January, 2015

Tips to help you gain advantage on your Interview

Interviews are one of the most frightening things. It is worth noting that I am a very shy person and not a good communicator but I always get excited about Interviews. You may be wondering why, the answer is because I have been to a few Interviews and I turned 90% of them into conversations and passed 85% of them. I personally feel the key thing in an Interview is to give it your all and leave everything else up to the employer. Preparing for an Interview by getting a list of possible questions to be asked and knowing how to answer them may not be enough to give you a chance of getting that Job. One thing I prefer to do before any Interview or Exam is to ensure that I stand over 80% chances of making it. There are few things I have always applied and they seem to work almost all the time. In this article I will share all those tricks with you.

To stand a good chance you need to start at the basics. Prepare yourself by getting a list of possible questions and learning how to answer them best. The Internet has a lot of those questions and you can copy these questions from different sources and compile your own list on note pad any app you prefer. The second thing is to ensure you have good understanding of the company (Interviewer) and you know enough about the role you applied for. The best way to find out about this will be the company's website and to follow them on social media, if are lucky to know someone who works for that company give them a call and ask for this information. Wikipedia is also a good source in terms of general definitions of roles in several industries. Once you've got the general definition of the role you applied for, you can now look at how the role is defined within that specific company. When advertising roles, most companies will provide background of what the role entails and skills required. This is all you need for the basics.

Everybody does the basics, so you will need to do something extra to put yourself on advantage. Here is how you can to that:
Know yourself
They say first impressions last. This is very important; you need to know yourself before going to the Interview. I have never conducted any Interview but I can imagine how disappointing it must be to shot-list a candidate who is unsure of who they are and what they want to be. You need to know where you stand, what you want to be and what drives you. The majority of Interviewers will kick start the Interview by introducing themselves and the company. They will give a brief background about the company and then give the platform over to you to introduce yourself. What you will notice is that they will be brief and won't show any signs of doubt about who they are. Take the platform with honour and do the same.
Know what you have to offer
As an add-on to the first point, know what you have to offer. Know your skills, knowledge, strong points, interests and other skills you would like to development (Add also skills you are improving on, you don't want to sound like somebody who is in a comfort zone). Show them you are willing to improve your skills and learn new stuff. The whole idea of an Interview is for the company to know what you have to offer and then decide if you are a good fit for the opening they have. This makes it your duty to know your capabilities and why you stand out from the rest of the candidates.
Let the Interviewer take charge
This is vital, to let the Interviewers be in charge. Don't always differ with what they say especially when they seem sure of what they are saying. You don't want to give them the impression that you are going to be a problem in the office by always differing with everybody else. Steve Jobs got fired for differing with board members, even though he felt he was right and may have been. This can cost you the job, so keep nodding your head to everything they say. Make them feel in charge. Show them you are a good listener.
Turn the interview into a conversation
On top of just knowing what you have to offer, the company would like to know more about your character and sometimes that can be a determining factor to whether you get hired or not. The only way for the company to know about your character is through asking you questions. If you are going to limit your answers to a yes and no that might not work. This is where you need to turn the Interview into a conversation. I know some may ask me what if I am nervous and just want the Interview to end, simply because a conversation means more questions. Well one of the causes of nervousness is lack of enough preparation. To overcome this you need to prepare enough.
Know your industry trends
To spice things up, at least know some few facts and trends within your industry. This will boost your confidence.
Share past experiences
I had always selected a list of events I've been through to talk about during the Interview. This helps a lot during HR questions where they ask you about challenges you've been through. Try to ensure that the events relate to your Industry, try talk about events that happened at work or school. And emphasize on how the events helped you grow. What they are trying to find out here is whether you can overcome challenges. If possible stick to events where you came out victorious. Be realistic and don't lie.
Be different
This is my favourite, perhaps my strongest point. I use this one to stand out from the rest. If you get this one right they might not even ask you some of the questions like "Why do you think we should hire you?". And if you don't get asked this question in most cases it means they liked you already. The goal here is to make sure your Interview is different by the way you handle the questions and the things you say. You may not be the only one who got interviewed that day or that week. It is mostly likely that the candidates that came before you have been saying similar things because they all googled the questions and got pretty much the same advice from their peers. And by now you will agree that Interviewers are probably tired of listening to the same stories. Try sharing something useful with them; I always have some trend in the tech industry that I can to share with Interviewers. This will emphasise that you are not ignorant and you always keep up with what's happening within your industry. I don't think there's anybody who wants to hire lazy and ignorant person. Industries change very often and you need to stay alert.

Different methods work for different people, these are the methods I always use and they seem to work many of the times. You can try them and who knows they might work for you too. The idea here is to show you a different perspective of Interviews and let you prepare and handle Interviews better.

Thank you for reading!
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