How to prepare for an interview

How to prepare for an interview

A potential employer has granted you an interview. Great! Now, where do you go from here? Job interviews can be intimidating, but you have nothing to fear! Remember these 5 tips to ensure you stand out to potential employers.  

1. Research the company and position before beginning the interview process

Before interviewing with a potential employer, it is important to know key information about the employer, position, and corporate culture. Study the available details of the role you are applying for, and scan the employer’s website and social media to ensure you are familiar with details about the company. Identify areas where your values and goals align with those of the employer and create talking points to spark conversation with the interviewer. Prepare to answer questions about your experience and what areas you can apply your skills, and have questions prepared for your interviewer as well–this will show you have a real interest in the company.

Remember! Interviewers perceive interviews as a test of candidate quality, rather than a means of educating candidates!  

2. Be honest about the knowledge and skills you can offer

When explaining the skills you have to offer to the employer, remain entirely truthful, especially when it comes to the information on your resume and cover letter. For example, if your resume states that you can speak German fluently, you must really be able to–that could be the skill that motivated the recruiter to invite you to an interview. If you are not confident in a given skill, it is always better to say that you are interested in it or that you are open to learning it, rather than exaggerating your abilities. Many recruitment personnel present knowledge tests to candidates on relevant skills, such as excel or linguistics, and it is important you remain honest about your abilities before performing these tests.

3. Professional behavior

When interacting with an interviewer, present yourself in a professional manner. Avoid slouching, yawning, and using informal speech. Even the smallest of informalities could be enough to deter a potential employer. Maintain eye contact and proper posture, be charismatic and attentive and remain engaged in useful conversation.

Remember! Turn your phone off before the interview–no interviewer wants to be interrupted by a text or phone call.

Every interview, of course, differs from one company to another. Therefore, be familiar with the atmosphere of the company before interviewing. Small startups and family businesses tend to be more relaxed, while large corporations are more formal and structured during the interview process. Gauge the nature of the company beforehand, and conduct yourself according to what the employer is expecting.

4. Mention only positive experiences from your past employment

It is likely you will have some negative experiences from your past employers, but it is important to mention only the positive experiences. Interviewers want to know what productive work you accomplished during past employment and why this new job is more appealing. You should discuss your tasks at your previous job, what you learned there, what you liked about that job, and why you feel that this potential new job is a better fit for you. However, you should avoid mentioning conflicts with former coworkers or any other negative aspects of your past employment.  

5. Be prepared to answer questions in English

For many positions today, it is likely that part of the interview will be conducted in English–especially if it is advertised in English or English is mentioned anywhere in the requirements. Prepare English phrases and answers regarding your skill sets, hobbies, previous work experiences, and reasons for interest in the position.

It is understandable to have concerns about speaking English, especially if you are not a natural English speaker. Write down what you plan to say during the interview beforehand and practice reading it out loud before the interview. To get more comfortable with English speech you could also review songs, podcasts, and movies that are in English. The more you listen to English phrases, the more natural it will be to speak English, communicate using English in a team setting, and understand spoken English.

TIP: Online interviews have other aspects to consider. This article will help you prepare!

Do not forget to send an email to the interview personnel two days after the interview to thank them for their time and interest. We wish you good luck during your job search!