First of all, congratulations Out of hundreds of submitted resumes, your one managed to shine through and got you to the interview stage. Now the big day is approaching and you don’t know what steps to take. Well, leave it to us to show you the mandatory guidelines!
You need some practice sessions on the job interview the same way a student needs to study repeatedly before the exam! Going through the same process repeatedly will clear away all the doubts in mind and keep your nerves calm on the real interview! Here are a few:
- How to practice
- List of common interview questions
- Practive job interview with Virtual Reality
How to practice interviewing?
1. List of possible questions
You can start by listing down all the questions the recruiters can possibly ask. If you have some experience already sitting for such interviews, all the options will come easily to you. You can also include the ones you have faced yourself before and failed to provide a satisfactory answer to.
But if you are a complete newbie, let Google be your friend! There are many common questions you will find there to help you understand what the recruiter’s mindset will be like. We will also help from our side by listing some of the most basic interview questions in our experience below!
2. Nonverbal communication
The non-verbal means of communication are extremely important in a job interview. You need to show the right body language – which is also called paralanguage. All the elements of communication except talking matter here.
This could be the way you are sitting, the speed at which you are speaking, the frequency at which you take pauses while speaking and of course, the facial expressions during the conversation. All of these matter more than you can imagine and have a significant effect on the interviewers assessing you.
They will make mental notes of such intricate details as they observe every choice you make for those movements. Although, none of these will matter if you answer the questions wrong in the first place.
3. Dress the part
Since you will be preparing yourself exactly as you would on the interview day, it also helps if you practice putting on the selected outfits too. Pick up the outfits keeping in mind what kind of aura anybody in that job should have. Depending on that and also the physical conveniences you would need on the job, finalize the outfits.
For example, if the job demands you to go on field checking or similar outdoor business, you need to wear a dress that fits the weather and would feel comfortable for a long time. Keep more than one outfit planned in case the first is not available for some reason. Make sure they are all cleaned and dried properly with no wrinkles. They should also fit you right and represent your personality properly.
After you are done listing down the questions and have prepared possible answers to them, write them down on flashcards. This will help a lot if you don’t have anybody to ask the questions at the moment. Shuffle them up well so that you really don’t know what is coming. Repeating this process enough times make you fully prepared to answer them in any order. If you are alone, you can sit in front of the mirror while answering the questions. This will let you identify your flaws in body language right away.
5. Record the practice
Another way to handle the job interview practice when you have no one to help you out is to record yourself! This will particularly come in handy if you don’t have a mirror, living the classic bachelor’s life.
You can use the webcam on your computer or laptop, a dedicated video camera or the camera of your smartphone placed at a particular angle for this. If for some reason none of those are available right now, use a simple audio recorder.
Then play it, again and again, to see where you went wrong. Through a video recording of the practice, it will be more convenient for you to watch it anytime and assess yourself.
6. Focus points
You will need to note a few points on which you need to work. These points can come from the practice recording or from your previous experiences at job interviews. After every such interview, the candidates tend to replay the whole scenario in their mind and try to figure out what went wrong. Reflect upon those moments where you tripped into a black hole. Make a note of such moments or questions and prepare appropriate answers to them. Through this approach, you can improve your interview skills and approach with a much clearer goal this time.
7. Pick a partner
If you have a friend or family member who can help, ask them to play the role of interviewer. With this you can practice making eye contact the right way, not getting nervous by the questions and more such crucial matters.
On another note, these are the people around whom you have spent years and have endured much of the embarrassments. So if you want to level it up a notch, pick someone who will be more objective. It could be a former teacher, mentor, previous boss – anybody with whom you have a formal equation and preferably who intimidates you a little bit.
By doing this, there will be much less possibility of you getting nervous on the big day. You will feel more confident because you would have already overcome facing the daunting people.
8. Set up space
Setting up a scene similar to the job interview is very important. You will need at least a long and wide enough table, along with some chairs on both sides. Preferably, two to three chairs on the interviewer’s side and just one on yours. Getting used to such a space or environment will help a lot to keep yourself calm and stay miles away from stress.
Although, if the real interview is supposed to take place over a phone call or Skype, change the scenario accordingly. Tell your practice interview partner to call you via the respective medium and then ask the questions.
9. Swap positions
Sometimes it really helps the candidate if he himself tries to play the interviewer. With this, you can really get into their mindset and realize what they would really want from you. Being in that thinking zone, review your prepared answers once more and see if they seem satisfying to you as the recruiter. If any of them does not meet your expectation level, change it accordingly.
10. Avoiding silence
Silence is golden, but NOT in the interview room! A few seconds of silence seem like a long eternity of nothingness and uneasiness. You should be prepared to remove such awkward silent moments away by setting up some phrases to break it.
For example, if they ask a question you don’t know the answer to or need to think for a while before starting your answer, respond slowly with a general opening phrase like “That is an interesting question. I would like to answer that by saying….”.
Practice job interview questions
In case you were looking for a helping hand to let you know which questions to prepare for first, we are here! Following are the most common questions asked on an interview board and you must be ready to answer them going in to enhance your chances.
