The time will come every once in a while when one begins to consider a new career path or opportunity. We dust our CVs, update and polish it and begin sending it out in anger.

It feels a bit like ‘hit or miss’. We get some favourable responses back, some decline, others ignore. We land a few interviews and things get really serious now. We’ve managed to grab the attention of our potential employer. Here are some tips for preparing for interviews:

  1. Identify the need:

Every job advert is really a cry for help! The employer has a need and is looking for someone to help them meet that need. Believe it or not, it is not charity – they are not looking for someone to make rich.

The opportunity here is to clearly identify what that need is and also clearly link your skills and offerings to meeting that need. If you cannot match your skills and experience to the need (aka job description) then there is no point applying for the role in the first place. However, beyond the job description, as not all employer needs are clearly articulated, is the real (which is often more important) need. These will often come up during the interview and some examples of these are:

  • They need someone to start asap as the last guy just quit.
  • They need someone to shave some work load off the boss.

During the interview, you must be able to demonstrate that you are competent and able to meet those needs based on your demonstrable skills and past experience.

2.Know your worth:

They need you as much, if not more than, you need them.

After you have identified the need and clearly understood and demonstrated how you can meet them, you need to know what you and your offerings are worth.

Websites like Glassdoor provide salaries for different roles and industries.

The dreaded question “What are your salary expectations?” could be asked and “I work for free” is not a viable response. It’s best to give a range and this should be a fair, neither greedy nor overtly modest, estimation of what you are worth. You can read about how to increase your worth here How to increase your worth – Part 1.

3. Research the Role and Company

Questions like these should be considered when doing your research:

  • What is the organogram like? Who are my colleagues and who will I be reporting to or who will be my reportees?  Use Linkedin but make sure you use it in stealth mode.
  • What is the company culture? Pace (fast-paced or slow-paced and laid back). Family orientated or they would like you to have no work-life balance for example. Culture of blame or guilt? Open or closed door policy, approachable leadership?
  • Will I have all the tools I need to effectively and efficiently carry out my job, delivering stellar results?
  • Benefits and compensation: What are the additional benefits? Bonus, holiday pay, private medical care, childcare vouchers, staff nursery etc, international rotation/staff placement, mentoring, car allowance, phone allowance, training?
  • Location: easy commute, relocation required, parking availability, proximity to bus/train station or airport?

4. Practice tough interview questions

One can simply not be over prepared for an interview. The stars may align and it might turn out to be a walk in the park but what happens if it does not turn out that way?

Glassdoor also provides a collection of interview questions by company. Tough Interview Questions and Answers also provides questions and answers to touch interview questions.

In conclusion: Smashing that interview is a great feeling. To get that feeling requires a certain level of preparation. This list is not exhaustive but provides a minimum. Do drop a line if you have any comments or questions.

 

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