Part 2: Getting ready for the Interview

Getting ready for an interview depends on the kind of position you are being interviewed for. Some interview processes can be very easy, where the candidate undergoes a one-on-one interview, then either gets an offer or doesn’t ; while some processes are longer – often entailing the candidate jumping through numerous matrix hoops, which in some instances may cause them to lose interest in the job. These types of interviews usually involve pre-screening, case studies, assessments, 1st round, 2nd round and final round. Whichever process you may be subjected to, you will always need to be prepared for the interview in any case.  Here are some tips to help you prepare:

Know what is on your CV

This may seem minor, but a lot of people tend to forget what is on their CV’s as they go for long periods without looking at it in detail. As much as you may have an idea on what is written in it, the specifics may have escaped you over time. It is important to go through your CV constantly, to remind yourself of your achievements and experience. This process may also help you trigger some scenarios that you can use later on in the interview.

Hygiene Questions

Hygiene questions are industry jargon for questions interviewers ask to get to know candidates better. They are not hard questions, and do not necessarily require you to think too hard. However, you need to adequately prepare yourself and your train of thought on how you will answer them. These kinds of questions are also there to ease you into the conversation and sets the scene for what is to follow.

Hygiene questions are straight forward, but they can also be tricky if you did not prepare for them. Questions in this category would be questions like:

  • talk us through your cv, your ambitions and your journey in general
  • why do you want to leave your current position?
  • what do you think this position can offer you?
  • What’s different in this position from your current role?

If asked why you want to leave your current position, and you have not really thought about it, the interviewer will catch you out and you will appear as if this is just another job interview – and you do not really care for the position. Also, if you just make something up, when they probe you further, you may get caught in your unpreparedness. It is important that you think through what it is you are looking for and if this position will provide you that, as well as why. That would then be the answer to why you applied for the position and why you want to leave your current one. Another important thing is to never badmouth your company or manager, no matter how tempting it is or whether it is really their fault you want to leave.

Competency based questions

These questions are based on what the job competencies or skills are. Whenever you look at an advert, pay special attention to the skills or competencies required for the position. Those competencies will guide you as to what questions may be asked during the interview. If one of the competencies is decision making – the questions will be about you explaining about a time when you had to apply that particular competency. Competency based interviews focus a lot on scenarios.

It is imperative that you practice how you are going to lay out your scenarios, otherwise you will lose the essence of the scenario by giving too many unrelated details. It is also quite easy to forget how to articulate things in the order that will take you to the decision point. Usually, candidates get stuck explaining the situation itself and sometimes forget the point they were trying to make. Here, all you need to do is to tell the interviewer what the situation was, how you dealt with it, what the outcome was, and why that was that the best cause of action.

Case study questions

These questions test your ability to think on your feet and how quickly you can do that. If you are not quick on how you would resolve certain issues, it can be problematic. Here, the interviewer would give you a scenario or a real event that happened and ask you how you would tackle it. Sometimes you get 30 minutes to write up your approach, other times you have to answer on the spot. Either way, you need to anticipate these types of questions.

It is best to be over prepared than to blink and stare into space because you do not have an answer. In your preparation, make sure you understand what the expectations of the job are, as case study questions would normally test you on what you will be required to do or deal with on a daily basis.  It would therefore be important for the interviewer to understand whether or not you have the thinking capacity to deal those situations should they arise or atleast that you navigate different situations no matter how limited the information is.

Clarity questions

Candidates tend to get intimated when interviewers ask clarity questions, as they feel as if it is a sign that they could not articulate themselves. However, these are just follow-up questions to ensure that they understood your point or if there is another way you could possibly explain something.

It is also acceptable for you to ask the interviewer clarity questions if you did not fully understand some of their questions. Some interviewers use industry jargon or words that you are not familiar with; feel free to ask them to explain or put it differently to you. That way, you increase your chances of giving a more appropriate answer than you would by trying to act smart though you had no clue what you were asked.

Candidate questions

After the interviewers conclude with their questions, they normally ask you if you have any questions. If you do not have questions – it is ok. But try to do some research prior the interview and ask a few questions, even if they are structural questions. Candidates usually default to questions like: ‘when will I hear from you?’ or ‘when do you want the person to start?’. They will contact you in due time, and when they make you an offer, they will ask you about your notice period.  So, these questions are not necessary.  Ask something related to the job, environment, company, or its culture. This also demonstrates that you have taken a real interest in both the company and position. You can even go back to some of the questions they asked you to establish if those case study questions were real. That way, you give yourself another opportunity to end it on a high note and make intellectual concluding remarks.

Just as Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. When you are prepared, even a multiple phase interview feels like a walk in the park.

1 Comment

  • Posted September 22, 2020 by Lebo 0Likes

    Nice one

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