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Preparing for an interview

Preparing for an interview

If you have made it to this stage it means that the documents you submitted have been positively received and you have a decent chance of getting the job. That’s half the battle over!

Now, all that remains is to convince the employer that they have made the right decision and that you are the perfect person for the job.

The purpose of an interview is to give the employer a chance to analyse and evaluate the skills and attributes of the potential employee. At this stage, everything depends on the candidate, their personality, behaviour and how they present themselves. This does not mean that you cannot prepare yourself in advance.

Analysis of your CV

In terms of preparing for your interview, there are particular questions that you can be almost certain of being asked. These are questions related to the information you have provided in your CV and cover letter. Therefore, it is necessary to analyse your own CV and try to predict what questions the interviewer will ask. Try to evaluate your CV objectively and create a list of questions that you would ask according to the information given. Most commonly, you can expect questions concerning your educational background, why you chose that particular study path, what motivated you and how you dealt with difficulties during your studies.

You should also anticipate questions about your professional life. Expect to be asked about why you chose to change jobs and also about specific situations that may have occurred during your previous employment.

It is also important to spend some time to read carefully about the job requirements for the position you are applying for and comparing them with your experience. What skills do you possess that would be beneficial to the company. These answers can be prepared in details in advance, even if you are not specifically asked about something that you feel is worth emphasising on, you can attempt to work it into the conversation at some point.

More often than not, an interviewer will ask about your aspirations for the future, your career goals, where you expect to be in five or ten years. Employers will also be interested in specific reasons why you left your previous jobs, explanations for any changes in career and details about why you would like to work for their company. It is very important to provide good reasons for leaving a previous position in addition to explaining what your expectations are from the new position. It is best not to cite financial reasons as your main motivation for leaving or taking a job. The term ‘career and personal development’ is something you can say to cover all aspects of your professional life, including earnings. It goes without saying that you should know as much as possible about the company you are trying to work for, particularly its structure, market position, products, reputation and prospects.

It is always worth thinking about any other qualifications or skills you have that may give you an edge over other candidates. Your choice of hobbies and interests can often give an insight into your personality and level of personal development. You should also give details of your other skills such as foreign language proficiency. These additional skills may not be specific requirements of the job but they are an excellent indication of your range of interests and ability to adapt to various activities.

Difficult questions and how to deal with them.

An extremely common question is about your strengths and weaknesses. The best candidates will have an answer prepared. The worst possible answer is to say that you do not have any weaknesses, the interviewer will think that you are uninventive or that you are simply lying. Additionally, do not try to be clever and say something that is clichéd such as “I’m a perfectionist”. Be honest about your weaknesses but try to talk about them in the past tense and say how you have learnt and developed from your mistakes.

"Do you have any questions?" - often the last but certainly not the least important question the interviewer will ask. A candidate who is unprepared can often be surprised by this question and not be able to come up with anything. This is the worst thing you can do. A serious candidate should already have some questions prepared to show that they have researched the position and that they are interested in what the company does.

So what questions should you ask? Use this opportunity to show that you understand the position and you are interested in the future of the company. How will my success be measured? What are the longs term goals for the company? You can also enquire about the next step in the interview process.