An interview is a bit like a poker game. At the beginning of the match, all the players sit with stone faces, and as the game progresses, they reveal their cards. The only difference is that all participants—the company and the candidate for the vacant position—can benefit from the interview process.
You need to understand how to prepare for an interview so that when you find yourself at the poker table, you’ll have a “full house” of good arguments for why you are a fit for the open position and the skills that back your words up. This will help to ensure you “win the hand” and come to an agreement with the employer on favorable terms.
Tip 1: Do Your Homework
Many applicants do not receive that coveted offer because they are poorly prepared for the interview and know nothing about the company. Therefore, before the interview, you should study all available information about the vacancy and the company, read the reviews of employees on company profile sites, and come to the meeting armed to the teeth with facts.
It’s also a good idea to clarify who will conduct the interview before the meeting, at least to understand the level of preparation of the interviewer and to address him or her correctly.
Being aware of the company's affairs will also be an additional point in your favor in the eyes of the hiring specialist.
Tip 2: Think About Your Style
If you want to get into trouble quickly when you’re going to interview with an unfamiliar company, just wing it when it comes to what you wear. It is necessary to clarify with the recruiter what kinds of clothing are acceptable in the team and think in advance about what to wear for an interview.
Most modern IT companies have an informal dress style, and no one will require a "white collar" at a meeting, especially if the interview is online. However, any interviewer will expect you to be appropriately dressed in clean, neat, and ironed clothes. You also want to choose restrained colors without bright accents. Your experience and skills should be the highlight of the interview, not your wardrobe.
Tip 3: Study the Position
HR has briefly acquainted themselves with your skills and experience by looking at a resume. Now they’ve scheduled a face-to-face meeting to test your soft skills and find out how your professional skills are related to the open position in the company.
Before the interview, then, you should study the essence of the position and think about how to improve your story in the context of the desired position. Prove your competence, give examples of situations you have encountered in the past, talk about ways to solve them, and describe your skills and experiences.
It is important not only to understand why you need this job but also to be able to argue why they need you—and convey it to the interviewer.
Tip 4: Be Honest
In today's world, where almost any information can be checked with a few clicks, lying in an interview is a strategy doomed to fail. Instead of embellishing your talents and skills, it is better to think about presenting your skills and abilities in the right light and in the context of the desired role.
Tip 5: Be Friendly
If you are too excited it can be confusing to the interview panel. Or you can go to the other extreme and seem indifferent and cold, which makes it look like you don’t know how to pass the interview successfully. The best route is just to act naturally.
You can learn even more life hacks on how to prepare for an interview in this article: https://www.careerist.com/insights/mock-interviews-why-you-need-one-and-how-to-prepare
How to Overcome Anxiety before the Interview
The hours and days leading up to an interview can be a very stressful time. Sometimes people even struggle with severe anxiety because of this. So how can you deal with it? Here are some tips to help you reduce pre-interview nerves.
When you go to an interview, you want to set yourself up for success. You can do this by telling yourself everything will work out. Try to believe in yourself and your strengths. Concentrate on the positives. If you are suddenly inundated with negative thoughts, try to eliminate them immediately.
Breathing exercises are a good method to fight anxiety. Learn to breathe deeply at the first sign of anxiousness; this saturates the blood with oxygen and calms the heartbeat. Just don't overdo it and start to hyperventilate—this can cause oxygen oversaturation and dizziness.
Top Questions and Answers
Why did you respond to our vacancy?
When answering this question, it is worth noting what attracted you to the particular position. It could be something in the description or about the company itself. Talk about what you have that others don't, and focus on the employer's preferences.
How will you be useful in this place? How do you imagine your work?
To answer this question, you must first analyze the vacancy. Then, identify the main pain points and needs of the employer and show how your skills address them.
How are you different from other candidates?
This is a question where some candidates try to stand out by humiliating their potential rivals. This question can also be phrased, "Why should we hire you for this position?" The correct answer to both questions, however, is to discuss your strengths and experience in the context of the specific vacancy.
Why did you leave your previous job?
This is one of the top questions asked in almost every interview. It is not necessary to speak ill of the previous company or invent lies. Both these tactics will repel the interviewer and make you think twice about the stories you tell after working in a company.
If the reason for dismissal was a conflict at your previous place of work, it should not be hidden: HR can quickly check the information through its channels. Preparing an honest, correct, and constructive answer in advance is necessary.
You can learn more about interview questions like these in the following article: https://www.careerist.com/insights/top-5-nontechnical-interview-questions
Common Interview Mistakes
1. It is not necessary to exactly understand what interests the interviewer. The employer needs to understand how you interpret the question and what you think is essential to tell. So you must have ready answers to questions at the interview.
2. “Praise” yourself based on numbers and facts; now is not the time to be shy.
3. Don’t just list facts and dates from your resume—give examples.
4. Don’t tell your entire life story, get confused with your facts, or say too much.
5. Don’t discuss your personal life, political and religious views, money, or health problems.
6. Never say that "everything is written in my resume anyway."
You can read more about interview mistakes and practical approaches to avoid them in this article: https://www.careerist.com/insights/25-common-interview-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them
What to Ask a Recruiter
The questions you ask determine the degree of your interest and professional knowledge. People who say, "I understand everything, and I have no questions," look strange. Therefore, study the vacancy; ask about how the team is structured, the business process, and the authority in this role; and clarify the main goals for the probationary period. Also, ask what kind of candidate the employer is looking for.
Feel free to ask the recruiter what interests you. Here is a list of the main questions you can touch on at the interview:
- What will be my main responsibilities?
- To whom will I directly report?
- How important is this work for the organization?
- What are the opportunities for career or professional growth?
- Why did the former employee leave this position?
- What is the main purpose of this job?
- What is the salary range?
What to Do after the Interview
By now you know how to successfully pass a job interview. After the interview, you should remain polite. Say goodbye to the recruiter, leave them your contact details, and wait until you are contacted.
If you don’t want to wait, you can call the company back or write an email after a few days. As a rule, recruiters are pretty good at returning candidates' calls because it is a manifestation of your initiative.
With these tips, you can successfully pass the interview and get the job of your dreams. So be attentive and confident—and don't forget to prepare!
We wish you success in the interview!