It is a common misconception that interviews cannot be prepared for. In fact many variations of questions will crop up time and time again in interviews. Given that interviews can be an incredibly daunting experience for many people, it makes sense that candidates should prepare as best they can. In Harvest HR’s Interview Skills Workshops that form part of our Career Coaching Service Offerings, we present five tips to help prepare for an interview.
Prepare practice questions
The first thing to do before you actually walk into an interview is to consider some of the questions that might be asked. Quite often you will be replying to an advertisement. If so, it is a great starting point as it holds hints as to some of the questions likely to be asked. Key areas that will be of interest to a recruiter will be your responsibilities, duties, qualifications, skills and experience from previous positions. It is then a good idea to read the advertisement and turn the listed requirements into questions and then develop answers.
Quite often interviews will start with an icebreaker, the purpose of this exercise is to put everyone at ease. Examples of icebreakers you may be asked include: Did you find us ok? How was your trip? Do you want a glass of water? These types of questions will help put you at ease.
Getting to know you
The next stage of the interview usually involves a getting to know you exercise. A recruiter will be looking to learn more about you in terms of:
- what drives you,
- what are your preferences when it comes to your employment,
- what sort of industry do you want to work in,
- what type of work are you after (fulltime/part-time/casual/contract
- what salary range are you looking at?
You need to know what your expectations are for the position and be able to succinctly answer questions relating to them. The idea behind these questions is for the employer or recruiter to line up as much as they have in mind for the position with what you present. It is important to remember that for you, answering these questions is not about rattling off an answer that sounds ideal to the recruiter and matches their criteria. Obviously you want this position because you have applied for it, but you need to ensure that you will be happy with the conditions of your contract because if you aren’t, it is likely that it won’t work out. Be honest and upfront with yourself and the recruiter about your expectations.
Getting down to business
Next up is the technical part of the interview where you will be need to provide answers for those previously prepared questions. Remember though, take in and listen to the question that is being asked of you, give yourself time to process the question and time to construct your answer. It will be better if you pause and go through that process, rather than if you were to jump straight into the question.
Leave a lasting impression
Finally at the end of the interview thank the company and be prepared to ask them questions. This means that you will need to prepare questions prior to going into the interview. Think also about what impresses you most about this company or this role, or why you want it? That will leave a lasting impression in your employer’s mind.
Article written by Maree Herath, Director, Harvest Recruitment.