Getting a job interview invite feels like the job battle is half won, but at the same time appears to be one of the most critical stages of the job hunting process once you land a job opportunities.
However, simply applying for them and submitting your CV wont get you the job.
Meeting with the organization in person could be really discomforting, but that is something you cannot stop. It will be really disappointing to fail your job interview after putting in so much effort.
Since you can’t read the mind of the recruiter/employer, the best thing to do is to prepare well for the interview before the set date. The big question now is how do you prepare for a job interview?
You can only prepare for a job interview by following this job interview guide. This guide ensures that you get comfortable with the interview as well as likely questions that you may be asked and responses that fit.
PS: This article is a mammoth job interview guide of about 7000 words. If you don’t have time to read it now, I suggest you download it as a pdf so you can have it handy at all time.
Ready to dive in?
Let’s start with the fundamentals.
A job interview is a conversation between a job candidate and an employer/recruiter conducted to assess whether the candidate will be employed or not.
Often times when people get a job interview invite from a prospective employer, they wonder the need for the interview. It is easy to think that if the company sees your CV and cover letter, and think you are qualified for the role then what is the need of the interview.
Many job seekers lie in their CV and cover letter about their skills, so the job interview provides the opportunity for the employer to meet with the candidate in person to find out if the candidate actually has what is written on the CV.
A job interview also gives the job-seeker the opportunity to sell himself to the prospective employer.
The first step to achieving success in any job interview is preparing well for the interview, now the question is how do you prepare for a job interview? Preparing for a job interview involves taking a few steps before the interview that will ensure your overall success during the interview.
Before the interview, you should always research the employer before the day of the interview. When you research the company, the report you get will help you tackle some of the questions you may likely be asked.
Learning about yourself is as important as learning about the employer when preparing for a job interview. Learning about may sound funny, but when you start talking about yourself you would realize that you really don’t know much about yourself. Asking yourself these questions will help you learn more about yourself;
Your dressing is also an important aspect to consider when preparing for a job interview. Preparing for an interview basically involves learning about you, the role, and the company. It is also important for you to rehearse with your colleagues and friends before the interview to reduce tension. To prepare, you can use a job interview checklist to make sure your preparation is uptight.
There is no one way to a job interview. A job interview can take any shape depending on the choice of the interviewer, the role or the company at large.
These are the basic interview types you may encounter. Some employers may like to combine the different types during their recruitment process, it is, however, important for you prepare for your interview regardless of the type.
The advantage of this kind of interview is that you have to impress only one person. During this kind of interview, you may be asked questions like; “Why should we hire you”, “Tell me about yourself”, “Why do you want to work for this company”. The secret to passing this interview is to make sure you have practiced our interview questions and answers, and remember to initiate a friendly rapport with your interviewer.
This form of interview is easier because some things can be excused. Things like interview body language, dressing and so on, but you are required to have an excellent social and telephone skill in this kind of interview. Remember to be in a quiet environment during your telephone interview as distractions are not encouraged n this kind of interviews.
The trick to excelling in a panel interview is to treat every member of the panel with equal respect, because you may not know who the main person is. When answering a question in a panel interview, focus on the person asking you the question and remember to maintain eye contact with others from time to time. Panel interviews can be really scary especially if you have not done one before, which is why you should take a look at this panel interview tips to ensure your success.
Preparing for a behavioral interview, you should expect questions that will inquire about what you did in your former company in a particular situation. In this kind of interview, the interviewer wants to find out how you dealt with certain problems, and what you did to solve them. Sometimes you may be asked to discuss a project you worked on.
The skills employers look out for during a group interview is your leadership and communication skills.
This type of interview focus on your work-related skills and abilities rather than your personality. You are required to use examples to demonstrate your answers in this kind of interview. To prepare for this kind of interview, you will have to read the job advert carefully.
The interviewer during a stress interview may appear to be indifferent towards you, but that should not distract you. The logic behind this kind of interview is to access your reaction to the pressure of indifference or rejection. To be successful in stress interviews, it is advisable for you to focus on the question that is asked rather than the manner in which it is asked.
It is not enough to learn all the likely questions that a recruiter may ask during the interview. Interviewers/employers usually use different question technique to determine if you are the best hire. Interviewers often choose questions designed to get specific types of information from you like; your interest, experience, goals and sometimes your knowledge of the company. Recruiters also use different styles of questioning to learn about your abilities and talents.
