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What factors might stand between you and your shiny new job? (Actually, your job interview starts a few hundred metres away, as you are making your way to the office. Start mentally preparing for it, and run through scenarios; it’s a rehearsal.)
1. Know your interviewer
While stalking people on Facebook is definitely not the goal, reviewing their Linkedin profile and other professional activities can give a good indication of how they approach their work, and what their point of view is. Look to establish common
ground, making it clear that you’re someone who can be relied on as an asset in the battlefield of work.
2. Understanding their expectations of you
Pei Ying**, who changed jobs recently, notes a key question to ask your employer quite early should involve the demands of your role.
“I would ask, ‘What are the short term and long-term expectations you have of me?’ By asking this question, you’ll more clearly know your exact responsibilities, including what your immediate priorities are,” she says.
3. Prepare for the worst
Every team manager will feel it’s their duty to test you a little. Say, for instance, you haven’t had experience with a particular type of software. While an obvious answer is to express your willingness to learn, why not demonstrate this by reading a
chapter or e-training module on it, and at least learn the basics? Just don’t claim experience you don’t actually have.
4. Ask leading questions
Business editor Kate** has worked in three countries in her career, and seen many interview rooms.
“Ask how exactly success will be measured in this role,” she advises. “This indicates whether there are realistic expectations of what you can accomplish.”
She says that start-up founders, in particular, can be guilty of sky-high expectations. “Many expect miracles within the first few months,” she warns.
Equally, the answer gives you a sense of your scope to mould the role to your style, showing how well-defined the open role is, and how established the current processes are.
5. Ask about what the company stands for.
“So often, candidates get caught up on the role, the salary and the potential to move up – but none of that matters if the company culture isn’t aligned with your own values.”
6. Rehearse with a friend
I can’t stress this enough: Practise interviews with a close friend who is seasoned with interviews. Role play the answers and get feedback. Repeat.
7. Make notes as you go along
Noting down important facts and key quotes from the discussion has a couple of key benefits. It gives you something to do with your hands, and helps you listen more actively, letting you create prompts for future questions without interrupting
the course of the current answer.
Secondly, your notes will be great background and prep for round two. Eye contact is crucial, so stick with old-school paper.
This is about you relating, not being efficient. Never bring in a recording device – unless you are actually a spy.
8. Leave a positive impression
Potential bosses are always on the lookout for outliers from a negative point of view. So consider also the actions that you might take to help you stand out from the bunch for the right reasons. Volunteer work is always impressive.