Congratulations, you’ve managed to land a job interview with the recruiter. And now? Now you need to have a perfect interview to get your chances of being hired and getting the job you want to fly.
You can go to the interview and improvise, which is unlikely to get you the job of your dreams. Or you can prepare yourself and have a flawless and memorable job interview.
Now that you have the opportunity to take the interview, your ability to communicate with the interlocutor (recruiter, function manager, manager, entrepreneur or their assistant) and to distinguish yourself from other candidates are more important than the qualifications listed in your curriculum.
Making an interview that leaves its mark is a science and an art at the same time, and for this, it requires good preparation and the ability to be comfortable in front of the recruiter. Only with adequate preparation for this delicate phase will you be confident when you need to value your story, and explain (implicitly, or even explicitly) why you are a good match, if not the best, for that job.
The selection process can be divided into three main phases: the phase preceding the job interview, in which you prepare yourself and do research on the company, the phase of the job interview with the recruiter, and the follow-up phase after the interview.
In this article, I’ll summarize the most important actions to take before, during and after your interview to increase your chances of getting the job you want!
What to do before the job interview
Do detailed research on the company and the recruiter
After being contacted for the interview, your first thoughts should be on studying the company. Collect as much information as possible about how the company is positioned in its sector, how it is structured, who are the managers and executives you will refer to, it will be essential to sustain a successful interview.
The recruiter will not expect you to know secrets and strategic plans, but will be impressed to see that you understand the characteristics of the environment in which you may find yourself spending a lot of your time, and why you think you can feel good in that context . So get ready to answer questions like “What do you know about the company” and “Why do you want to work here?”.
Knowing the organization’s performance (for example turnover, number of employees, type of products or services offered, markets in which it operates, etc.) will allow you to explain more effectively and credibly why you can and want to be part of it, and what value you can bring to the company.
Before the interview, visit the corporate website. Then find the profiles of people who work for that company, and if you find it useful, integrate with the information you can get through social channels. The more information you have, the more comfortable you will feel when communicating with a recruiter.
Use any of your contacts to acquire information and “scoop”
If you know someone who works in the company or who can put you in contact with a current or previous employee, you can collect truthful and detailed information; which will give you a great advantage over other candidates.
Learn as much as you can. This will not only give you a clearer perception of the environment in which you might work, but it will also help you prepare the right questions for the recruiter, and your answers to his.
Take the time to practice
Practice makes you perfect (or at least makes you better). Practicing for the interview, even with a friend, family member or your partner, is essential to arrive ready and confident in front of the recruiter. You can also record your responses, so you can listen to them and review some of them.
Prepare answers to frequently asked questions so you can remember your background, qualifications, and organize your speech without hesitation without missing important information on the way. You don’t have to learn the answers by heart, but having a clear idea of what you want to say will allow you to give a complete and confident answer.
Improvisation during a job interview is never a good idea. Not only would you not convince the recruiter, but your answers would not be effective and detailed because you have not prepared yourself enough. A couple of hours of preparation is the bare minimum to get ready for the interview.
Here’s how you should use your time:
- Reread the job offer several times, focusing on the requirements and responsibilities of the role
- Reread your resume and your cover letter to review how you presented yourself to the company and to ensure that what you wrote matches what you will say during the interview
- Look for the most frequent interview questions, so you know what awaits you at the interview
- Practice the answers you will give the recruiter, remembering significant episodes in your previous work experiences, challenges, achievements
- Research the company, history, mission, the most recent projects and the people who work there
Consider the requirements for the position offered
Read the job advertisement several times to better understand what qualifications the recruiter is looking for and to which he attaches a lot of weight to find the right candidate. In other words, be aware of which of your work experience, skills and achievements you will need to pull off during the job interview to impress the recruiter.
If you are in contact with a person within the company, this is the perfect time to chat with him / her to learn the details of the selection process and the people you will be interviewed by.