When answering a job interview question it is important for you to be discreet and careful. We have put together different job interview questions and how you should respond to them:
You have to be very careful when responding to this question. When responding to this question try as much as possible to summarize the information you give about yourself so that it relates to the job requirements. It is important for you to show that you have confidence in your abilities to perform the role. Remember to speak of the key abilities/skills that the recruiter is most interested in.
You can’t successfully answer this question without preparing well for it. To answer this question, it is important for you to review the company’s website, learn about their goals, vision, and services. It is also necessary for you to think about you fit into the organization and what you have to offer in relation to the goals of the company.
Response: When responding to this question, you have to focus on how you can contribute to the organization rather than how working with the company will benefit you. You should remember to align your goals and interest to that of the company.
Response: It is important to give a more specific example when responding to a behavioral question. Instead of giving a general information on how you handled a situation, it is better for you to narrow your answer to a more specific situation. It is always advisable for you to use the STAR method when responding to behavioral questions: Explain the situation, your task, the action you took, and the result your action brought.
Many job-seekers prepare hard for the tough questions they may be asked during the interview and the response they want to give because they believe that is what the interview is all about and that is all they need to get hired.
The funny thing that most job-seekers don’t understand is that psychology plays a big role during your interview process. Most times before you get the chance to deliver all your well-practiced job interview question and answer, the interviewer is accessing you to see how you will fit into the job and company. The moment you work through the door, the interview has started already, that is why it is important to make a great first impression.
Take a look at these tips and make the best first impression that will land you your dream job;
You should arrive at the interview venue about 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the interview. Being at the interview venue an hour before the set time is also not cool, because it may feel like you nothing else rather sitting down waiting for a prospective employer. To get the timing for the interview right, it is good you visit the venue and determine the exact distance before the interview.
These tips will certainly get you closer to getting the job of your dreams. Starting your interview with a great first impression will help you stay confident through the whole process of the interview.
When we talk about preparing for a job interview, many people are very sentimental about this because they think that it applies to the candidate alone, but that is not true, it equally important for the interviewer. As an employer, the interview gives you the opportunity to decide whether the applicant is a good fit for the position and the company.
An employer can only decide if an applicant is fit for the position if he gets the right information from the applicant by asking the right questions. So how do you ask the right questions? See these best job interview questions and hire the right talents today:
This question is broad, so the answer could be either professional or personal, whatever the response may be, you should stick to the reason you asked the question. You should understand that the candidate’s accomplishment is not as important as how the person did it, why the candidate describes the situation as difficult, and why the candidate decided to do a difficult thing.
The answer to this question can provide insight into the candidate’s problem-solving skills, the candidate’s definition of “hard” and how the candidate’s idea aligns with the challenges your business faces.
As an interviewer, you will need to focus on the essence of the question to get what you want from the candidates. When candidates answer this question; they either give answers relating to how they fit into the culture of the company or how they fit into the job role. Your first focus should be on finding the candidate that has the necessary skills and qualification to fill the position.
This kind of questions allows you get more information about what the candidate thinks are his core skills and competencies, and it also allows you to confirm if the candidate has a good understanding of what the role entails. If the candidate talks about skills that are not relevant to the job role, then it is a sign that the candidate is not fit for the position.
This is one of the most important questions to ask a candidate during an interview. It helps you to understand how the candidate sees himself and what the candidate can bring into your company to help the company achieve success.
It is important for you to understand that everyone’s definition of success is different, but how anyone defines success will definitely inform you about the candidate’s work habit, ethics and willingness to be part of a team. From a candidate’s definition of success, you can tell so much about the person.
This is another important question you can ask a job candidate. Most job candidates are always careful when answering this question. No employee would like to bad-mouth the former employer or place of work. This question will you some information about the candidate’s work history and also help you identify some attributes that you may not find interesting.
Coming out straight to ask to ask the candidate about his greatest weakness is already a cliché, so phrasing the question like this is another way you can ask the question. Focusing on the candidate’s area of improvement will still allow the candidate to talk about his weakness.
This is one key question that recruiters should always remember to ask candidates. It is important to hire for skills, but it is most important to hire someone that will be happy performing the role for which you are hiring.
