Interview Tips for Graduates
By Judith Moraa
So do you have any question for us?
As your job interview comes to an end, one of the final questions you may be asked is, “What can I answer for you?”
And at this point you realize that you’ve been set on the spot and you just can’t wait to finish the interview and disappear from the interview. Right?
How do you react? Do you actually go ahead and pose the questions or do you freeze with a faint NO?
And by the way, do you know that asking some few questions can also give you the opportunity to further highlight some of your qualities, skills, and experience?
It is advisable to have at least something waiting for this moment. Don’t just appear blank at the interview. You might be giving yourself away. Seek assistance from an interview expert, friends or even colleagues when in doubt.
So, your goal during this point in the interview should be:
- Highlighting your qualifications for that particular job
- Demonstrating your confidence levels
- Reinforcing your commitment to that position
- Understanding your employer’s challenges
- Making yourself accountable
However, don’t squander this opportunity to shine by asking mundane questions like what is a normal day like? The interviewer has probably heard this over and over again.
Let’s look at some of the sample questions you can include in your list.
1. Ask questions about the company
You can ask them what they value most as a company, and how they think your work will further elevate these values.
Questions about the most and least desirable aspects of the company’s culture are a good way to establish a connection with the employer.
How does this company define and measure success?
On top of this, you can ask them about their competitors. It shows that you are already thinking about how you can help the company rise to meet some of its bigger goals
2. You can also actually ‘ask’ the interviewer some questions
Focus some little attention on the interviewer but with extreme care. Ask them what they like about the company.
This question is important because it lets you “create a sense of closeness” with the interviewer because “interviewers just like everybody else usually like to talk about themselves and especially things they know well.
You can agree with me on this.
Furthermore, this question gives you a chance to get an insider’s view on the best parts about working for this particular company.
3. Don’t forget the bonus questions
This should be the very last. Don’t make them appear as some ‘me questions’ that put yourself ahead of the employer.
At the interview level, you are simply trying to demonstrate to the employer how you can benefit the company, not the other way around.
So some bonus questions can be such as:
How will you judge my success? What will have happened six months from now that will demonstrate that I have met your expectations?
What is the next step in the hiring process or when can I expect to hear back? Or by when do you hope to make someone an offer?
Also questions such as “when is the anticipated starting date for this position or whom should I reach out to if I have any further questions, can come in here.
These are a couple of tips needed by interviewees to survive the rigorous interview sessions organised by employers.
Job hunt is a very stressful aspect of one’s life; it takes motivation and being positive to get the right and dream job. Interviews usually bring tense to job seekers. The more confident you feel, the more chances of gaining the interviewer attention.
Be poised and hold your head high with these useful interview tips:
1.) Body Postures
Usually the mind controls all our actions and movement, but it is possible to use the body to trick the mind into feeling a certain way. Slouching or slumping and crossing your arms are all examples of closed off postures, and when we feel small, we tend to exhibit these poses. If you spend a little time opening yourself up and exhibiting the postures of the confident, you can build a sense of assurance just by your actions. Spend several minutes practicing “power poses,” or opening yourself up, spreading your arms, walking tall, and looking the part.
2.) Be audible while speaking and put a smile
If you are not audible enough while speaking, Practice deep breathing, this will relax your diaphragm and your vocal cords, which will result in a voice with more resonance and a somewhat lower tone and more breath to give power to your speech.
I recommend adding a few singing lessons, the instructor can teach you how to use the cavities in your head to create even more resonance. Once the interview starts, it’s extremely difficult to correct our speaking problems because we may be too nervous or we just plain don’t notice them. Practice speaking your answers out loud so you can hear your voice and correct any nervous intonations, pitch problems, or pacing issues before you go to your interview.
Smiling reduces stress that your body and mind feel, almost similar to getting good sleep, according to recent studies. And smiling helps to generate more positive emotions within you. Smile often before your interview to get in the habit of doing so, and you’ll feel more comfortable offering a genuine smile while you’re greeted and when you’re being interviewed.
3.) Prepare, Practice and Rehearse answers loudly
Before going for any interview invitation, you must be fully prepared. Being prepared for interview gives a feeling of confidence. You should be well-equipped, rehearse potential interview answers with a friend. “Look at the skills, experience, knowledge and personal qualities you have and think of examples showing how you developed these.
4.) Win over your anxiety and fear
For some job seekers, nerves can be disabling. Something happens when they walk through the door of the interviewer’s office. Cold sweat trickles down the back of their knees. Their minds draw a blank when asked basic questions like, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?” or, “Why would you like to work for this company above all others?”
