Searching for a new job is hard work and can be intimidating. Even so, it is important to be as prepared as you can be in today’s employment market.
Doing a little research on hiring trends and brushing up on your interview skills can help you be more prepared for success.
Making Small Talk: The Way to Start Off Right
Trained interviewers will attempt to calm applicants by making small talk, maybe adding in a joke or two. This is a common method of breaking the ice in order-to help the applicant feel more relaxed. It’s a good idea to be prepared with a little small talk yourself so that you can warm up to hearing your own voice before getting into the heart of the interview.
If the interviewer starts by telling a joke or revealing something personal, don’t take it as a cue that you can let your guard down. As important as it is to show your personality, it is equally important to know how much to divulge and when.
Always take the lead from the interviewer. If the interviewer seems pressed for time, agitated or distracted, be cautious of pulling random bunnies out of your hat (like jokes of your own) that will head the conversation off on bunny trails in which he may get lost trying to follow.
Walk into an interview knowing your strengths
Besides highlighting skills or processes you are familiar with, do refer to some of your soft skills such as how successfully you work with others, how you’ve found solutions to problems, how you approach building client confidence, etc.
An interviewer can learn much from a conversational-style interview. Prepare yourself for a variety of questions you might be asked by preparing some concrete examples in situations such as these:
• How you cope with change
• How you solve technical problems
• How you deal with timelines and tight deadlines
• How you’ve worked as a team
• How your skills will fit into the position
• How you organise yourself
• How well you work independently
• How you deal with difficult people
• Why you want the position
An interviewer might also want you to describe some of your faults or to give an example of a negative experience. The wrong thing to do is suggest you have no faults or that you have never been through a negative experience.
Find some area of yourself that needs improvement and suggest ways you’re working on it. Always focus on what you’ve learned in difficult situations or how you have turned a situation around.
Of course, the interviewer is hoping to hear good results, so don’t make a mistake of bringing up something that reflects poorly on you or previous workmates.
Stay tuned to part 2/2 of our Guide to the Job Interview Process : Step By Step. Till then!