You should put on your mind that skills can be taught, but interest can never be taught. This question will help you know if the candidate is truly interested in the role. When a candidate is totally happy about the opportunity, that candidate is more likely to do well performing the role.
This question will allow the candidate to explain what kind of environment he sees as ideal. This question will help you find out if the candidate can fit into the work environment of your company. It is important to ask what kind of environment the candidate loves in terms of the physical and emotional environment to ensure the candidate can be productive in your environment. A work environment can reduce or increase one’s productivity.
Many Job-seekers feel really uncomfortable answering this question. This is one of the most common interview questions, but it is very relevant to choosing the right candidate to join your team. This question helps you understand more about the person’s experience with dealing with difficult situations.
It normal for a new employee to face some difficult times either with the job or with the team, so this question will help you find out if the applicant is a good fit for the position looking at the challenges that the job may pose.
This question allows the candidate to be more relaxed and this an opportunity for you as an employer to actually get what you want. This question gives you the opportunity to understand how the candidate approaches decision-making. This the opportunity to find out the candidates decision-making plan. You will know if the candidate spends a short time making a decision and how well they carry other people along in their decision making.
This question may appear really casual and irrelevant, but the candidates answer to the question will help you gain insight into the candidate’s core values and goals by extension. This question test what the candidate aspires by making them think of a real person with an admirable trait. This will also allow you to know if the candidate’s value matches that of the company.
Preparing for a job interview means preparing to get a new job. To ensure you get that dream job from the interview stage means you must be prepared for the question that the recruiter may likely ask.
Job-seekers often prepare for common questions that the recruiter may likely ask, but the funny thing with the interview session is that the recruiter is likely to ask a tough a question.
As a job-seeker, it is important for you to know that the interviewer is not asking these questions just to be mean to you, but they ask tough questions to get a deeper understanding and find out if the candidate is the best hire. Below are top 10 interview questions and answers to help you prepare better:
This is one of the trickiest interview questions and there are lots of risks involved in answering this question during the job interview process because you want to be as honest as possible at the same time you don’t want to say something that may cost the job. That is why you are advised to be careful when answering this question.
Saying something like “I work too and that is something I want to stop” the recruiter will obviously not pleased to hear something like that because it will affect your productivity. So, it is important for you to pick a weakness that is already obvious to the interviewer and address it. Remember to follow up by talking about the strengths that make up for that weakness.
For example, if the job description says that an experience in graphic design is a plus and you don’t have that experience, but you meet all other requirements, you should say something like; My graphic design experience is very basic, however, it is something I can learn, I am a fast learner. According to the job description, this job focuses on writing and I have years of experience. I would love to be in a place that fosters employees’ development and encourages them to learn new skills. Answering this question this way shows that your weakness does not affect you performing the role.
To answer this question well, you need to pre well for it. Go back to your CV and cover and take note of three to five of your outstanding qualities and try to see how they fit into the job description.
For example, they are looking for someone with 5 years job experience but you have only 2-3 years job experience, but they also want someone with a track record of generating sales lead and you have been generating more leads in your former place of work. Now that is what you have to focus on to make care less that you are lacking some years of experience. Identify what they value most and talk about your skills and qualifications that solely relates to those attributes.
This is one very tricky question that can make you lose or get the job and you need to be very careful when answering this question. Stating an outright figure can put you in a disadvantaged position. When answering this question it is important for you to wait for the employer to give a range, because you may give a figure that is below the employer’s expectation. If the employer insists on you giving a figure, you can give a figure that is a bit higher than the median.
The person who states the salary is the loser,” says Denham, explaining that if you are the first to throw out a number, the number you give could be less than what the employer was planning to pay. Wait for the employer to give a range, and when it does ask you for a figure you expect to be making, choose a salary that is higher than the median they provide. Also, don’t talk salary on the first interview.
When tackling this question, be careful not to be the first to throw out figures first, rather postpone the salary negotiation for later after getting to understand each other better. It will show that you are not just about the pay and that you take your time to understand things.
This question could be really tempting, because you might be tempted to go about ranting and complaining about your previous job and how much you needed to leave. Avoid doing that. The essence of this question is to find out what is wrong with your work-place. Interviewers usually ask this questions to find out if you are mature enough to cope with any form of dissatisfaction.
If you are all about complaining about your former employer and work-place, then you will be giving the employer the notion that you are immature and that you will do the same thing to him when you are not happy about something.
