We have all attended interviews at different times in our lives. Thank God also that I have spent over two decades in HR Recruitment – recruiting for bluechips, conglomerates, and start-ups. Before a candidate is invited for a job interview, it means that the candidate has the qualities suitable for the job on offer and so the interview is expected to confirm this view.
According to Wikkipedia a job interview is an interview consisting of a conversation between a job applicant and a representative of an employer which is conducted to assess whether the applicant should be hired.
Again, dictionary.com defines an interview as a formal meeting in which one or more persons question, consult, or evaluate another person.
Preparing for and attending a job interview might, on the surface, appear simple! The preparation for a job interview should start from the day a candidate applies/ submits application for a job. To avoid being taken unawares, earnest preparations must be made as sometimes job candidates are invited for an interview at very short notices. Just like the Boys’ Scout motto, you should be prepared.
- It is advisable that for every organization you apply to for a job, you should have a copy of the advert (if it was advertised in a newspaper) put in your job search file; moreso, if it was online, note same. You should be able to remember where the job vacancy originated from and write same down – remember the Company you applied to, source of the vacancy etc. E.g The Guardian on Tuesday-put the date of the advert (and possibly page), position applied for down etc.
- You should also research the company that has invited you for interview– use google to find out more about the Company; check the company’s Facebook page and Twitter for more information. You can as well ask friends and relations that may also know about the Company because the interviewers may ask you about the Company you have applied to for job aimed at knowing how vast and enthusiastic you are about the job.
- Job candidates should study the job advert very well as research has shown that 45% of questions asked at interviews come from there.
- Find out the names and persons you would be meeting at the job interview – the HR or Admin Manager
- It is also advisable to find out the type of interview you would be attending
- Study your curriculum vitae very well so as to avoid embarrassment at interviews. I have interviewed a guy who gave a birth date well different from that on his curriculum vitae. I have always advised job candidates to always present CORRECT and VERIFIABLE information in their curriculum vitae because when you lie, you may have to look for many other lies to cover up.
- Reflect on the sequence and chronology of your career till date for avoidance of misinformation
- Get the required items ready for interview – credentials, passports, copies of your CV (5copies to be on a safer side) and necessary documents at least a day before the interview. Go with oringinals of your credentials. This is necessary as the Company or Consultants would want to sight them for confirmation.
- Plan a cute interview outfit. Your dressing to the job interview should be corporate– look attractive and pleasant. Your dressing should make sense as interviewers are very particular about this- it speaks volume. For men, I would recommend clean suit (navy blue or black on white shirt with black shoe to match) and a clean shave. For ladies, I would recommend a decent skirt/ jacket or fine top on a good trousers and a nice shoe to match. Get your shoes well polished
- Anticipate interview questions like, tell us about yourself? Why do you think we should employ you and not the other candidate? etc
- Prepare few intelligent questions to ask at the interview
- Take a good sleep against the next day interview
Arrive at interview venue in good time to avoid being in hurry or confused. Be comported and exude confidence as the agenda of the interview will be based on:
- Job description and what abilities required of the job holder
- The personnel or man specification (to see if the applicant matches up to the personnel qualities required of the job holder) and;
- The application form or the applicant’s CV (to verify/ confirm the qualities the job candidate has)
The job interview may take any format- structured, sequential, serialized or panel type etc depending on different variables.
Job candidate should be forthright in answering questions – avoid ambiguous words. You should also be audible enough so as to be heard. Some interviewers would want to put job candidates on the ‘spot’ to observe how they would react under intense pressure while some prefer making them feel at ease believing that interviews are meant to extract information from job applicants and not a death sentence.
At job interviews, the applicant should convince the interviewer(s) that s(he) has the RIGHT skills, knowledge and attitude (potentials and other qualifications for the job whilst the interviewer tries to separate facts from fiction, truth from fantasy).
In your job search, you are expected to have certain skills which should include good communication skills.
Job candidates MUST understand varieties of questions that could be asked at job interviews:
- Open questions or open–ended questions who…? what …? Where …? When …? Why…? Candidates are expected in situations like this to put together, in complete sentences, their own responses.
- Probing Questions: This is similar to open questions in some sense though aimed at discovering the deeper significance of the candidate’s answer, especially if it is felt that the candidate is being dubious, uninformative, too short or vague. Eg What exactly about marketing that particularly appeals to you?
- Closed Questions are the opposite. You are only required to answer YES or NO. Eg Do you …………….. Have you ……………?
- Multiple Questions are just that two or more questions are asked at a time. Eg Tell me about your academic background and your love for hockey, how were you able to combine both?
Here you are expected to present your answers clearly as the interviewer will be willing to evaluate your ability to listen, handle large amounts of information and encourage you to speak at some length without straying.
e). Problem Solving Questions presents the candidate with a scenario and asked to explain how s(he) would handle it. E.g How would you handle a nagging boss?
f). Leading Questions: This type of question leads the candidate to give certain reply. E.g, We are looking for somebody who is very numerate and has eyes for details. How much do you like dealing with figures? Most times this type of question is used for applicants who are nervous, simply to encourage them to talk.
Always remember that the essence of interview is to gather high-quality-skill-based information and not a death sentence.
If the job candidate adheres strictly to these advice, he/she will do well at interviews.
Contributed by: Agolo Uzorka (Vice President, Eugene+George Consulting)