By Priti Dadlani
Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview.
That’s a feat in itself given the avalanche of applicants for each job opening these days. The interview is your opportunity to shine and sell yourself to the hiring manager(s) on why you are the best candidate for the job.
These tips come from an interview with Raj Dadlani, CEO and founder of Huntech Consultants Inc. based on his three decades of prepping recruits for their job interviews:
1. Read the job description and selection criteria carefully
You have to know what you’re being interviewed for to ensure your career objectives align with the job being offered. Often, recruits are misinformed about what the job entails. They see a job title and just skim the details about job duties.
2. Visit the company’s website
Ensure you have a good understanding of the company because you will be asked what you know about it in the interview. Be well-versed in areas such as the company’s history, mission statement, culture, senior leadership, products, successes, main markets, recent news, etc.
3. Look at the profiles of manager(s) who are interviewing you on LinkedIn.
You can be sure they will check you out there. LinkedIn is a great place to glean useful information, such as their current job title, where they have worked, where they went to university, their connections, etc. It gives you a sense of who they are and also lets you establish any things you might have in common. For example, did you both go to the same university or work at the same company in the past? These commonalities are great conversation starters.
4. Know yourself inside and out
Do not expect your resume to tell your story. You have to be able to tell the story of your career life. Familiarize yourself with your resume and be able to succinctly and clearly explain what you’ve done in your previous jobs.
5. Be prepared to tout your successes
Review your three major job accomplishments in the last two years that had a direct beneficial benefit to your company’s bottom line. For example, if you helped to design a chip, talk about how well it did in the market. Highlight promotions and favourable performance reviews. Managers want to know whether you are going to just go in and do your job or whether you can help the company grow.
6. Know your areas of weakness.
Come up with three areas for self-improvement and the steps you are taking to address them. For example, being better at meeting deadlines that are interdependent with others by setting mutually agreed upon milestones; improving skills that are lacking by taking courses; improving work/life balance by better time management and prioritizing tasks.
7. Prepare your own questions
Typically at the end of an interview, you will be asked if you have questions. Good questions to ask are about the company’s culture (examples?) and job requirements. This shows you’ve taken the time to prepare and you care about getting the job.
8. Be well-groomed
Schedule a haircut and ensure your nails are clean and trimmed. Dress in business attire, which means a long-sleeved shirt with a collar and dress pants. A blazer and tie are optional. Although you may be able to dress more casually when you actually get the job, you want to present a professional image in the interview.
9. Know where you’re going
Locate the company’s address on Google Maps and get directions there. Plan your mode of transportation and your route to get to the interview. Arriving late makes a bad first impression. Often you will be interviewed by a panel of managers or have meetings back-to-back with several managers for the same job, so being late can inconvenience many people.
The adage practice makes perfect applies to job interviews too. Do a mock interview with a knowledgeable person in your field, preferably someone in a senior position. Ask them to give you feedback on how you perform.
What’s your tip to prepare for an interview?