How to prepare your job interview

Increase your chances with good preparation

Being accepted for an interview is the first success of your placement application. The employer has gone through your letter and CV, and he/she is interested to know more about yourself and your skills. There have been numerous publications written on how to prepare before and behave during a job or placement interview, however Europlacement will describe you the most relevant ones as follows.

Traditional Interview Questions & Answers
First interviews seek to screen out less qualified candidates rather than to find someone to hire. The following questions frequently come up at interviews. Do some unpressured thinking before the interview so that you’ll be able to come up with answers that are responsive, honest, and paint a good picture of you. Choose answers that fit your qualifications and your interview strategy.

  1. Tell me about yourself.
    Don’t launch into an autobiography. Instead, state the things about yourself that you want the interviewer to know. Give specifics to prove each of your strengths.
  2. What makes you think you’re qualified to work for this company? Or, I’m interviewing 120 people for two jobs. Why should I hire you?
    This question may feel like an attack. Use it as an opportunity to state your strong points: your qualifications for the job, the things that separate you from other applicants.
  3. What two or three accomplishments have given you the greatest satisfaction?
    Pick accomplishments that you’re proud of, that create the image you want to project, and that enable you to share one of the things you want the interviewer to know about you. Focus not just on the end result, but on the problem-solving and thinking skills that made the achievement possible.
  4. Why do you want to work for us? What is your ideal job?
    Make sure you have a good answer – preferably two or three reasons you’d like to work for that company. If you’re interested in this company, do some research so that what you ask for is in the general ballpark of the kind of work the company offers.
  5. What college subjects did you like best and least? Why?
    This question may be an icebreaker; it may be designed to discover the kind of applicant they’re looking for. If your favourite class was something outside your major, prepare an answer that shows that you have qualities that can help you in the job you’re applying for.
  6. What is your class rank? Your grade point? Why are your grades so low?
    If your grades aren’t great, be ready with a nondefensive explanation. If possible, show that the cause of low grades now has been solved or isn’t relevant tot the job you’re applying for.
  7. What have you read recently? What movies have you seen recently?
    The questions may be icebreakers; they may be designed to probe your intellectual depth.
  8. Show me some samples of your writing.
    Many jobs require the ability to write well. Employers no longer take mastery of basic English for granted, even if the applicant had a degree from a prestigious university. The year you’re interviewing, go through your old papers and select the best ones, retyping them if necessary, so that you’ll have samples if you’re asked for them. If you don’t have samples at the interview, mail them to the interviewer immediately after the interview.
  9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
    Employers ask this questions to find out if you are a self-starter or if you passively respond to what happens. You may want to have several scenarios for five years from now to use in different kinds of interviews. Or you may want to say, “Well, my goals may change as opportunities arise. But right now, I want to … .”
  10. What are your interests outside work? What campus or community activities have you been involved in?
    While it’s desirable to be well-rounded, naming 10 interests is a mistake: the interviewer may wonder when you’ll have time to work. If you mention your fiancé, spouse, or children in response to this question (“Well, my fiancé and I like to go sailing”), it is perfectly legal for the interviewer to ask follow-up questions (“What would you do if your spouse got a job offer in another town?”), even though the same question would be illegal if the interviewer brought up the subject first.
  11. What have you done to learn about this company?
    This question may also be used to see how active a role you’re taking in the job search process and how interested you are in this job.
  12. What adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
    Use only positive ones. Be ready to illustrate each with a specific example of something you’ve done.
  13. What is your greatest strength?
    Employers ask this question to give you a chance to sell yourself and to learn something about your values. Pick a strength related to work, school, or activities. Be ready to illustrate each with a specific example of something you’ve done.
  14. What is your greatest weakness?
    Use a work-related negative, even if something in your personal life really is your greatest weakness.

Extra Tips
Develop an overall strategy based on your answers to these three questions:

  1. What about yourself do you want the interviewer to know?
    Pick two to five points that represent your strengths for that particular job. The facts may be achievement, character traits (such ad enthusiasm), experiences that qualify you for the job and separate you from other applicants, the fact that you really want to work for this company, and so on. For each strength, think of a specific action or accomplishment to support it. For example, be ready to give an example to prove that you’re hardworking. Be ready to show how you helped an organization save money or serve customers better.
  2. What disadvantages or weaknesses do you need to minimize?
    Expect that you may be asked to explain weaknesses or apparent weaknesses in your record: age, sex, physical disabilities, lack of experience, so-so grades, and gaps in your record. Plan how to deal with these issues if the arise.
  3. What do you need to know about the job and the organization to decide whether or not you want to accept this job if it’s offered to you?
    Plan in advance the criteria on which you will base your decision (you can always change the criteria).

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