Be prepared for questions about your personality and your “attitude”
In addition to the standard questions about your training, experiences, motivation and interests, the recruiter may ask you a series of questions to gather clues about your personality, attitude and approach to work.
For many recruiters, the candidate’s previous performance (what you did and how you did it) is the best indicator of how they will perform in the future. The behavioral questions focus on how you handled certain situations in previous jobs.
To prepare yourself for this type of question, make a list of your skills, values, interests, strengths and weaknesses and for each of these elements think about a situation in which you have used this. your quality or characteristic. When you are called to answer the behavioral questions you can describe these episodes explaining how you handled the situation.
Prepare questions to ask the recruiter
A job interview is always two-way. Don’t just be focused on the answers to give, but ask the interviewer questions yourself! Prepare a list of questions to help you understand if the work environment, the tasks, the responsibilities that will be assigned to you are the ideal ones for you.
Also, remember to ask some specific questions about the company, based on the research you have done. This will show the recruiter that you have a real interest in the position and that you have done all the research thoroughly.
What to do during the job interview
Take out a notepad
I admit, it’s pretty unusual. But if it makes you feel at ease, bring a notepad with possibly some notes already pinned before the interview. You will get the recruiter to find you interested in the position you have applied for, and at the same time prepared for your interview.
Think before you speak
A well thought out answer is much better than a hasty answer. I want to tell you again: a well thought out answer is much better than a hasty answer.
It’s not ideal to sit embalmed for too long thinking about the answer to give. It’s okay to take a few seconds to think about what to say, but don’t take it too long and avoid the “ums” and “ums”. A trick to take time without attracting attention is to repeat aloud the question the recruiter asked you, or use a phrase such as “interesting question” or “good question.” No one had ever asked me before; leave me a second to think about it ”. Then articulate your answer.
The three “Cs”. Speak Clear, Concise and Calm
Nerves, and of course the urge to give as much information as possible, can push you to speak at 500 words a minute. However, speaking quickly can make you appear anxious, rushed, and agitated. If this happens to you, make an effort to slow down the pace of your speeches: listen to yourself and reach an adequate speed to be clear and casual.
Be confident, but not arrogant
Even if you’re eager to proudly display your qualifications, achievements and achievements, make sure you don’t do it in an arrogant and conceited way. It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job: find a way appropriate to the situation and context that allows you to show confidence without falling into self-referentiality, and make sure you give credit to others when they are due.
Listen to the selector
Everyone is able to nod and smile while listening to someone else speak, but how often do people really listen? Job interviews are tricky because, having to mentally prepare an effective answer in a split second, you have to listen to the interviewer’s questions very carefully.
If you don’t pay your full attention and what the recruiter tells you, you will lose focus on the question and the result will be an inconsistent, weak, or even wrong answer.
Stay focused and don’t get off topic. Being prepared for the interview is a necessary but not sufficient condition to avoid building ineffective answers on the spot. Responding adequately and “winning” in fact depends on your ability to listen carefully to what you are told.
Show optimism and enthusiasm, with your words and with your body
No company wants to hire someone with no enthusiasm for what they do, and a bad temper. No matter how tough your current situation is, don’t bring negativity into the recruiter’s office: don’t speak ill of your previous employer or the companies you worked for, and don’t complain about your personal circumstances.
Furthermore, many candidates are so upset during the job interview that they forget to express interest in the position offered and just list their experiences and skills.
In the situation where you and another candidate have the same qualifications and a similar career path, what makes the difference between you two is the passion, determination and real interest in the proposed job opportunity.
Be spontaneous, and express your experiences under a lens of optimism. For example, if you have to talk about challenging episodes, remember to mention what you learned that made you a better / more competent, more confident employee.
Body language plays as important a part as your words: walk into the office with a smile, offer a solid handshake, sit composedly and lean slightly forward – towards the recruiter – to show interest in conversation. Instead, avoid crossed arms which, on the contrary, communicate closeness and shyness.
