Ahhh, job interviews. It’s the one thing that always sets a corporate warrior into fright mode. Every year, millions of workers looking for greener pastures send out resumes to employers—a quarter of which will be eligible for a chance to pass the dreaded job interview.
You can hide and sugar coat information in your resume, but you can’t do the same for a job interview. Job interviews will always be tough. They will make or break you. You may be the most skilled employee the world has ever seen, but if you can’t communicate well during one, you won’t make the cut.
So what’s keeping you from nailing down that job interview? Could it be your lack of confidence? Your knowledge about the company you’re applying for? The arrogant impression you make to the interviewer? Whatever it is, here are 5 key interview tips on how to transform yourself from grit to great. We also asked yuppies from Southeast Asia about their own personal tips. Catch them at the end of the article!
1. Do your research
Most applicants overestimate their knowledge about the organization they’re aiming to join. If you’re applying for a company, being a loyalist of its products or services is not good enough (that’s like saying you’re qualified to join Facebook just because you use Facebook every day). It takes deeper understanding of an organization’s vision, scope of operations, culture, and management style to truly appreciate it.
So where should you start? Checking the company’s website is always a good first step. The “About Us” section summarizes everything you need to know about the company from an outsider’s point of view. Read online news articles too: what have been the company’s success points and challenges recently? Is it performing well in the market? Who are its competitors and what is its strategy in the next 5 years? Your variety of knowledge will surely impress the recruiter as it sends the message that you are serious about this application. Finally, don’t just end with the homework—link it back to you. Is the company’s “reason for being” aligned with your career roadmap? If your answer is yes, share this with the interviewer as it will surely drive home the message sweeter (e.g. say it like, “I live and breathe art, and working in a prestigious advertising agency that can further hone my graphics design skills is the reason why I’d like to join your organization”).
2. Master the FAQs
There are job interview questions that have stood the test of time and you have no excuse to prepare for them. By now, you should have selected good friends or mentors who are willing to conduct mock interviews for you. Ask them to cover some of the most frequently asked questions below:
- Why are you leaving your current job and seeking opportunities elsewhere?
- Why choose us as your next potential employer? Why this industry?
- What is your ultimate career vision? How do you see yourself 3, 5, and 10 years from now?
- What do you think are your weaknesses as an employee and how do you manage them?
- Tell us a story about a challenge you encountered with a colleague at work and how you overcame it.
Practicing what and how to answer these FAQs will not only increase your confidence but also help you anticipate other questions that may be asked later. I personally believe this is the part of the preparation process that must not be skipped at all costs. Benjamin Franklin painfully reminds us all: “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Remember that preparation breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds confidence. And when you’re confident, you become an unstoppable force who knows nothing but winning.
To read part 2 of the article, click here.