Hi guys, today's post is a little bit different in terms of the area of your life it mostly applies to. When I started this blog, I meant for it to be a more refined diary. So it's only right that it showcases different stages of my life. I'm currently looking for a full time role (it's been difficult to pick a focus because I'm interested in different areas where my skills can be useful from business analysis and finance to communications/PR). Anyway, I've attended quite a number of interviews recently and my strategy has been to have an open mind.; therefore, I've interviewed at places I never thought I'd work, just for the experience if nothing else. Having done that, here are some takeaways and what really helps me get through all these interviews no matter the sector (financial, FMCG, oil and gas). Just as a reference for why these tips work, I've gotten to advanced stages in 3 different types of companies in the past 2 months.
BTW Thank you so much to everyone who reads and shares my blog posts. It’s nice to know that other people are interested in what I have to say and my point of view.
It’s funny how my attitude has completely changed from my first interview to the one I had just a few weeks ago.
Whereas I spent over 3 hours prepping for the first interview, when I find out I had the next round, I probably spent an hour or so preparing and the same goes for my first round at a completely different company.. Here are the 5 things I think everyone should know in preparation for job interviews:
1. Know your resume like the back of your hand. Your work experiences , key skills you learnt from them that at pertinent to the job you’re currently interviewing for and why that role was a good stepping point and how it connects to your next move or overall picture.
2. Tell me about yourself - the most cliche and open question employers ALWAYS ask. 3 different companies and all of them asked his questions to start. Have a well structured answer for this question but don’t recite it in a rehearsed manner. Frame it in a way that makes them curious and will lead them to ask you more questions about yourself you actually want to answer.
3. Know the key facts about the company. This is obvious but I had an interview recently where I almost went in blindly because their website was down and that was going to be my excuse. I got the JD from a recruiter and knew I could handle the job requirements so that was my basis for asking him to proceed with setting up the interview. But I realized I was about to play myself; so I went on LinkedIn and found as much information as I could. There’s no excuse for not knowing what a prospective employer does. It also helps to know who their key competitors are.
4. Be ready for aptitude tests - I once attended what was meant to be a “Chat” and at the end of the chat I was asked to take their numerical/verbal/reasoning test on the spot. Tests as part of interviews but I like to prep for them and I was taken aback by how abrupt the test invitation was. Of course I couldn’t complain and I just took the test as requested. I passed and all’s well that ends well but I still wish I knew ahead of time. So to prevent that, start prepping as soon as you know you’re going for an interview even if they say it’s just a “quick chat”.
5. Have questions for the interviewer. If a company didn’t think you have something good to offer they wouldn’t invite you for an interview in the first place. Also as much as they’re interviewing you, use the same time to get a feel for the environment and culture and vet if it’s the type of place you'll like to work or not. Definitely have some thought out questions which will show your interest and motivations. You're unique, so focus on selling yourself instead of what you think they want to hear.
BONUS (last but definitely not least)
Use it as an opportunity to get to know yourself. You can’t sell what you don’t have or a product you don’t know about. So search deep. Know why you want the job, what motivates you and why you’re convinced the role you're interviewing for is the right next step for you. Interviewers speak to a lot of people so they can tell when you’re bullshitting. Speak from your heart and the passion will shine through.
Remember that at the end of the day, if it's meant to be yours it will come to you.