time) to get an estimate of how long it takes to reach there. Traffic congestion is a big issue in Dhaka city, which is why many people are rarely on time for their appointments, so it is best to start early on the day of the actual interview.
If the interview takes place at the company itself, commuting to the location beforehand can also tell you on average how long it will take to travel back and forth from the office to your home, and give you a rough estimate of how much travel cost you may incur at this job. Working at an office that is very far from your home can be a huge inconvenience for you in the long run, so if you are determined to work at the company you are applying to, it may be best to look for a home closer to work. Here are a few reasons why shifting closer to your work is a good idea.
After you have done thorough company research, industry research and gone through the job description, it is time to take further preparations for the interview. After all, if you want to get the job of your dreams, preparation is key. Here are a few interview tips to keep in mind so that all the information you gathered so far gets put to good use! Have a look on it Pursue your dream to get hired.
The old saying goes “Practice makes perfect” and interviews are exception. Before the big day, it may help to first master some basic techniques to help make a great first impression. Check out our article on Interview Do’s and Don’ts to know proper interview etiquettes. It is also advisable to do a practice interview with friends or family to better prepare you for the real thing! For this have a look at our another article on Interview Body Language Do’s & Don’ts for better idea.
Prepare answers to common questions
Most interviews consist of very common questions such as “why do you want this job?” or “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” It’s best to prepare your answers for these types of questions beforehand, to enable you to answer confidently and avoid getting nervous trying to find a good answer.
Additionally, you should prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer at the end so you can find out more about the job position.
During the interview
For the final step, which is the interview itself, you need to carry a few hard copies of your CV to provide to your interviewers, as well as keep a copy to yourself for reference if a question arises about your resumé. Additionally, it is advised that you keep a list of references and their contact information so it is easier to verify your background information. If you have any last minute emergencies for which you might be late or not show up for the interview, informing your relevant contact person for the interview ahead of time (with proper explanation) may help you avoid looking unprofessional and help justify a rescheduling to another day.
One last thing to keep in mind, perhaps catching up on the latest news about the company just before the interview is a great way to catch up on any significant changes in the company. If you provide this information during your interview, recruiters will definitely be impressed by your level of awareness about the company. With these tips in mind, you are sure to be best prepared for your next interview.