It is interesting to reflect about interview process once you have been on the other side interviewing other people. Once you have been on the other side and others have interviewed you, you can get better inside of how to improve it.
Nowadays, when we have a bachelor degree or even a master degree, many times we are even overqualified with out studies for the position that we are applying for. I just reflect about my own degree, Economics. We learn so much about Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, but in many companies, we don’t use it in the same way that we have learnt it.
Normally when you are getting for the first time into the corporative environment you most probably will do simple tasks for some time, until you will know more about the company, position and so on…
How do you get ready for the interview?
I would start with some basics:
- Read carefully what you have applied for, some people are just applying randomly everywhere and then they just go and try to improvise.
- You should know more or less about the products/services that the company is selling, because it could be that you even don’t like them.
- Knowing what does the company do, reflect if you have used any of the products/services of the company. Which one did you like most? Why do you use it instead of other company’s products? Reflect a little more about it.
- Read about the vision/mission of the company and try to see if you identify yourself with the company, this part could be crucial during the interview process.
- Do you know anyone working at the company? If you know, ask them more about the company, perhaps even they know HR person who is going to interview you or they even know the manager, so they can give you some advice.
- Try to identify what you have done during your life and how it could be related with the position that you are applying for.
- Try to resume your experience, because they will ask you explain a bit more about it, also check if you can justify all of your experiences in CV with examples.
- I would take with you some notes about the company, perhaps you could take some notebook which you could use during the interview (I will go through it too).
Once you will be having an interview with HR, some of the questions are always out there so you can get ready for it too:
- Tell me more about yourself/experience: here is where you will summarise all your experience, studies, try to connect everything, no one likes to see people who are really lost and are doing things randomly.
- Why did you apply for this company? I would focus on what do you like most of the company, also find relationships with vision and mission of the company, perhaps you are using their products/services and you really like it…
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? Here is the one no one likes to talk about, strengths it is always easy, but strengths weaknesses it is always more difficult… You should reflect this one in details beforehand. Imagine that you are applying for finance position and you are really don’t like math, but you can handle it… so don’t say it because it could affect the outcome of the interview. Don’t forget relate your weakness/strengths with examples and how you can solve it. Example: I am really bad with names, what I normally do I write them down and check the list from times to times.
- Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? I always would recommend looking into long term. If company is interviewing you, they are spending resources, most probably they like you and perhaps if you do it well they would like to hire you in a long term. Looking from this perspective, you should try to relate your future with the company. Imagine you are taking 3 months internship after graduation (during the summer) and company is planning to hire you afterwards. If you tell them that you are applying for master or you just want to get professional experience, most probably they want hire you, but if you would relate the future it with the company, you probably could get the internship.
These are few questions that most probably all companies will ask you about. In general, it is about getting ready for the interviews so you know better the company, position and yourself.
During the interview
Some people get stressed others don’t but try to be the best of yourself. I like to say it, if you are bad at interview, I try to imagine how you will be at work… It is difficult to find the relationship because some people they really get stressed, but this is about knowing how to sell yourself. Try to think from this perspective, company is spending resources to get to know you, spend some time beforehand to get to know them and get to know yourself.
- Make it easy for the interviewer: be extensive in your answers, explain yourself because they are trying to know you. Don´t just answer with yes/no.
- Smile: it is a simple thing but it helps, everyone likes to work with friendly people…
- Be positive, confident, don’t lie… It is all about being nice and polite.
As I said before, it is really important your personality, because most of the things you will learn at the company. Imagine that you are having interview for cold calling position, where you need to be really patient and polite, also persistent and at the same time convincing. In this case, you should have some clear examples for each quality, so they can see directly that you can fit perfectly. As I said, make it easier for them so they don’t need to think that you are good at it, but you show them some examples from your real life.
Would be really good that during the interview you would have some notebook, where you could take down some quick notes, it looks really professional and shows your interest in the company/position. At the same time it could help you to remember few things… But don’t write all the time or don’t look at it all the time, practice at home.
And for me these two are the most important as I am purpose driven person:
- Once you have identified yourself with clear examples with the vision and mission of the company, you should transmit that to HR and later to the manager.
- Also it is really important to get a little “emotional” or let’s call it “talk from your heart”. I had few friends of mine asking me for some advice for the interviews and I always highlight it. A friend of mine was engineering and she wanted to get an internship, which was about improving the efficiency of car’s engine. She was doing the interview and she felt that it was not going so well as she would like and at some point in time she said something like this “if I would have a chance, I know that I would do amazing job, I don’t give up, I know that I can make it, I always wanted to have this chance and here it is the opportunity to prove it”. It is like inspirational speech or elevator speech… You should go inside the heart of other person with emotions.
I like to say in this way, HR should get in love with your personality.
At the end they will ask you always if you have any question, you should always have something ready, be curious about the company. Perhaps you will have some questions after the interview otherwise you can have few questions ready like:
- What is the retention rate for people who are doing their internship?
- When I am going know if I am selected?
- I wouldn’t recommend asking about the salary… I think it is not professional unless you are applying for some higher position and it could be really relevant.
- What do you like most of the company from inside? It could be really good way to become closer to the person that is interviewing you
I am not sure if I forget anything, but there are some basics which really work.