An often-overlooked hiring process that still determines your first impression to employers.
We’d recently written an editorial highlighting pointers in successfully preparing your CV to apply for novel employment opportunities. It seems only natural to proceed this publication with strategies and tips to help you better prepare for job interviews for this is the next step when completing a CV. Whether you are looking for jobs in Malta, or specifically IT and finance jobs, or positions across numerous industries, this article is written for you.
When meeting with potential employers, you want to ensure what is you say is relevant to the job role applied and the organisation generally. With this, many job seekers beforehand learn the company they are applying to in order to grasp a good understanding of the organisational values and belief systems. These are then typically referred to in job interviews as it shows hiring managers that you’ve done your homework, and what you say aligns with their corporate culture.
Ultimately, you want to leave a positive impression on your employer. You already know that hiring managers interview many prospective employees, so you have to offer qualities not found in every interviewee. This can be difficult, for merit is no longer truly enough to succeed a job interview—rather, positive people skills such as empathy and a team attitude are further qualities hiring managers scout for.
Conduct preliminary research
As mentioned beforehand, it’s good practice for job seekers to analyse the company and job description prior to meeting with employers. This will help gauge your understanding in how your profile and qualifications suit a particular role, which will serve as a guiding point during the interview. When reading the job description, observe what an organisation is expecting from candidates. It can be helpful to list these down beside you, noting particular skill sets, qualities, and so forth.
With your list, begin aligning your qualifications and skills with the job description. In other words, build a matching profile that can be used to encourage hiring managers that you would be a successful candidate for the in-office or remote job. You want to focus on your strengths, be it certifications or other qualities, to further persuade employers. Be prepared to be questioned on these, as if you truly are the right fit for a role, a hiring manager will ask about previous experiences.
Lastly, you want to dedicate some time to research the company. This is an integral step, as hiring managers will discuss the organisational culture and might ask you questions related to the company purposefully. Researching the company is also good to determine whether it’s the right fit for you, and if you’ve any questions about it, you can prepare these in advance to employers. You can typically find details about a company on their “about” pages, or externally search for public reviews.
Practice interviews makes perfect
In order to be proficient in an activity, you have to regularly engage in it until you’ve confidently gotten hold of it. The same is true for job interviews, where these can be independently practiced before meeting with potential employers. Typically, you want to prepare for particular questions that can arise in the interview. This is a useful practice to avoid nervous, ill-thought-out responses.
Whilst you can never truly know how many questions you will be asked, nor the specifics, there are common questions you can prepare for. These include:
• Why do you want to work at our company?
• What do you find interesting about this job?
• What, would you say, are your greatest qualities?
Do spend some time answering the above and maintain an open mind to ensure clear and honest responses. Many a time, employers ask these questions to gauge your understanding about the company and job description, but if you’ve already dedicated the time to research these, you will be adequately prepared to respond. Find opportunity in your responses but be careful not to read an essay or speak irrelevantly of your previous experiences.
Additionally, you can practice the medium or format your job interview will take place in. With the influx of remote jobs, it’s increasingly likely your interview will be held over video conferencing software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Before your interview, make sure you understand these technologies and play around with the software to minimise disruptions in your meeting.
Dress and look the part
It might seem unnecessary, but your appearance speaks volumes to hiring managers. Remember that job interviews are often the first impression held with employers and your dress can quickly determine your professional attitude in the business world. We nowadays still ascribe to professional attire, so it is considered best practice to prepare your clothing beforehand for it not to be a stressor right before the interview. At the very least, no matter the work environment, you should dress neatly and appear well-groomed.
Aside from your dress, you should prepare for indicative body language that also works to inform hiring managers. You want to come across as confident, clear, and friendly, with open body language. This means that your stance is relaxed and not cross armed or legged. Hiring managers often reciprocate comfortable body language, leading a generally satisfying interview process overall. You can practice your body language and speech with family, friends, or simply a mirror, until you feel confident with it.
Be an active listener
Remember that job interviews comprise of more than one individual, so do not interpret it as an interrogation. In other words, don’t sit around and simply answer questions in the hopes of attaining an in-office or remote job. It’s important to actively listen to your employer as well, engage in conversation where appropriate. This will let other participants know that you are engaged in the conversation and aren’t treating the interview process robotically.
Take the time to think of your answers and don’t rush these. When it feels fitting, use certain parts of the conversation to ask the questions you prepared for the employer. Whilst this is good to learn for your own accord, it also tells hiring managers that you are focused on relationship building as well. If the job interview takes longer than 30 minutes, that’s a good indicator that it is going well.
A kind way to close your job interview is sending a follow-up email to the hiring manager spoken to and display your appreciation for the opportunity. You can use this to also reiterate your interest in the job in Malta or abroad, and your general gratitude to be able to work in the organisation in question.
Whilst the job interview process can appear intimidating, this article portrays numerous ways you can better prepare for your next job interview—and hopefully, succeed in gaining the job. Do your research and be attentive to your hiring manager, and most of all, remain honest about your interests and qualifications.
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