Job interview to any professional at any career stage is critical, just as entrance exam to student on campus. Unlike exams, job interviews are more ‘volatile’: there are no strictly-set standards of how they unfold and develop, despite a variety of formalities. However, instead of frightening yourself, try to adopt a different angle and process the interview differently. An interview is just like a mountain, over which you will reach your dream destination. All you must do is prepare yourself for the journey with the appropriate tactics.
Yes, we believe an interview is a journey, especially when you’re interviewed by one interviewer at a time, so it isn’t merely a 60-minute scrutinization. Next, we will guide you through 3 different phases of an interview and demonstrate what you should pay some extra attention to during each phase, in order to help you ace the interview without making too much fuss.
Before the interview: background research is never enough
Do you really understand the position you’re applying and the company you’re getting into? Do you know what business pillar your position supports and how far has it gone compared to other pillars horizontally or other players in the vertical market? Searching for information on questions alike should definitely on your checklist. Make sure that you read, discuss, and digest extensively before entering the meeting room and starting the interview. Though in the modern world everybody is drowned in an overload of information and knowledge, try to absorb what you find selectively and form your own perspectives that contribute to a more solid understanding of your dream job position. Don’t be easily swayed by what’s online or what some industry insiders share; rather, try to grasp the essence and build up your own interpretation of the role.
During the interview: asking is as important as answering
Basic professional etiquettes aside, an interview focuses on assessing or even quantifying your functional potential to fulfill a position. Your potential will be demonstrated not only by you answering questions from the interviewer with all the useful references prepared during the prior phase, but also by asking questions to the interviewer. Asking questions doesn’t mean challenging or even opposing the interviewer. On the contrary, it’s a tactic to engage the other side and draw his or her attention to what you care about, which allows your passion and positivity to stand out. Of course, not all the questions make the same impact — only let out ones that are strategic, targeted and relevant. For instance, “What would you expect the role to do in order to double the sales?”, “What would you think is missing right now in the team to achieve the goal you mentioned just now?”, “How soon would you expect me to make a difference if I get the opportunity”, etc. Questions that leads to long-term benefit of the employer and your long-term progress can turn out to be the wow factor in the interview.
Admittedly, whether it’s answering or asking questions, sincerity is an indispensable trait that every employer is looking for, because being sincere and honest enough mirrors professionalism and dedication. It’s easy to feel yet hard to fake, yet possessing and expressing sincerely always lies in how hard you’ve tried to fit in the position and how willing you’re to be a part of the company.
After the interview: show your gratitude and attitude
When you finish the interview, always remember that you and the employer are still in contact. You wouldn’t be deliberately insulated or prohibited from further following-up; and there might be occasions that the interviewer requires to keep in touch in case of any further communication, which probably signals a very positive interview result. If the employer side seems not active in a very straightforward way, you can still send your appreciations to the contact person who has been coordinating the interview, and ask for possible updates politely and appropriately. Expressing gratitude is a quality that everyone values including employers, and showing activeness is a type of attitude that people seldom refuse. Evidently, though following-up helps the employer remember you, make sure that it’s well-measured, as catching up with the contact person overly will be considered unnecessary and even a bit impolite.
Apart from this, for your own personal progress, it is absolutely good for you to do some self-reflections and note down what should be maintained and improved for future job-seeking. You owe yourself some appreciations for all the efforts, and you should always keep up the positive attitude for all the possible opportunities ahead.
Follow the suggestions above to ease your nerves and enjoy the full journey of job interview!