An interview is a two-way information exchange. In an interview, the interviewer wants to evaluate you as a potential employee to have a deeper understanding about your professional and personal qualifications. An interview also gives you the opportunity to obtain information about the job description, the employer’s potential, line of business, and future plans.
How to Prepare for an Interview:
Get to know yourself:Try to get to know and express yourself thoroughly before the interview. This will give you an opportunity to offer the employer/interviewer a better and more accurate representation of your personal and professional qualifications and skills. We recommend that you review your resume and rehearse your answers to the question “Could you please tell us a bit of yourself?” You may start answering the sample questions below to get to know yourself:
What are my strengths and areas for development?
What makes me fit for the company or the position?
What are my professional goals and objectives?
What are my professional qualifications?
Do I have the necessary experience for the position?
Get to know the company: During the interview, you must convince the company that you did your research and you are well-informed about both the position and the company. Giving a few examples to show your level of knowledge will not only make sure you will have a positive feedback but also will demonstrate the interviewer that you are interested in the position. It is paramount that you go to the interview well-prepared. To achieve this, browse through the Internet and search about the company’s background, mission, market position, competitors, main services, latest developments and as well as any recent news about the company. It is recommended that you note down the questions you wish to ask and bring your notes with you to the interview. It is also a good idea to bring a copy of your resume with you.
Presenting a professional image through what you wear is paramount to make a positive impact during an interview. Therefore, male or female, all candidates must prefer suits, and must look clean/presentable. Casual/athletic clothes or shoes are not appropriate for these type of professional settings.
You should arrive on time for your interview. You should check the interview location and address prior to the interview. You should save the employer’s telephone number in case you may need to call and let them know that you will be running late.
You should learn your interviewer’s name and position.
During the Interview:
Shake the interviewer’s hand and smile to make a positive start to your interview.
Make eye contact when you speak.
Be honest and if you do not have an answer to the question asked, do not hesitate to say “I don’t know”.
Emphasize your desire to work for the position or the company but do not exaggerate it.
Give logical answers and provide examples.
Sample Interview Questions:
Could you please tell us a bit of yourself?
Have you had another internship or work experience while studying at university?
Why did you choose the academic program you studied? Why did you choose this University?
What are your favorite courses? (This may be followed by a GPA question)
Please tell us a bit about the projects you developed at university.
Please tell us a bit about social events and club activities you have attended at university. You may also be asked to give a few examples about your roles and responsibilities in these events and activities.
What are your hobbies?
Your foreign language knowledge, computer skills, and other qualifications (i.e. relevant training and seminars you have attended)
Why do you want to work at this company/position?
Qualification/Competency -Based Questions:
What are your strengths?
Good writing and communication skills: You should provide examples to demonstrate how you have gained these skills. For instance, you may talk about how you wrote an article or a thesis project using your communication skills or how you managed an event using your event management skills.
An example about how you motivated your team as a team leader and led them to success
An example about how to use effective communication and management skills in an organization with vertical and horizontal management levels.
What your areas for development or what skills do you want to develop? (Here you are expected to give a negative quality of yours, which is in fact a positive quality)
I have difficulty in working with people who are less ambitious or who take less ownership of their work, but I am able to tackle this problem through motivating them.
I want to develop my technical skills such as excel (this is an area for development which will not be seen as a negative quality because it can be eliminated through training and practice)
I ask too many questions in the projects I am assigned with in order to see the big picture
What are the most important qualities you look for in a position or an employer?
Being given responsibilities in projects that would make an impact on the decision-making mechanisms
A work environment that supports the professional development of employees (training programs, talent development centers etc)
Giving me the full responsibility of a new business (i.e. recruitment, education, development, implementing a business plan)
How do you set and organize your priorities? (You can develop a model for prioritization)
Urgent and important
Important but not urgent
Urgent but not important
Urgent and not important
If you are asked to give an example about a specific period of time just like in the following questions, you may use the STAR technique to tell your story.
Prior to the interview, think about stories about your previous experiences that you can offer as a testimony of your professional skills,
S.T.A.R is a highly effective technique to tell your stories and experiences.
Tell each story in the following order:
S=Situation: A specific situation that addresses a specific problem or issue (You should summarize the problem and the situation by explaining your position in this situation, where this situation took place (at university, at work) and why it occurred.)
T=Task: Tasks affiliated with this situation, the desired objectives (How did you develop a plan? Research, analysis, consulting etc.)
A=Action Actions you took to respond to the situation or achieve the goals (What steps did you take to implement your plan?)
R=Result Results you achieved as a result of your actions (What was the outcome? If possible, provide measurable outcomes.)
Please give us an example of how you have overcome a challenging case or situation.
How did you tackle a communication problem you had at university or at your previous employers?
Please give us a successful team work example.
Out of the projects you planned last year, how many have your completed? How many of them were successful? Please specify.
Have you ever had to make a fast decision? What was the outcome?
Have you ever made a wrong decision? When? What was the outcome?
Have you ever developed a new business plan? How did you develop it? How did you execute it?
Questions about the position applied: What would be your sales strategy? (A similar question may also be posed for marketing or brand management)
Planning: Setting the target, identifying the required strategy and tactics to achieve the target, competitive advantages, budget forecast
Execution: Giving priority to change when making plans, evaluating operational goals, motivating the team, conducting periodic reviews, being flexible and adapting quickly to changing dynamics when necessary
What are the key sales management skills?
Of course, not all of the questions above will be asked in a interview. However, if you rehearse your answers to these questions, you will feel more confident and prepared in your interview. (customized answers to anticipated questions) If you work on these questions and prepare your answers prior to the interview, you will be able to stay calm and offer effective answers during your interview. Also, you can ask questions to the interviewer about anything you want to clarify. For instance, your roles and responsibilities during the internship, your direct reports etc.
You may be asked to complete an application form prior to the interview. That is why it is always a good idea to keep a copy of your resume, the contact details of your reference, and 1 headshot photo.