Show interest, without despair
Sometimes, to find the right attitude, it’s helpful to think of a job interview as a first date. An air of disinterest, boredom, apathy, will make the recruiter run away, as well as excessive enthusiasm and availability, will make you think that you are desperate and ready to accept a job that, as soon as you get it, you will try to change.
No matter how much you want or need that job, a pleading or pleading air automatically excludes you from the shortlist. Try to show genuine interest in that position, and a passion for the work you do. Keep in mind that you are a valuable asset to the company!
Get ready to go beyond your “elevator pitch”
At the beginning of the interview, when the recruiter asks you to talk to him about yourself, you will have to make a short and effective “elevator pitch”, or (literally) a presentation lasting the same as a trip in the lift of a skyscraper.
However, you will need to be able to adequately go into detail about your experiences, because the recruiter will most likely ask you questions to delve into the topics you mentioned, and you may also find yourself in the situation of answering uncomfortable questions. or that require very meticulous answers.
Prepare for awkward questions
It may happen that the recruiter tries to catch you with a trick question like “Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?” and “Tell me about a situation where a colleague had no feeling with you”.
In these cases, you will need to be able to respond positively, pointing out what these situations have taught you, how they have made you better and more mature.
Conclusion of the interview
Express your gratitude
Don’t underestimate the importance of saying thank you to the recruiter. As soon as you have finished the interview, thank the recruiter for the time he has dedicated to you and for the opportunity to learn more about the position. Always remember your manners.
Follow up after the interview
Even if you have finished the job interview, the recruitment process is not finished. The follow-up can be a direct email to the recruiter (I recommend a few hours after the interview). An opportunity to thank the recruiter again for the time he has dedicated to you and for the opportunity, and a way to renew your interest in the position offered.
How to find out the result of the interview
In some cases, you can know immediately if the selection interview went well or not. The moment the recruiter starts talking about the position, you may realize that the position is not in line with your aspirations or is not what you expected. Or you may feel that there is no understanding between you and the recruiter. Or again, you may find that you are not suitable for that job.
It is not always easy to deduce the progress of the interview, but you can observe some signs that tell you if the job interview is going or has gone in the right way. For example, if the selector:
- asks you questions about your interest in the position, it means that you are investigating the possibility of accepting the job offer, if this is proposed to you
- explains in detail what your duties and responsibilities will be and comes back to this topic several times, it means that he wants to make sure that you know exactly what will compete with you once you are hired, and that the position is right for you
- seems to agree with you on the things you say, or if during the interview, by carefully observing the recruiter, you realize that he expresses several times (with participation) agreement with your particular statements and evaluations
The fact that any or all of these conditions occur is to be read as positive evidence.
The Latest tips
Punctuality and patrol
It is essential that you are on time for the interview. Punctual means 10 minutes early. If you do not know exactly where the workplace is, I recommend that you do an inspection in the previous days, so you will know how long you need to reach it, if it is easily accessible by public transport, or if there are parking lots nearby.
If you run into unexpected events that you could have avoided, and you are late, you will certainly be a lot more upset than usual when you show up for the interview. Also, this won’t help you make a good first impression – you run the risk of the recruiter considering you unreliable and disrespectful.
Be careful how you dress
The first impression at a job interview is essential, and the look you choose to wear will play an essential role in making you look good. So, dress appropriately for the work environment. The interview is a situation in which “the habit makes the monk”.
You can dress more casually for startup job interviews, or where the work environment is less formal. However, even if these are places where no one has ever heard of “dress code”, don’t dress sloppy and uncared for. In general, it is a good idea for job interviews to dress slightly better than you would dress on a normal working day at the new company. You need to feel comfortable!
Take a positive attitude
Pretend that the job interview begins the moment you wake up and, based on this, treat all the people you meet as if they were part of the selection process.
During the interview, be confident but not arrogant. Listen to the interviewer well and when you answer, be positive and focused: don’t digress, stay on topic on the topics you are asked. Ask the recruiter the right questions you need to figure out if that position and job might really be right for you.
