Advice and Tips
How should you prepare yourself for a job interview?
– You have two jobs as an interviewee
You’ve been asked to come in for a job interview in a few days, so what should you do while waiting?
You might think that since the employer already has your CV and cover letter, the only thing left for them to ask about is perhaps your personality. But if you are thinking this way, you’re dead wrong.
The fact that you’ve been called in to an interview means that you’ve been found to be qualified for the position. So while the employer thinks you’re an interesting candidate, they want to find out which of the applicants will be a good fit for the organization and is best qualified for the available position.
So claims consultant Jon Fredrik Alfsen (Impaktor AS), an expert on issues surrounding competency and career who feels there are two main points here that you need to remember:
- The more you can read up on the job, department and branch, the better your interview performance will be.
- Have some questions ready to ask at your interview. This is because there’s often a lot of information that doesn’t appear in a job posting but lies “between the lines.” This means there’s always something for you to be curious about.
Practice in front of a mirror or with a friend
Preparing yourself for an interview means you do your best to learn about the position’s/organization’s needs and challenges. If you appear to do this, the employer will see that you’re both motivated by and interested in working for them.
– It’s your job as the interviewee to highlight and clarify your experience, competency and motivation while at the same time focusing on what the position needs, says Alfsen.
So it’s a good idea to have practiced a bit beforehand and thought through how you want to get your personality and competency across to the interviewer.
– This is something you should go through at home in front of a mirror, or even better with another person, where you pretend that you’re being interviewed for the actual job, he advises.
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Think through possible difficult questions beforehand
Many interviewers might pose questions that you aren’t at all prepared to answer. For instance, they may ask you what you know about the organization, to tell them more about yourself, or discuss other relevant points.
– It rarely happens that a candidate satisfies all the requirements for a position; actually, if they do satisfy all the requirements for a job, they just might be overqualified for it. So instead of trying to hide what you «lack» or have little of when it comes being asked about your experience and competency, it’s better to take this topic up yourself and talk about it, says Alfsen.
In addition to lacking experience and competency, there might be other things that «can be used against you». For example, if you’re trying to move from one line of work to another, questions might arise about whether you have enough insight into the new field.
– If you have a different educational background than the majority of other applicants, they might have ideas about who you are and what you can do.
– If you’re an older adult, there could be myths and ideas connected with age and learning. It might help you to think through beforehand if there’s anything that can be «used against you» and how you can reassure whoever you’re talking with that you’re the right person for the job, he says.
Examples of different types of questions that you should be prepared to answer:
- What are your reasons for applying for the position?
- Why do you want to work for our organization?
- What do you think are the most/least attractive aspects of this position?
- What are you looking for in a job?
- What kind of future opportunities do you see for our organization?
- What do you think you can add to our organization?
- Why should we hire you?
- What have you accomplished at your previous jobs?
- What do you think has been your unique contribution to achieving these results?
- What other types of jobs are you considering?
- Can you describe yourself?
- What will be the most difficult part of the job for you?
- How would you describe your own personality?
- How would your previous co-workers or supervisors describe you?
- What are you like to work with?
- Which role do you take in group and teamwork?
- What are your future goals?
- What are your strengths?
- In which areas can you improve?
- Why shouldn’t we hire you?
- How well do you work under pressure?