Job Interviews; my best tips
My best tips when preparing for an interview
After applying for over 100 jobs and going through many rounds of interviews throughout my life, this article is dedicated to sharing my best tips when it comes to job interviews.
I noticed a habit I had was Googling what are common interview questions that will be asked when preparing for an interview. I often find the same old questions like what are your strengths and weaknesses, what time you worked in a team, a time when you own and took responsibility. What I have noticed when actually interviewing for companies is that they never ask these typical questions.
Preparing for Interview
Instead what I paid more attention to is first doing research on the specific company and the role I am trying to go for. If it is a large company, then do more research on the particular department and the type of work that will be done in that area. Basically, I studied the heck out of the job posting until I am confident in their expectation of me.
Next, I brainstorm and write down all the skills that I have and times in my past when I applied those skills related to that role and company. Personally for me, when I applied for a coding job, I reflected on all my coding projects that I have done, what I was trying to accomplish (concisely, if I had to describe in under 3 sentences), and what were the results — in terms numbers if possible (the number shows confidence).
Lastly, know yourself and show some character. I try not to be too serious and talk only about work all the time. If there was an opportunity to talk about a related topic aside from the interview to lighten it, I take it immediately. I try to slip in a few questions to get them talking about themselves in order to lighten the mood and turn it from them interviewing me in order more into a conversation. Once I come out of the interview feeling like it was a conversation with a friend, I knew I did well.
Day of Interview
During the day of the interview, make sure to show up. As silly as this sounds, make sure you’re prepared with how you dress (dress to impress). Often time in this digitally dominant era, everything will be most likely remote and the interview will be done online.
So make sure you have strong stable internet, quiet background, a microphone and a video camera are working. You do not want to be scrambling minutes before the interview to get this all sorted out.
It is okay if during the interview something unexpected happens like the internet going out or if there is loud noise. It happens to the best of us — just stay cool and collected and try to pick it back up where you left off. This is a key moment for the interviewer to see how you handle stressful situations.
Don’t worry if you are interviewing in a messy room because you can just blur the background. Companies will use Zoom, Google Meetings, and Skype (if old school). Just look up how to blur background video before the call or attend the call early and play with the feature.
Always Say Less Than Necessary
Powerful people know how to impress others by saying less. The more you say, the more likely it is that you will end up saying something foolish. As people are constantly trying to work out what others appear to be thinking, silence makes them feel uncomfortable. By controlling what you reveal, you can wield great power. After all, they are likely to fill in the silences you leave, revealing more information about their own intentions and weaknesses
This is Law #4 from the book The 48 Laws of Power. I highly recommend picking up this book to get some tips on appearing confident and powerful.
Remember these 3 things
The last 3 things I want to mention here is just to:
- be genuine,
- be personable,
- brag about yourself
Be yourself. Because if they don’t like you for being who you are, it is most likely not a good fit and you probably would not like working for them or the company.
Be personable and try to connect with the interviewer and talk about things outside of the interview. Make a positive comment about what they are wearing, what you noticed on the camera, and everyday things like hobbies.
Often time, even though you might have the skills and the right match, if they don’t like you as a person, it’s hard to get in. I remember I asked the person who interviewed me and they said that they knew I had the skills cause they saw it on my resume and the recruiter vetted me, they just want to see how to converse and my energy. They said, after speaking to me, they had more energy coming out of the call instead of dreading and being drained of energy. That was the deciding factor for them!
So be personable as much as possible but also be aware and strike a balance of showing off your talent and skills. I also didn’t want the interview just to be fun and personal stuff, have to strike a good balance between being liked and talking about work-related skills.
This blog is a part of a series on “Everything I Know About Money”. You are reading [Stage 2: Starting]: Job Hunting. You can find the full blog below: