You’re almost there, your CV lands you that coveted interview and it’s time to sell yourself. So how do you prepare? Do you know how to sell yourself in an interview?
It doesn't matter if you are a seasoned professional or if this is your first job, interviews are tricky to master. Unfortunately, the honest answer is that no one can tell you exactly what you need to do in any given interview. Interviewers may be looking for something very specific and even with the best interview of your life, you may still not get the job. However, there are certainly things you can do to help convince your potential employer that you are the candidate they have been looking for.
Here are the top 5 tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview:
1. Do your Research
fail to plan, and you plan to fail. Read through the company’s website and collect as much information as possible. You are certain to be asked specific questions about the company so make sure you’ve done your homework on things like: previous year’s profits, competitors, latest products and services. Don’t forget to have a look at the latest developments in their industry either so you can converse with them on this subject with confidence. Role research: You need to make sure you understand the job description fully and know how it fits into the overall structure of the company. Ask yourself what the key skills for the jobs are and think of examples from your professional life where you've demonstrated those skills.
2. Be Prepared
although there is no set format for every job interview, there are some questions that you can guarantee will crop up. Think of questions that the interviewer is likely to ask you during the interview, such as your personal strengths and weaknesses as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job. Preparing and rehearsing answers to these and other questions will allow you to speak confidently and fluently. More importantly you won’t be faced with the panic of having to come up with an intelligent answer on the spot. Most candidates tend to give the same generic answer but by preparing beforehand you have the opportunity to add personal and relevant details that will set you apart from the crowd.
3. Make a good first impression
we all know that first impressions count when it comes to meeting someone new. This is more important when it comes to occasions like an interview: when someone is deliberately assessing you and scrutinizing your speech and body language. In fact, the first five minutes of your interview is the critical moment for you to impress them. Miss it and you might find yourself losing the job even if you have the best CV. Be punctual. Greet your interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake. A friendly expression works wonders. Be smart and adhere to the company dress code. Make regular eye contact and if you find yourself in a panel interview make sure to shift your gaze and make eye contact with the other interviewers as well.
4. Be honest and don’t waffle!
Try to use positive language, even when discussing past challenges. NEVER speak negatively about past employers or supervisors. Before you answer, rephrase what you have been asked to make sure you are answering the right question. If you’re not sure what the interviewer is asking you or why they are asking it, ask for clarification. When you feel that you have answered a particularly tough question, get the employer’s feedback before moving on. Answer questions properly – even if you need a few moments’ silence to collect your thoughts. It’s sometimes tempting to fill the silence by talking but it is better to say you need a minute to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards. Keep in mind that your responses are your sales pitch. You're selling the interviewer on yourself as the best candidate for the job. Be sure you focus on your relevancy i.e. why you’re a good candidate for the job; how your skills will translate to the duties specified in the job description; what you can contribute to the team; and how you will benefit the company if you're hired.
5. Always ask questions
You should always have some questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position. Prepare a minimum of five questions, some of which will give you more information about the job and some which delve deeper into the culture and goals of the company. This not only gives you an opportunity to clarify anything you're unsure of but also shows you have an inquiring mind and are genuinely interested in the job. Asking questions will also help you determine if you really want to work there. Keep in mind that an interview is not just about the interviewer getting to know you but also a chance for you to get to know the company and your future boss. Towards the end of the interview let the hiring manager know why you think the job is an excellent fit and that you are interested in the job. Remember to ask what the next steps in the hiring process are and when you can expect to hear back from them. Finally, don’t forget that an interview is all about the three P's: you need to prepare, you need to practise and then, on the day... you need to perform.
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