Career Advice Series: 10 Job Interview Preparation Tips for Onsite Interviews

Career Advice

 

Imagine waiting outside the office of the person who will give you that job interview. Minutes from now, you’ll be inside face to face with that interviewer who can either make or break your job application for the position you have long been aspiring for.  

You may have probably passed all other exhaustive screening requirements, but without getting through with this critical stage of your job application – all may be put to waste.  

Below are 10 helpful tips that you can refer to increase your chances of landing the job you want.  

Job Interview Tip # 1: Know the company before you interview!

It is a good idea to do some research about the company you are applying at.  You can ask over the phone, or you can look at their websites.  Many have now Internet presence and you can easily find information about the company there and their business.

You should have some knowledge about the employer you are interested in.  You don’t want to be caught speechless, with questions – “why do you want to work in our company?” or “what do you know about our products and services” – simple questions that a little research would have had answered.  

Being able to answer such types of questions will impress your interviewer.  It gives the impression that you are always ready for any battle you will be put into – similarly in actual job setting, they will perceive you to be able to do well in the job applied for.

Job Interview Tip # 2: Be prepared.

If you have a scheduled job interview, make sure you have an idea who will conduct it. In this way, you will have an idea on the probable question that you’ll have to answer during the particular interview.  

If such would be the HR personnel, expect some general questions about your work experience.  There will also be questions that would probably test your way of thinking or how stable your emotions may be on pressured situations.  

There will also be questions that will ask you your plans for your career – and what your direction will be, several years from now.  It is best to answer this well, preferably with mention to your career goals and how you plan to achieve them.  This will show that you are the type who plans, and is proactively making things happen for your career. Being so, will tell that you are a good planner and is assertive.

If such would be the direct superior for your department, expect technical questions related to your field.  It is expected that you can provide the necessary details that are directly related to your job.  

You are assumed to be knowledgeable on all facets of the current position you are applying, so you may want to review some theories that may be of use.  Make sure you can articulate these theories and other practical aspects of your job.  Being able to do so will show that you are technically capable for the job requirement.

Job Interview Tip # 3: Dress Appropriately.

This is quite simple but often taken for granted.  Specific industries and certain positions require that you dress up accordingly.  Make sure you know what is acceptable according to the company’s standards – and not merely to what you think it to be.  How you look still does matter in most cases.

Prepare the clothes the night before or even earlier.  Shine your shoes.  Make sure you will come for the interview neat and clean.  

Women should preferably come in with a conservative suit, coordinated blouse and limited jewelry.  There should be a decent hairstyle and sparse make-up.  Avoid short skirts that probably won’t fit in a conservative business environment.  

For men, a conservative suit is also in order with a white long sleeve shirt.  Conservative tie, clean and professional shoes and a neat hairstyle are suggested. If possible make sure to cover body parts with tattoos.  

First impressions do have an effect.  While there should be no discrimination as well to this regard, but you should leave no room for such to affect your job application.  In the real scenario, how you look plays a major part on how interviewers will judge you.  

Your appropriate suits or dresses are worthwhile investments for your job and career.  Allocate and spend some money for these, eventually and after landing the job you want, you can easily cover up these expenses.

Job Interview Tip # 4: Be ready to answer well the seemingly silly questions.

There are job interviewers who are more adventurous with their questioning.  Some may ask, “If you were an animal, what would you be?”  Such questions may put you off-guard, but you need not be – there is no right or wrong answers for these.  It all boils down to how you justify your answers.  

You could say that you’d be a tiger, as you’ll never stop until you catch your prey (or hit your goals?).  Or you could also say that you’d be a deer, as you will ensure that there will be no cutthroat competition within your department, and that there will be harmony and teamwork where you will be assigned.  So whether you are the predator, or even the prey, as long as you give it a good justification – that will be good and acceptable enough.  

Job Interview Tip # 5: Practice, practice and practice.

You may also try to practice your answers to general questions you think will be asked.  There are also some technical questions that you should be able to discuss with ease so that the interviewer will find you to be knowledgeable and eloquent.

If you can, try to be in front of the mirror and watch your gestures and mannerisms as well. Eliminate those that you feel you need to take out, and practice having a decent body language that go well with your answers.  

Job Interview Tip # 6: Have a positive attitude.

Whether you have a positive attitude or otherwise, will show during job interviews.  Especially if you will be with an experienced job interviewer, your personality can easily be read.  The ‘true you’ would be transparent, and hoping to hide behind your flowery words would be of no use.  