Don’t just focus on the recruiter
Remember that it’s not just the recruiter who decides whether you will be hired or not. Be polite and respectful with anyone you meet from the moment you enter the office to the moment you leave. The people you meet may be your future colleagues, so try to make a good impression on them too.
What to take with you to the interview
Always carry a copy of your resume with you, a list of references if you have them, and any other documents that relate to your projects or other that you think are useful to show to the recruiter. You can also write down the questions you want to ask the recruiter on a notebook, and bringing a pen and paper to write down some information is certainly a good idea.
It is also important to know what not to bring to an interview with the recruiter. Don’t show up with clothes or accessories that make you uncomfortable, with chewing gum in your mouth, or anything else you don’t really need. Turn off the sound on your phone and put it in your bag.
Keep calm, drive away from stress
If you feel anxious before the interview, go to the toilet, wash your hands and dry them so that they are not sweaty or sticky. Take some deep breaths, and tell yourself that you have prepared yourself right, join my free video course and everything will be fine.
During the interview, stay calm. If you don’t understand the question that is being asked or you are not sure what the recruiter wants to know exactly, ask for clarification; it is normal to take a moment to formulate the answer so that it is as complete as possible.
Preparation is essential to reduce stress: the more prepared you are about company and your responses, the greater your ability to manage anxiety and stress. However, if you should have the impression that the interview did not go well a) it is not the end of the world, b) you may have a chance to make up for it and c) follow up.
Interviews in unconventional environments
You need to be ready for any kind of selection interview. As you know, job interviews do not necessarily take place in the company or at the headquarters of the recruiting company.
Today it is very common to go for a preliminary interview by phone or video. For both of you, first of all, make sure that you are in a quiet environment, at a time when you know you won’t be interrupted or disturbed. Test to see if the audio and internet work, so as not to have technical problems during the interview. And take care of the light, which in this situation will play a fundamental role in making your image pleasant.
It may happen that the recruiter offers you a job interview in the form of breakfast, lunch or dinner. In this case, review the appropriate manners for these situations: arrive at the restaurant a few minutes before the scheduled time and expect the recruiter to pay the bill. Search online for the venue and make sure you have the appropriate outfit. If you want to be extremely careful, you could take a look at the menu to find out what to order and when the time comes, do not order courses that are too complex to consume.
Having a job interview over a cup of coffee is much less formal, but it’s a good way for the recruiter to get to know the candidate and see how they behave in more informal contexts. Don’t let your guard down and always remember that the recruiter is evaluating you.
The telephone interview
To be successful in a phone interview, prepare what you need before you get the call. Make sure you have a quiet, distraction-free environment. Not only will this help you be more focused and effective, but it will allow the recruiter to have a pleasant chat. If you find yourself in a noisy environment this will suggest that you didn’t really care about that moment.
Despite your phone, you need to show enthusiasm and confidence. It could help you, during the interview, to stand up and move back and forth in the room, gesturing as if you were giving a presentation. They are great ways to keep your energy level high and to show your positivity and participation through your tone of voice.
One of the most beneficial things about the phone interview is that you can keep your notes in front of you! Then create a list with the important points you want to touch on, keep an eye on your resume to remember what you mentioned, and prepare the list of questions you will ask the recruiter.
The downside to a telephone interview is that it is much more difficult to understand what the recruiter is thinking on the other side: you cannot read his body language, his expressions. For this, from time to time after answering his questions, you may try to check your answers by saying “I hope I have answered fully” or “Did I answer your question?” and so on.
Finally, make it clear in your head that a telephone interview is the same as any other job interview! So, even in this case, be prepared to answer possible questions and remember to send a short thank you email once the phone call is over.
Opportunity for an interview with managers or executives
If an executive conducts the job interview it may mean that the position you are applying for is an important senior role, or that the company is very small or a startup and the executives want to meet any new figure joining the company.
Any little information can turn into a big advantage. For example, you could find out what they emphasize in terms of skills or attitudes, so that you can underline your characteristics or experiences to which he is particularly sensitive.