When tackling this question, remember to be respectful. You can start off by saying “I really appreciate the time I spent there, because I learned a lot and I think it is time for promotion, and I look forward to finding a job that will bring new challenges. “Try your best to avoid personal attack and always remember to keep it professional.
Having a gap in your employment history could be that barricade that can cost you your job if you don’t handle it wisely. You have to answer this question in a way that it will emphasize how you have used your skills during your time of unemployment. You should also be able to explain the reason for the gap even if you were doing something during that time.
If you were raising a child or taking care of a sick relative, you can still tell them this reason as honest as possible. The most important thing is that you were not totally ideal during the period of unemployment.
This question sounds like one of the easiest interview questions, but it is also one of the most tricky interview questions. When asked this question, don’t be in a hurry to answer because if you do, you might be tempted to start giving unnecessary details about yourself.
Interviewers ask this question not because they really want to know everything about you, but because they want to see if you are a good fit for the job. To answer this question properly you can just use your elevator pitch that you may have practiced, also make sure that your elevator pitch should be more of professional achievement rather than personal information.
Employers usually ask this question not because they want to hear about all your dreams and aspiration but because they are looking to see if you have a sense of commitment. When you are trying to answer this question try and make sure your answers show that your goals align well with that of the company and how you wish to grow and achieve those goals with your current position and working in the company at large. Remember to state with an example what you are doing currently to achieve those goals.
The reason why employers ask these question is to see how you are able to manage conflict. They also look at how you react to conflict and the steps you took to manage and resolve conflict situations.
To answer this question, don’t focus on what the other party did that was really wrong, because there is no point playing the pity card. The employer is not asking you this question to know who was wrong or right (the employer is not a judge).
When answering this question, it is important for you to focus on how you able to resolve the conflict and what you learn from the situation.
This question is one question that many candidates don’t like to answer. It could be really difficult if your fire was not on a pleasant note. However, you have to be really positive about the whole situation when answering this question.
Don’t speak negative about your former employer or slam your previous company. Tell the interviewer what you learned from the experience, how it has helped grow, and how the experience will shape how you will tackle your new job.
Some candidates dread this question because they think they are supposed to be interviewed and not to be interviewing someone. The truth is that an interview should be a conversation, so you are supposed to be communicating with the interviewer. You should be careful not let the opportunity to ask questions that can help you determine if the job is right for you. This question will help you know the kind of work environment that you will work in.
You can ask questions like; “What is the good thing about working here”, “what do you enjoy working here”, you can even ask about a new project that the company is working on. This shows that you interested in the company and you want to know well you fit into the company.
A job interview is a time for you to show your prospective employer that you are the best person for the position and that you will also be a good fit for the company as well. To prove this to them, you have to make sure you have what it takes to convince them.
To excel in a job interview, it is important you know the right things to do and say to make that great first impression. It is even most important for you to avoid mistakes that could cost you the chance of getting a job.
Here are some job interview do’s and don’ts that will help you succeed in your next interview:
Going for several interviews and failing them could be really worrisome. You may feel you did not prepare well enough for the interview that is why you did not pass. Preparing for an interview means preparing for a lot.
To help you some works out of your hands, we have prepared this checklist to help you prepare better for your next interview.
This is one of the best questions you can ask an employer because it gives the knowledge you need to know what is expected of you performing that role. It will also let you know what you should do for your manager to be happy with you when you get the job.
This question will make the interviewer tell you all you need to know about the skills and experience that are most relevant to the job role. The question will make the interviewer tell exactly what he is looking for. This can also be a great opportunity for you to restate why you think you are the best person for the job.
This question will help you get the information you will never get from a job description. When you ask this question, the interviewer will not have a choice but let you know of some challenges he thinks someone in your position may face. This will help you prepare better for these challenges and research ways you can handle them.
This question allows the interviewer to be more personal with you sharing his or her personal experience working in the company. This question will give you an idea of the work environment you are coming in. This question will also help you know how well the company goes to satisfy and motivate the employees. If the interviewer finds it hard to answer the question that may be a red flag.
This is a very important question to ask the employer. If the employer gives an answer that is not satisfying, you would just know that you about to work in a place where the growth and development of employees are not taken seriously which could be a red flag.
Make sure you double check your CV before going for an interview.
To a successful job interview.