5 essential tips for preparing for an interview

You finally get that long-awaited call. The recruiting manager of the company you want to join invites you to discuss a possible job. But your enthusiasm quickly turns to panic at the thought of having such an important discussion that could change your career. Instead of losing your cool, start preparing for your interview so that you are calm and confident when you meet with your potential employer.

Take some time to think about what you really want from this job opportunity. By looking at your career as a whole, you will be able to answer common interview questions in a thoughtful way, and this will inspire you to ask the interviewer questions. If you arrive at an interview unprepared, you may be caught off guard by difficult questions, or you may be clumsy when you apply.

By preparing for an interview, you can improve your chances of getting the job by keeping the following five tips in mind.

1. Be prepared to answer difficult questions

Talking about your career and work experience is not enough! You need to be well prepared to answer difficult questions. Here are the most common interview questions you should be prepared for at répondre :

  • Why did you leave your last job?Ou, if you are still employed, you will need to mention the reasons why you are looking for a new job. Remember to always respond positively, emphasizing opportunities for development, change and new challenges. Finally, never criticize a former employer or your current employer.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?Définissez well your longer-term career goals and find a way to succinctly communicate how they fit with the position you are seeking and the potential employer. The person conducting the interview wants to assess whether you have a long-term interest in the position or whether you are only interested in the paycheque.
  • Why did you express interest in this position?Voilà the opportunity to promote yourself as the ideal candidate. You should answer this question by explaining how your work experience, skills and career goals fit with the position you are seeking.
  • What kind of work environment stimulates you?Parlez honestly about what motivates you as a travail  environment: working alone or in a group? In an open collaborative space or in a private office? Do you enjoy working closely with a manager or do you prefer to be more independent? Not only does this question give the hiring manager an understanding of how you work, it also gives you the opportunity to assess whether the company is a productive workplace for you.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?Même if this question almost falls into the cliché, it is still often asked in interviews. The good old trick of claiming that your weaknesses are due to the fact that you “ travaillez trop ” or “ êtes too perfectionniste ” no longer holds water. Speak frankly about your weaknesses and describe all the efforts you are making to improve them. Also describe the changes you would like to make. Here’s a exemple : “ Je knows that I may take some time to answer my e-mails because I am very busy. But I have found an application that helps me manage this tâche ”.
  • How do you handle conflict in the workplace?L’employer may also ask you to describe a situation where you made a mistake. The intent is not to hire someone who has never had conflicts or made mistakes at work, but rather to judge your interpersonal skills and how you respond to difficult situations.

2. Take notes

In an elegant notebook that you can bring to the interview, write down in advance the highlights of your career path that you want to cover and the questions you want to ask. During the interview, you can use your notebook as a reminder. Also, be sure to write down the important points you’ve learned from the interviewer. Taking notes expresses your motivation, your attention to detail, and how seriously you take your career.

3. Prepare your questions

In most interviews, the hiring manager allows time at the very end for you to ask questions. Show that you’ve done your research on the company and ask questions that will help you determine if the company meets your needs both professionally and personally. Before the day of the interview, research the company and read the news section of its website to be as informed as possible. Check to see if the company has won any recent awards, been featured in trade publications or has a major new customer. Ask questions about these new developments to see how they have affected the day-to-day life of the team you will be joining. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions about work-family balance, opportunities for advancement and service goals.

4. Practice

Preparing for an interview is a bit like rehearsing a role in a play. Be comfortable talking about yourself and your work. If you’re known as a fun person, you can tell anecdotes or funny situations when talking about your work experience. It is important to know what you want to say and to be able to answer questions, but it is even more important to feel comfortable talking rather than reciting a text. Practice formulating your answers by speaking aloud, alone or in front of a mirror. You can also do a mock interview with a friend or tape record yourself to observe the impression you make during the interview.

5. Adopt a neat presentation

The day before a job interview, go through your wardrobe and accessories, including your shoes, notebook and CV or portfolio. Choose work clothes that make you feel powerful, organized and confident. The general rule of thumb for any interview is to dress slightly more formally than is required by the dress code of the company where the interview is being held. So, if you are going to a company where people dress very casually, wear casual business attire. If the dress code is casual business attire, choose more formal clothing. And if the office adopts formal business attire, make sure you’re dressed to the nines.

Preparing well for every aspect of your job interview will help you feel confident and in control during your meetings. Even if you’re faced with tough questions, the confidence you’ve gained will help you react with ease. Relax, be yourself and dazzle them.

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