Prepare before your job interview

  • Post published:03/11/2010
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Too many go for a job interview without having a plan and without any preparation at all. If this is how you do it, your odds of making a positive impression is beyond zero. You better keep that half day of annual leave for something more exciting.

If you are in a hurry right now, and have little time to read the full article, here is the one minute brief in bullets on how you become better at job interviewing:

  • Read your resume two times prior to the interview / meeting.
  • Write down five questions you want to ask the company. 260_carrier_bag_orange
  • At the meeting, place your resume on the table in front of you.
  • Place your paper with questions under the resume (on the table).
  • Two minute answers are fine. More than two minutes: boring. Less than two: no substance.
  • Tell real stories from your work and specific examples of what you have accomplished.

Now the full story. Do your homework. Research the company and be prepared with a good level of knowledge. You should know enough to show our client that you respect the opportunity and you respect their time. A good starting point is to look up their website.

Interviews are two way meetings. Not only are they an opportunity for the interviewer to find out about you and if you are a suitable candidate for the position but they are also an opportunity for you to find out about the organisation and if the position will provide you with the challenge and job satisfaction you are looking for.3011_speech_lavender

The client has a copy of your resume and has prepared questions based on the information you have given. Make sure that you have read your own resume several times just prior to the meeting. It is vital that you can explain or clarify in details any questions the client have about statements and claims on your resume. Think about your skills, qualifications and experience and ensure that you can talk confidently about what is written. Particularly ensure that you can talk about those skills that are relevant and valuable to the position you are going for. It is a good idea to bring your resume along for the meeting and I recommend that you place it on the table in front of you. Remember to switch off your mobile telephone before the meeting!

Prepare some questions to ask at the interview. At the first interview it would be wise to restrict your questions to the details of the job and the organisation. Never ask questions about salary and benefits, they are best left until a second interview or a job offer is made. Place the paper with your questions under the resume (on the table).

Managers generally like candidates who are more forceful and those who ask good questions. At the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. It is important that you ask at least one question; if you do not it signals to the interviewer that you don’t really have any interest in the job or company. You should of course not ask obvious questions where the answer is easily available on their web site or has already been discussed in the meeting. Here are some questions you can ask your prospective employer:

  • What are the skills or profile of people who are the most successful in your company?
  • What are the most important tasks that need to be looked at, say the first 100 days?
  • How would you describe the company corporate culture?
  • What is the leadership style of my boss?
  • What 5-6 things should I deliver in the job to be considered successful?

You may need to get a pass at the lobby counter so bring your driving license or anything else with a photo. Be on time! Plan your journey beforehand to ensure you arrive 5-10 minutes early. Do not come too early, like 30-60 minutes, as our client is most likely busy with something else, for example preparing for the interview with you.  Be polite to every employee you meet – the receptionist, yes, but also the secretary etc. You need to mind your manners all the time. Allow for possible delays because of traffic. Just in case of a major hold up, make sure you have your contact’s telephone number so that you can call if you think or can see you will be late.

Its important you never reveal having posted your resume on a job board web site or having sent your resume to a recruitment company. Most hiring managers will often interpret your resume posting as an aggressive job seeker. It is to your advantage to come out of an interview leaving the impression you are a passive candidate. Not an aggressive applicant.

You want to create the perception you are someone that will interview if and only if the job is just right and the package presented is right as well (which is most likely the accurate truth anyway). If you are asked where did the recruiter find you, it is important to say only: “They called me. We discussed the position and after I believed it was worth my while, here I am.” PERIOD. Never reveal anything more than that. Please note that we are not telling you to state anything untrue. Every resume posting or ad leads to a call! You are simply referring to the call and not going beyond that.

2969_thought_emeraldGood luck with your next meeting and interview.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.