How to enjoy and have fun during an interview process
If you ever looked for a job, you had most likely gone through at least one if not more job interviews. To most people job interview is the experience that they are not comfortable talking about unless the experience was positive and resulted in them receiving a job offer. However, in most cases people interviews as very difficult, uncomfortable, and scary experience. Why is that the case? Why many of us view interviews a frightening experience and not something to look forward to? Shouldn’t interview experience be fun and interesting while maintaining its level of necessary complexity and challenge? You are probably thinking – How is that possible? How can interview experience be possibly fun? Well, based on my personal experience and having to go through many interviews myself as well as conducting them, I believe that interviews can be very interesting, challenging, and fun. However, in order for us to begin viewing interviews in a such way, we must take necessary and I would go even further to say required steps to prepare, in order to create an experience that we would enjoy vs. run away from.
What steps we can and should strongly consider taking to prepare for an effective job interview?
Step 1 – Do your research about the company for which you are interviewing. What is important to the company in question and why it matters?
How can anyone expect to do well on the job interview if they don’t have a very good understanding about the company? This should be the very first item on your research To Do List. Easiest way to conduct your research is online, and typically the best place to start is which company’s website.
Things that you should be looking for are:
· Company’s mission
· Goals and Objectives
· Product and Services
· Financial objectives and historical business performance
· Future business aspirations
· Social responsibility goals and contributions
This is certainly not an all-inclusive list of things to look for and have a very good understanding of company’s operations, but it is a good basic foundation of the business before proceeding to the next step in the interview preparation process.
Step 2 – Answering a very important question – What’s In It For Them? In other words, why should they hire you vs. many other candidates for the same role?
This is not just about your personal qualities, skills, abilities, or previous experience, it’s about you helping to solve a particular problem that this company may be looking to solve or finding a way to improve or enhance an existing business process which focus on operational efficiency, innovation, and revenue. Of course, you would not know business goals and objectives unless you do a very thorough research outlined in step 1. Therefore, it’s important to come with some ideas and specific proposals to show interviewer that you’ve done your research of their business and have ideas and/or recommendations on how to help the business to achieve specific goals and objectives. To go even further, it’s good to have an idea of what you may do in the first 30 to 90 days to help moving the business forward, if hired, while always keeping in mind things that are important to a business and how you can help.
Step 3 – Knowing enough about the company in order to ask good questions during and after the interview.
If/when you come to an interview and do not have at least 2-3 good questions to ask interviewer at the end of the interview, this could be a signal to the interviewer that you are unprepared, or that you are not really interested in their business. I don’t mean a typical question such as: “When should I expect to hear from you?” or “What is the next step in the interview process?”, I mean specific question related to company’s goals, objectives, new initiatives, or products and/or services. This is your opportunity to create engagement and learn more about the business from a representative of the company. You may not have an opportunity to ask more than 1-2 questions or interviewer may not give you an opportunity to ask any questions, but it’s always good to come prepared.
Step 4 – Pay very close attention to the questions you are being asked during an interview.
Don’t think about the question you may be asked next, instead be present, listen carefully, do not interrupt interviewer, understand the question before responding. Some of us can be so nervous during an interview that instead of focusing on a person in persons in front of us and questions that are being asked, we are thinking more about what question may be coming next, missing entire interview experience and allowing our mind to wonder somewhere else vs. being focused on the present and on the questions asked. You want to be present in the conversation at all times and add value to the interaction and dialogue vs. being an ‘answering machine.’ How many of us like to speak to an ‘answering machine?’ I would guess, not many. Right?
Step 5 – It’s good to have at least one good example for each of your answers.
We may have provided the answer to the immediate question asked, but do we really know what we are talking about? That may be the question that interviewer is thinking about in their mind after receiving an answer to their initial question. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable and confident with the answer received if that answer was followed up with a quick and concise example, perhaps from your own personal example or an example of someone you may know? I would. Now, you may not always be able to provide an example or sharing an example may not be appropriate after a specific question & answer, this is where observing interviewer’s non-verbal language becomes very important. For example, are they leaning in towards you, possibly wanting to know more or leaning back on their chair likely displaying satisfaction with the answer received. Do you observe a questioning facial expression of the interviewer after providing your answer, or is interviewer nodding in agreement and understanding? These are just some of the non-verbal cues that we want to pay attention to during an interview, and that is why it is very important to pay close attention to the person in front of you and their verbal and non-verbal cues, as highlighted in step 4.
Step 6 – Dress for success and arrive to your interview early.
You never know what surprises you may run into on your way to an interview, such as: traffic, car troubles, etc., or parking difficulties upon arriving. You definitely to not want to be late to your interview, that is why it’s good to give yourself plenty of time for “what if” situations you may encounter.
Dress code is a very important part of an interview process. Even if someone told you that it is acceptable to show up to an interview wearing casual clothes, it’s best to be safe than sorry and take it to the next level and wear business casual at a minimum. If the expectation is business casual, I would take it to the next level and wear a suit. Why? Because, you want to feel comfortable and confident during an interview, knowing tat your dress code is not just meeting but exceeding expectations, and you can focus your attention on the questions asked during an interview vs. worrying if wearing shorts was ok.
Understanding and use of six steps discussed earlier is what I believe creates an enjoyable and fun interview experience both for the person being interviewed and the interviewer. When you are prepared and confident in your answers there should be nothing short of enjoyable and interesting interview dialogue for all involved.
I hope you enjoyed reading this module as much as I enjoyed writing it, and hope that you found it to be very useful for you or someone else that you may know. Please feel free to share this post if you know someone who may benefit from reading it same way you did