I was sitting on the other side of the recruitment process and interviewed a few people for a challenging and high profile position in a large organization. The four candidates had already passed two selection rounds: CV and a phone interview with a recruiter. They’ve had the chance to learn more about the position, their English level was verified and administrative matters were discussed.
Follow my impressions and lessons learned:
1. It’s absolutely necessary to be prepared to answer the question: why are you the most suitable candidate for the job? You can’t go to a job interview and to the question: “Why should we hire you?” – which is one of the most standard job interview questions, to answer: “Because I find this area interesting and I believe I can fill this hole (!?) well.” Even if you are the perfect candidate, this answer will automatically cut the recruitment process short for you.
What do you think a potential employer is looking to find with this question? Why hiring you would be good for your or for them? When you buy a car, the car dealer walks you through the car qualities, right? Similarly, on a job interview you sell yourselves – your skills, experience, education, and qualifications. It’s crucial to be able to present them well.
Think about your strengths, what is it that differentiate you from the other candidates, how can you help the team and the company to achieve better results? Do your homework.
2. Answer the question. Sounds pretty trivial, but there are quite a few times when this is not happening and, to put it mildly, creates an unpleasant impression. Listen carefully and try to answer the specific question you are being asked. If you don’t understand the question the first time, ask for clarification – nothing shameful about asking for a repeat, but not answering the specific question might be the end of your journey with this company.
To the question “How do you handle difficulties?” – also part of the standard job interview questions, it’s unacceptable to answer that you make a list and prioritize. The list will help you organize your day, to reduce your stress levels, and to be more productive, but will not do any good in solving a challenging situation.
3. Read the position description before coming to the interview. Again – pretty standard, but it’s quite surprising how many candidates come unprepared and bring the job description with them. And not only that – they look at it during the interview. What does that tell the interviewer?
- The candidate doesn’t really care about this opportunity.
- The candidate has applied to so many vacancies and he or she doesn’t know what position is this interview for.
- The candidate doesn’t have the needed capacity to remember the job profile and if we hire him or her, we will need to constantly remind them.
And this is just the more censored sample of the thoughts that cross the interviewers’ minds.
4. Why did you leave your last job or why do you intend to leave it? A question that will always have its rightful place in a job interview. The potential employer would like to understand your reasons for leaving, because they will invest in your training and would like to avoid the situation in which as soon as you are trained and become useful, you start searching for a new opportunity.
It’s absolutely crucial to be prepared to answer this question. And to provide a logical answer, too – which is not too detailed, doesn’t contain rumors or negative connotations.
Similar questions would be asked if you have frequent change of employers, large professional gaps or changes and, all in all, everything that seems risky to the people who are about to employ you. Be prepared with a clear explanation for this cases as well.
5. Give examples. Personal examples are the best illustration of qualities, approach, and skills. Personal examples are believable and memorable. Personal examples show you’ve managed similar situations and can handle them well in the future.