How to Master an Interview
Photo by Christina at Unsplash Whether you are applying to a university, internship, or other sort of opportunity, an interview is generally part of the process. Although the interview process might be daunting, preparation is essential for establishing confidence and demonstrating that you are the best applicant. Your experience and qualifications will help you get the best interview result, but so will your personality and cultural fit. Here are some frequently overlooked interview preparation techniques you can use in your next interview.

1. Review the job description

Prior to your interview, read the job description again carefully to see whether it matches your abilities and experience. Sometimes the job title alone does not accurately reflect the duties and responsibilities. Pay attention to the specific adjectives used when describing the type of individual they're looking for and incorporate these terms into your interview answers. Consider how your qualifications and goals correspond to the job description so that you may link them into your interview answers later on.

2. Do your research

Find out about the company's vision, mission, products, services, cultures, accomplishments, and milestones. Going through their websites and social media accounts will provide you with ideas for particular points to include in your answers. You will be able to quickly relate your background, qualifications and achievements to the company. It also ensures that the company's mission and culture are compatible with your own interests, career ambitions, and beliefs. Throughout the interview, apply what you've learned to relate your abilities and experience to the job description, department goals, and business vision.

Look into the interviewer as well. Search up their background on Google and LinkedIn to see if you can discover something in common with the interviewer.

3. Prepare a lists of questions

After you've done your research, make a list of genuine questions you have about the company, their work, culture, organizational goals, professional growth, and so on, but make sure you don't ask things that you can easily find out by doing basic Internet research. You will appear uninterested in the position. Through a series of thoughtful questions, demonstrate that you're willing to learn, interested in the position and the company, and have a general idea of what they require and what they do. Here are some questions you can ask the interviewer:

  • How well does the company’s vision relate to its actual activities?
  • What would a typical day in this position look like?
  • What problems could this position assist in resolving?
  • Are there any specific products or goals that the company is currently focused on?
  • What difficulties do you anticipate for the new hire, and how are they overcoming those difficulties?
  • What are the main goals you want the new hire to achieve?

4. Practice some interview questions

Go over a list of the most common interview questions and practice answering them. Make sure your answers focus on the company or university, the position, and your suitable qualifications and goals. Memorizing your responses is not the best way; hence, it is recommended to prepare some examples and tales ahead of time using the STAR method to help you remember the essential ideas you want to convey. STAR stands for situation, tasks, action, and result. This method works well for a behavioral and situational questions. You can find more on the STAR method here. Here are some sample questions for you to practice answering:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want to work at this company?
  • What’s your strengths and weakness?
  • Would did you take a gap year?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Do you prefer working independently or on a team?
  • How do you handle stress and pressure?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be.

5. Dress accordingly

When attending an interview, whether it is online or in person, make sure you dress appropriately for the occasion. Suits are not required for university interviews, but that does not mean you can show up in your sweats. If you're interviewing with an investment bank, you'll most likely be wearing a crisp, tailored suit. On the other hand, casual attire is acceptable at a start-up company. Interview attire should always be both professional and comfortable. You must wear whatever makes you feel confident, as this will influence their first impression of you.

6. Show up on time

Being 10 minutes early is always preferable to being 10 minutes late. Arriving a few minutes early for your interview will offer you some extra time to prepare; you can use this time to go through your notes. If the interview is held online, allow 15 to 30 minutes to set up and test your internet connection and equipment before the interview begins. Make sure you have enough light, the camera are showing your full upper body, and your microphone works well. By doing so, you are not only making a nice first impression but also respecting their time by not arriving late.

7. Make a good first impression

First impressions are formed in the first few seconds of meeting someone. Your qualifications are crucial for the outcome, but your personality will also be evaluated. When you meet the interviewer, make eye contact, smile, and allow them to initiate the handshake. Along with eye contact, sometimes nod your head to show that you agree and understand what they are saying. In addition, mention their name occasionally. People enjoy and respond better when their name is mentioned in a conversation, but don't overdo it. Other minor gestures, such as turning off your phone, keeping your hands out of your pockets, not chewing gum, or continually checking your watch, will help make a positive impression on the interviewer.

8. "Be the one they want to work with"

There could be dozens or even hundreds of people competing for the job you are interested in, and there will always be someone who is more qualified than you. Having a positive personal impression might have a significant impact on your interview outcome. The first impression you make on the interviewer is often more important than your actual credentials. Make sure you arrive prepared, demonstrate your strengths, and interact well with the interviewer. If two candidates are equally qualified for a position, they will choose the one with excellent communication abilities or someone who will fit in better with the team.

9. Be careful when talking about your previous employer and company

When questioned about your past employer or company, make sure you don't say anything negative or confidential. You may have suffered with many things in your prior experience, but if you switch off the negativity and consider it for a second, you're likely to come up with at least one beneficial thing you extracted from the experience. A job interview is not the time to rant. If you do, everyone at the interview will think that you will eventually badmouth them as well when you go to interview with another company.

When asked that question, the interviewer is generally trying to determine your personality by observing the tone and attitude with which you react to a difficult question. Details about what you enjoy and dislike can help suggest whether you'll be a cultural fit at the organization in question.

10. Support your answers with examples

With each answer, include active, supplementary examples and metrics. Consider the development of each 'story': how the business problem was discovered, the solution developed and implemented, any problems experienced along the way, and the company's successful, measurable end. The STAR Method can be applied here as well.To apply this strategy, begin by describing the situation's context before addressing your task under these conditions. Then, concentrate on what you did to overcome the obstacle and the outcome of your project.

11. Don't be afraid to admit that you don’t know

They don't expect you to know everything, especially if this is your first internship or job. What matters is that you demonstrate what you understand and possess and let them know if you are unsure or have no knowledge about something. You will work in groups with people who may have more expertise than you in certain areas. Being truthful will also make a positive impression on the interviewer. If you don't know the answer, you can say, "I don't know off the top of my head, but I will follow up after the interview."

12. Send a follow-up email

Last but not least, always send an email follow-up. A brief thank-you note demonstrates that you value their time and opportunity, and it distinguishes you from those who do not send one. Remember to keep it short, nice, and friendly, and to send it within 24 hours of your interview. This is also an excellent moment to emphasise your important qualities or bring up a point you forgot to make during the interview.

Overall, keep in mind that one door closing does not mean you are not good enough for a position. You might get rejected by a company you want to intern at or a university you have always dreamed of attending. Acing an interview requires preparation, confidence, and a positive attitude. Follow the twelve suggestions outlined in this article and you'll be a step closer to a successful application.

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