While this may require quite a degree of personal change, it is only but healthy for you and for those who you will eventually work with if you have a positive attitude.  The dynamics of a group environment would be ideal with members who are optimistic and works their best to achieve the group’s objectives.

Having a positive attitude may require some time – especially if you have been pessimistic most of your life.  But if you keep at it – you’ll succeed little by little and step by step.  The important thing is that you are improving at each step of the way.  And mind you – even a slight improvement will show and can do well to give the right impression to the interviewer.

Job Interview Tip # 7: Stay calm.

Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early before the actual interview time.  This will ensure you will not be gasping for breath in front of your interviewer as you were hurrying your way up to the office.  

And during the interview, listen well to the interviewer’s questions and get the main concept of his question and answer that point.  Stay relaxed and concentrate well.  Though you may feel the pressure for badly wanting the job, it will be to your disadvantage if you allow your feelings to get the best of you.  

Staying calm will allow you to focus.  You will be more alert to the questions thrown at you, and you will be able to give the right answers to these.  Find comfort in the thought that you are doing your best, and with some stroke of luck – and hopefully with some divine intervention, you may just get the job.  Whatever thought that relaxes you, find it and dwell on this.  

Job Interview Tip # 8: Be Honest.

In all things, be honest.  In job interviews, it will do you no good to mislead your potential employer.  While you may succeed in getting hired, you will still be subjected to job evaluations that would eventually show how poor a hire you are.  Your immediate boss may find it insulting and will end your stay with cause.

Be truthful with regards to your strengths and weaknesses.  Be proud about your strengths and strong points, but don’t be shy to tell your weaknesses.  We all have weaknesses, who doesn’t?  

Even big-time CEOs have some weaknesses.  What makes them so successful though is the fact that they concentrate on their core strengths, and delegate those areas where they lag behind to a more effective staff which have these as their expertise.   They also make an effort to reinforce their weak areas, as a well-rounded executive can always make better decisions.  

So again, you can’t go wrong with honesty.  You need not hide so much during job interviews, and you will be consistent will all your answers.  It will also be a plus factor for being honest, and a wise prospective will employer will notice that and value you for it.

Job Interview Tip # 9: Express your eagerness to learn and the willingness to be trained.

Let’s face it.  Getting the job you want is a competition.  Many qualified applicants may be vying for the same position.  And what could make it difficult for you is that there may be more qualified applicants than you are next to you in the lobby.  They may hold higher educational degrees and some industry specific skills you don’t have.

So what could set you apart?  It would be the eagerness to learn new things and being willing to be trained for whatever challenges placed in front of you.  Being so would mean you are flexible and can adapt to change.  You are open to taking on new challenges or perhaps covering up for a co-worker who may be absent.  

If you have taken on a challenge on your previous jobs, mention these during the interview.  Cite specific examples on why you claim to be able to respond will to change and on any new assignments or projects given to you.  These will bring more weight to your claims and may become valid, as they really are, in the eyes of your interviewer.  

Job Interview Tip # 10: Ask the right questions.

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will usually allow you to ask some questions you may have in mind.  While definitely there are a lot you may want to ask, your questions should be chosen tastefully.

Such questions to ask may be: “What are the responsibilities that come with the job?”, What is the career path for this position?”,  “What is the management style of the company?”, “Is this a new position? If so, why was there a need to create such?” and “How can one move up the corporate ladder?”.

Don’t overdo this portion though, and don’t take too much of your interviewer’s time.  Choose only those questions you feel are important for your part to make a decision if you would like to work here – assuming of course that you get the job offer.  

Moving On – In Search of Excellence!

While it is a fact that you don’t always get what you want.  It is not a reason to dwell on your failure to close the deal and get the job you want.  A variety of factors come into play, and you will not have all these under your control.

What you can do is continue on with the search – and while doing so, move on in search of excellence as well.  One should not be content with one’s present state of knowledge and skills.  And while it has been said that it is a tight competition out there in the job market, it would do you well to have more skills and more to offer to your prospective employer.

Take short-term courses or perhaps do online learning.  The avenues for learning have become more affordable and convenient.  The offerings are pretty much varied from managerial courses to accounting, financial, engineering, vocational & technician courses.  Online learning even offers masters and doctorate degrees.  

These may be viable options for you, to make you more qualified and stand out above the rest.  It will also widen your options on the positions you can take.  Never ceasing on the opportunity to learn will do you good eventually – it will only be a matter of time when the right job opportunity for you comes along, and you’ll be able to respond to the challenge effectively.