After writing a great CV and cover letter and searching high and low for the right position, you’ve finally landed a job interview. Fantastic! An interview is an opportunity to show recruiters who you are and prove that you have what it takes to do the job well.
Of course, landing the interview doesn’t guarantee you the job. You need to make a good impression to maximize your chances of being hired.
In this article, our recruiters offer their best tips for preparing for an interview.
Anticipate the questions recruiters might ask and prepare your answers
When preparing for a job interview, the first step is to anticipate the questions you might be asked and come up with great answers. Recruiters tend to ask questions that will tell them more about your experience, motivations and interests, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the topics that are likely to be discussed during the interview.
Here are a few examples of common questions recruiters ask during interviews and good ways to answer them.
“Why do you want this job?”
This classic interview question gives recruiters the chance to find out more about your interest in the position and what motivated you to apply.
The best way to answer this question is to be honest. Just describe your reasons for applying—maybe the position would be a step in the right direction for your career, or perhaps you like the company’s values and want to work for them because of that. Think about what drew you to the job posting and why you took the time to apply.
“Why did you leave your previous job?”
When answering this question, it’s best to be vague and avoid going into too much detail, especially anything that might show you in a bad light. You should also avoid saying anything negative about your previous employers, because recruiters might take that as a sign that you will talk about their company the same way.
“What are your greatest strengths as an employee?”
Before the interview, take another look at the job posting and ask yourself which of your skills and aptitudes make you a great fit for the position. These are the strengths you should highlight in the interview.
“What weaknesses do you want to work on?”
When answering this question, think about aspects of your personality that you would like to improve and explain to recruiters how you plan to accomplish that. For example, you could say that you tend to put a lot of pressure on yourself, but you have tools to help you rationalize things and improve your productivity.
Avoid using the cliché of flaws that are actually positive qualities, like saying you’re “too punctual” or “too thorough”.
“What do you know about our company?”
Recruiters use this question to find out how well you’ve prepared for the interview. A motivated, well-prepared candidate will have researched the company beforehand. Read on to find out more about the importance of being well-informed about the company you’re applying to.
Do your research
During an interview, recruiters will assess your level of interest in the company as a whole as well as your interest in the position. Managers want to hire someone who will integrate well, share similar values and uphold the company’s image.
Before your job interview, take the time to find out about the company:
- The products or services offered
- Target market
- Fundamental values and/or mission
- Recent projects and achievements
If you are well-informed, recruiters will undoubtedly be impressed by your level of interest in the company and your chances of being called back for a second interview will increase considerably.
Memorize your CV and cover letter
Most people apply for many positions when job searching and adapt their CV and cover letter for each one. If you have used a variety of CVs and cover letters in your job search, it’s a good idea to look over the ones you sent to the company to ensure that you and the recruiter will be on the same page during the interview.
Recruiters are sure to ask about the information you provided in these documents. If you memorize them, you’ll have an easier time explaining your educational background, work experience, skills and aptitudes and the greatest achievements of your career.
How to make a good impression at an interview
In job interviews, first impressions count for a lot. The recruiter’s impression of you plays a major role in determining whether or not you get the job, so try to put your best foot forward when you go for your interview.
Here are a few tips to help you make a good impression on the day of the interview:
- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early to demonstrate your punctuality.
- Turn off your cell phone when you arrive.
- Wear clean, appropriate clothing.
- If you’re nervous, try doing some breathing exercises before the interview.
- When you meet the interviewers, stand up, greet them and shake their hands.
- Stay calm, listen carefully and take the time to think about your answers. Recruiters know that interviews are stressful and understand that you may need a few moments to craft an articulate response.
- Look your interviewers in the eye and answer them directly to demonstrate your confidence.
- Let your interviewers lead the discussion.
- At the end of the interview, you may be asked if you have any questions. Have a few questions ready and make a mental note of any that occur to you during the interview.
Documents to bring to the interview
There are important documents you may need during your job interview. Recruiters may not have the relevant documents on hand, so it’s a good idea to have them ready just in case.
Remember to print the following documents and bring them with you to the interview:
- Copies of your CV and cover letter for everyone who is at the interview (if you don’t know how many people will be there, 4 to 5 copies should be sufficient)
- A copy of any degrees or certificates that are required for the position
- Your portfolio, if applicable
- A list of your references and their contact information
- A pencil and paper to take note of any relevant information conveyed during the interview (the names of your interviewers, information about the next interview, etc.)
Fed Supply can help you find your dream job!
That concludes our list of tips for preparing for an interview. Job interviews can be stressful, but if you prepare properly, there’s no need to be nervous!
Fed Supply is a recruitment firm that specializes in supply chain, sales administration, procurement, import-export, and logistics and transportation. Every day, our expert consultants help professionals in the field take their careers to the next level by finding jobs that suit their needs.