I don t need any serious preparation, and if I do it vaguely, it won t help . This mantra, deliberately or not, rings in the heads of a huge army of job candidates getting ready for their first interview. Then, when they hear the first question that needs a specific answer, their confidence goes down the drain.
Recently, job interviews have been getting shorter, and recruiters seem to ask a growing number of questions. If you don t get ready for your first interview, you will not only waste the time of the recruiter – you will also burn your own daylight. If you want to have a productive meeting, you should be prepared!
The first interview is when you get to know the company. It is a great opportunity to find out more about the available position. Usually, at this stage, you will communicate with recruiters. Only rarely this is when you meet some of the managers.
What is an interview?
Before you start getting ready, you should first understand what an interview is actually all about. It is definitely not an occasion to tell a beautiful story about your life. It is not a question & answers session either, nor is it a friendly chat. AT your first job interview, you should take the initiative and proactively convince the employer that you are their best option.
Do your homework
A whopping 80% of your success at an interview depends on your good preparation. Make sure to collect and analyse as much information about your potential employer as possible using various sources. If you are applying for a job in an industry you are not very familiar with, you should study this industry in detail.
Get as many details about the position as possible: daily operations, tasks, and issues that you need to deal with. Make a list of some examples from your experience that could demonstrate your relevant skills and knowledge.
Examples based on experience
When you give examples, don t forget to put them in context explain the problem you have solved, why it was complicated and why it mattered to your company; what was the situation before you put your hands on dealing with the problem.
Cite your actions how you resolved the problem, and what tools you used.
Define the outcome the results your mention should be specific and, ideally, include numbers. It is important to tell how they benefited the company and the business in general.
At the first job interview, you should not ask any questions about the salary. At this stage, the company is actually evaluating the extent to which they can count on you and would be ready to give you the money you seek if you convince them that you are an expert worth the sought payment.
What do recruiters check?
Motivation Why did you choose our company?
This is one of the most frequent job interview questions, and pretty often this is where you can easily fail. Many candidates give simple answers such as I want this job because I need new experience or because this is a good company . The recruiter, however, will hardly be impressed by such general answers that they hear dozens of times every day.
What to do?
Explain what it is that you like about the company
You can say how the goals of the company correspond to your own values; what products or services you find particularly interesting; and how you were impressed by the company s recent performance or awards.
Show you find this job interesting
When they hear your answers, the recruiter will want to make sure you are not only going to do well in the job but will also enjoy it. In your response, demonstrate your desire and eagerness to start the job, supporting this enthusiasm with specific points from the vacancy description. You can share how the job corresponds to your professional goals.
It is important to remember that the recruiter is looking for someone who can potentially benefit the company not only now, but also in the long run someone who is ambitious and has the necessary drive and desire for self-improvement. Therefore, when you answer this question, explain that you want to develop your skills and share some specific elements of the position and the company that would help you achieve that.
The competencies that employers seek depend on the specific role and level of the position that you are applying for. Based on their specific needs, some recruiters may pay more attention to them than others.
For example, if you are applying for an office assistant vacancy, a recruiter will want to see qualities such as a high level of organisation and multitasking among others. Expect to receive many questions aimed to check these skills.
By the way, here is one great Office Assistant opportunity.
Depending on the vacancy description, you will have to possess certain hard skills a set of assets that shape up your unique professional qualities. For example, this may include organizing events or using designer software (we have an awesome opening for a Web Designer !). When responding, you should cite examples of how you have applied these skills successfully: Please share why you needed to use Excel and how you used it in your previous job.
If you have too many such examples, pick e few of the most recent ones.
The recruiter will certainly check how you communicated with your fellow workers, suppliers, clients, and all sorts of stakeholders within the company. You may hear the question: Tell us how you were able to build your professional and efficient communication with someone as part of your previous role.
When you answer this question, don t forget to mention the communication techniques you have mastered: active listening, efficient negotiating, etc.
Many positions, including junior ones, require making decisions based on your knowledge and experience. Therefore, you should be ready to list examples of situations at work where you had to make a decision, possibly a last-minute one, and it turned out to be right.
When you describe such situations, tell the interviewer how you came to this decision and what factors (budget, timeframe) impacted your choice. And don t forget to describe the results in detail.
For most positions, the goal of the recruiter is to choose a candidate who is good at organizing their working process. With slight variations, you may be asked: How do you organize your working process?
Each of us has our own habits in managing our tasks, priorities, and deadlines. You can make a list based on priorities, you may review it and change it if a new, more important project comes up. In any case, be ready to share how you organize and control the processes you are involved in.
Usually, managers want employees who create solutions, not problems. The best employees are ready to propose innovative solutions to the challenges they face. Be ready to hear the question: What are the biggest challenges you had to deal with at work?
Evaluate your experience and try to speak positively about your challenges, focusing on how you were able to resolve a problem with an out-of-the-box solution and flexibility.
Asking the right questions
This is a universal recommendation that will show the recruiter how interested you are in the particular vacancy. These questions will not only demonstrate your motivation but will also help you better understand if a company and a position are your best fit, what responsibilities you will have, what your fellow workers will be like and what career prospects you may have.
Possible questions to recruiters:
- Is this a new position? If not, how did it appear and evolve within your company?
- Does the position offer any career growth opportunities?
- Can I please find out more about the person who worked in this position previously?
- What does a usual workday look like in your company?
Possible questions to yourself:
Before you go to your first interview for a job, you should also ask yourself some questions. And not just ask write them down and answer each of them in writing.
- How will my employer benefit from me working in their company?
- How can I describe myself as a professional in one sentence?
- How can I demonstrate my professional qualities?
- Why did I work for such a long/short period in a given company?
- What information about me or recommendations may prevent me from getting the job?
- What do I know about the company where I am applying financial performance, strategies, and positioning?
- What do I want to achieve in my career and within what timeframe?
- What is the main thing I would like the interviewer to remember me with?
If you need some help in finding the best job for you or getting ready for your first interview, our team of awesome experts is always there to help you don’t be shy and get in touch for more useful tips and tricks on how to get ready for your first job interview!
Stay tuned for expert advice and recommendations on getting ready for your second-round job interview (to follow soon!)!