1. Tell me about yourself.
Most job interviews begin with this statement which is like a warm welcome for the candidate. It is used to ease things down in the room and make the applicant feel like there is no pressure. It is also an opportunity through which you can highlight your experiences and student life accomplishments right away. You can end by stating the situation or reason briefly explaining why you have applied for this job.
2. Why should we hire you?
A very common mistake is when the candidate responds to this question in a way which turns them into a braggart. Of course, you need to sell yourself on a job interview, but not the wrong way! Stating your strong points in an over-the-top way will not get you anywhere.
Calmly and mindfully mention your skills, along with how they are relevant to the job. You might add in the extra talents or experiences you have which can be helpful for other sectors in their company. Every recruiter would love to have an employee who they can use for emergency tasks!
3. Why did you leave your last job? / Why do you want to leave your current job?
This is a bit tricky for all those poor ones who really just hate their job and want to get out. This question can be very tempting for you to start scrutinizing your current company left and right. But hold yourself back and keep up the graceful appearance. Tell them the technical reasons like if the department there is not stable enough or there is no professional growth in your current job.
Also, remember to not mention any salary issue. We all know most people do jobs only for the money to support themselves and their family. But giving that as a reason during the interview is not considered professional. It is thought to be a cheap move and makes you look like a merely money-hungry person.
4. Why do you want this job?
This can go two ways – giving an answer focused on impressing the recruiters or giving an answer based on what you really feel. Go for the first one if this is not really a job you would want in normal circumstances. Here you can highlight how coherent the job requirements are with your experiences and skill set. Search online to get some inspirations and how that particular job helps others. Then incorporate those points in your answer to make it sound authentic. Also, mention how this would be the perfect “next step” for your career.
The second approach is for the lucky people who don’t have to compromise and aim for the job they have dreamt of. Just imagine yourself in that position and then write down why you feel good about it. Include those points in your answer smartly and define why this is a step up in your career.
5. How did you know about this job opening?
Part of why recruiters need to know this is figuring out how they can get to more potential recruitments. But on your part, you need to let them know if you are aware of the digital job-finding platforms. This job post probably came up on your page depending on the filters you chose. You can mention them too to establish a connection between the company’s vibes and your own.
In case you got it because of a third-party reference, mention the person who gave you this chance and how you know him or her. Then proceed to explain why both of you felt this is the right job for you.
6. What do you know about this company?
No aspiring candidate should go into the interview room without researching on the recruiting company. If you have no time, you should at least go to their website or Facebook page to get an idea about the company. Which industry it belongs to, what the company really does, what localities the regular clients belong to, what is their aim or motto – all these will define their office culture.
In case they sense that you did not do your research, they will automatically think of you as one of the less interested candidates and keep your resume on the side after the interview.
7. What are your greatest strength and weakness?
Here you can highlight the strong points you have in general like good work ethic, soft skills and favorable personality traits which help your efficiency. However, you also must address the technical qualifications and accomplishments you have which fall in line with the job.
Mention the weaknesses too and be honest about them. There is nobody perfect and everyone knows it including your recruiters. So state the points you lack in and follow each one up with what you are doing to overcome it.
Also, try not to be hard on yourself and talk about your weaknesses in a calm manner. Don’t let them know if you are terribly upset about them.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
“I have no plan” is not the answer. Even if you are someone who goes with the flow and doesn’t like to plan things in life, reply with some conviction. You can tell them where you want to see yourself in their company after five years. If it is a technology-based job, you can answer with what you want to learn next and why.
Virtual reality job interview training
What a wonderful time to live! Among the massive AI market, now there are virtual reality job interview simulators to prepare the candidates even better!
One of the craziest technology developments in recent times has been the virtual 3D holoportation from Microsoft. Through this, even if the candidate is far by one or two continents, the recruiters will feel like he is right in front of them! Just look at its demo here with random scenarios:
This is expected to reduce the lack of personality candidates often suffer during interviews over Skype or similar medium. Since they need to be so much focused on the audio and usually go through many technical difficulties or low resolution, more than half of their charm goes away. Through virtual reality job interviews, they can show off their charisma and lively movements clearly to the recruiters. Such technology will help to make the whole interview environment much more fun and a lot less stressful!
There are some job interview training websites like this one with Molly Porter. Here she asks you some questions through a video and depending on your answer the rest of the interview will be shaped. She will also portray different kinds of mood like commercial, gushing, rude etc. Each interview session will be different from the last one, allowing you to prepare as best as possible for the big day.
Checklist before the big day
Make sure you have your bag prepared with the necessary items before the big day. First of all, the portfolio should be there along with a copy of your resume and a list of references. You might also carry the work samples in case they want to see. Always keep a notepad and pen with you in case they provide you some urgent information. Also, have breath mints ready in case you are having a bad day.
Try not to chew any gum, candy, soda or cigarettes before the interview. Turn off your mobile phone so that the meeting can go as seamlessly and professionally as possible.
Follow all these points and you will surely have an amazing experience at the interview. There will be nothing to dread since you will already have all the contingency plans ready! Enjoy your time in the meeting and build a lasting impression on the recruiters.