One of the biggest failings of education systems around the world is the lack of preparation for job interviews. This applies throughout the world. You can find people in just about every country with decent tertiary education institutions working in jobs well below their skill set for this very reason. Someone with a law degree who knows nothing about how to prepare for interviews can easily end up working in a call center.
This reality most significantly impacts people from low-income backgrounds. After all, they have not grown up with parents who had interview skills and know-how to pass on. However, it is not limited to this demographic and can be a roadblock for any college graduate.
There are tons of articles with advice as to how to conduct yourself during an interview. But the interview itself is only part of the process. There are steps you should take before and after any job interview.
One thing you can do in order to differentiate yourself from other candidates, depending on your profession, is to create your own business profile. This is easy to do with a personal website template that many website builders provide at an affordable cost or even free of charge. This asset is perfect for people seeking opportunities to showcase themselves in a more visual way in order to stand out prior to the interview process.
Besides how you can create a business profile to help with your initial self presentation, it is also best to prepare yourself for the sometimes rigorous interview process. Therefore, we have collected 4 main things you should do before a job interview, as well as what you need to do once it is over.
Before The Interview
1. Research, Research, Research
Research is the single most useful step you can take before a job interview. Why? By researching the company, you find out exactly what they want and can align yourself with their goals. If they can see that you are on board with their expectations and culture, they are more likely to take you seriously as a candidate.
It is also incredibly important to research the industry. For people who have specialized in an industry, this point may not be relevant. However, most career paths give you access to a variety of industries, and each industry has its own context that it is crucial to understand.
It is understandable that candidates do not do enough research. You may be preparing for a number of interviews and feel pressed for time. But this is not something that should be pushed to the bottom of your list. It is a major priority.
2. Sell Yourself To Yourself
You have already sent your resumé and given references from your college supervisors or your previous employers. But when you are in the interview, the interviewer will want to hear about your goals, achievements, and skills directly from you. This is not about getting a comprehensive list of points you have prepared. Rather, they are looking for how you see yourself.
It is therefore more important to be able to sell yourself to yourself than to have a memorized list of bullet points. Ask yourself what you really want. Think about the capabilities you have that you value in yourself. Once you have done this, you can sell yourself to a potential employer with the confidence they are watching for.
3. Prepare Your Own Questions
Some employers want employees to do exactly what they say and nothing more. However, most employers want their employees to think for themselves. Therefore, when they ask you if you have any questions, they want to see that you are actually thinking about yourself in the position.
Prepare questions for them, based on things you actually care about. What is the workplace culture like? Who will you report to? There are many more potential questions to ask.
Finally, it is crucial that you actually practice for interviews. Interviews are intimidating no matter how confident you are. It is all too easy to walk in and immediately forget all your preparations. By practicing with a mentor who you trust to give you honest feedback, you place yourself in the best position to succeed.
After The Interview
Preparing for the interview and going through the interview itself are the most important parts of the process. But it does not end there. You can do some things after the interview to increase your chances of getting a job.
1. Send a Thank You
This is not just a reminder that you exist. By personalizing your thank you note depending on the company, you reinforce the sense that you actually care about this position.
2. Reflect On Your Performance
Even before hearing whether or not you got the job, it is worthwhile reflecting on how you did. At this point, the interview is fresh in your mind. Go through the main points and think about what you like and what you don’t like about your answers and the questions you asked. Don’t overthink it, though, as there is no sureproof way of knowing the impression you made.
3. Follow Up
Only follow up if they haven’t contacted you in the specified timeline. This does not necessarily mean you have been rejected. They may simply be running behind themselves. Follow up with a professional email or phone call, and only do so once.
4. Take Time to Think About Job Offers
Whether they offer you a job on the spot (which is rare) or send you a job offer a while later, you should not accept immediately. A job offer is a negotiation. It is useful getting familiar with job offer negotiation skills.
The above tips should help you through the interview process, from creating a great first impression with the help of a personal profile and until the end of the interview process. Each stage is important, but preparation is crucial and involves more than psyching yourself up.