If there’s one thing you need to remember with respect to taking job interviews, it’s prepare, prepare, prepare!
Prepare to describe your history. Prepare for the standard questions. Prepare for some curveballs.
Of course, it’s impossible to prepare for every possible question or situation your interviewers might put you into, but by doing your due diligence you can set yourself up to succeed in the most common interview situations.
Prepare to Talk About Your Work History
Interviewers count on candidates being able to discuss their work history and explain it in detail. You should be ready to talk about the businesses you were employed by, your salary or pay rate, and your responsibilities.
You should also be able to talk about why you took each individual job. Did you need the experience, a bigger paycheck or new skills? Were you successfully able to get what you were looking for?
Go over work experience before the interview, so you can talk about each job off the top of your head. It is crucial to be capable of responding to questions immediately, and not waste time thinking about salaries or past experiences.
Prepare for Standard Questions
While there are many newfangled ways to conduct job interviews these days, most hiring managers still find it essential to ask each of their candidates about some basic background information. You can bet you’ll be asked about your strengths, weaknesses, you interest in the company, how you deal with conflict, among other standard inquiries.
Make sure you are ready to talk about your interests, qualifications and methods in a professional but passionate manner. If possible, have someone you trust help you conduct a mock interview and provide feedback on your performance. Make sure you aren’t talking too fast or using too many filler words such as “um” or “like.” You should also ask your mock interviewer if you maintain proper eye content and seem confident. If you can’t find a trusted assistant, try using a camera to practice your responses to questions.
Prepare for Open-Ended, Behavioral or Curveball Questions
Because it’s so easy to prepare for stock interview questions, many hiring managers are using behavioral interview questions to force candidates to think on their feet. For instance, a behavioral interviewer might ask you to give an example of a time when you showed leadership, and then, during your response, they might ask about your decision-making process while acting as a leader. These follow-up questions are designed to reveal whether a candidate has true leadership abilities.
The best way to prepare for these questions is to think of a few examples when you excelled at work, the actions you took in those situations, and the ultimate outcome. If you can’t think of good examples from your work life, think about times in your personal life when you came through in the clutch. For instance, if you helped a family member get through tough times, that’s a great story to tell.
Keep in mind, there are no right answers to these questions. However, you can impress your interviewers if you have a few good honest stories ready.