These candidates feel like they’re back at school in front of a crowded assembly, unable to make those words pass their lips. The easiest way to combat fear is by not using excuses. Instead, you need to look for positive approaches to accomplish your goal. Don’t let fear, nerves and stage fright keep you from the job interview you want. “Sometimes nerves take over and you don’t show who you are.”
5.) Dress appropriately
Before you say a single word to the interviewer, you have already made an impression based on how you’re dressed. Every company has a different dress code; how you dress at the job may have very little to do with how you dress for an interview. Dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position for which you are applying. In almost all cases, this means wearing a suit. A dark-colored suit with light colored shirt is your best option.
By Selipha Kihagi,
After that job interview, it is only normal that you are waiting for a response from the employer or recruiting firm. One week passes by, then two and you start wondering how you faired.
According to you, the interview went very well and you were promised a response in two weeks. Two weeks have elapsed, but you are still waiting for that call or email.
Here are 4 reasons you are still waiting to be contacted
1. You did not leave your contacts or the email address is wrong
Justus Ng’etich, an Account Recruitment Manager at Corporate Staffing Services says he has experienced two cases where good candidates missed the opportunity because they didn’t leave their contacts.
“A person drops their CV at our offices, they are asked to report for an interview on a certain day and time. They do well in the interview, but when you want to write to them or call to inform them they got the position, we realize they did not leave their contacts,” says Justus.
As a job seeker, you should always include ways in which you can be reached. Either a working phone number and email address or both. You must also ensure the contacts provided are correct.
2. You have not checked your spam box
The Spams box in your email account picks out incoming mails depending on the settings. This means even important emails could be sitting in your account, but since you do not constantly check the spam box, you end up missing out on the job opportunity especially if you can’t be reached by phone.
3. You brought your child to the interview
Ladies, please stop bringing your kids to the interview. You are already communicating that you can’t handle your personal problems and even if you do well in the interview, the recruiting officer or the employer may find it hard to hire you.
You will not be bringing your child to work so when you are faced with a situation where you cannot find a nanny or cannot afford day care, find a solution.
4. You have a bad phone connection or your phone was stolen
The recruiting officer or employer may have tried to reach you, but with your phone having been stolen, they found you unreachable or your phone was out of service. After leaving the interview, ensure your phone is with you at all times and that it has a good operator connection.
So, if you feel you have waited too long before getting a response and you don’t know your fate, make a call to them and ask to know what the situation is. But again, don’t become a bother with too many calls.
DO your homework: many people are at a loss of words when they are asked about their salary expectations. It’s better to do your research about what the market rate for your prospective position is rather than concoct an impromptu answer. You can also get in touch with recruiters and approach people in your network of friends and colleagues who would be willing to share salary information with you. Using all that salary intelligence as a baseline, you can tweak it according to your own experience and qualifications and come up with a narrower range that you can confidently pitch to the potential employer.
DON’T say yes too soon: Accepting the offer put forward right away is inadvisable. Usually fresh graduates and job-seekers who are relocating to a different geographical location make this mistake. Weighing the salary offered against your actual worth is important. Do not say yes unless you feel that the offer is reflective of the value you will offer to the firm. Not speaking up might lead you to feel underpaid, and receive lower increments and a slower salary growth as you move up the career ladder leaving you stressed and demotivated.
DO consider other benefits: To look at salary alone and ignore other benefits is also a common error while negotiating salaries. Other factors should be considered like insurance coverage, the option to have flexible work timings, maternity and paternity leave, paid vacation days etc. These factors have monetary value attached to them and should be grossed up with the salary figure to measure the value of your package.
DON’T make unreasonable comparisons: Salaries may differ from one industry to another. Comparisons should be avoided in such cases and salary negotiations should be based on research conducted for the particular industry in question. For example, comparing the salary of an administrative assistant in a school to that in a telecom company would be an unreasonable thing to do.
DO wait for the right time to bring up the salary topic: Talking about the salary too early in an interview is not advisable. Market yourself as a worthy candidate and if the interviewer is genuinely interested in hiring you, they will bring up the topic themselves at a later stage of the interview. Take the cue from there and quote your range. If you have previous work experience, a good rule of thumb is to ask for a 20% increment over your last salary figure as the minimum expected salary.
DON’T give a specific salary figure: Always try to give a range, as it gives more room for negotiation. If the employer is offering something below your minimum, negotiate on the benefits
Source : bayt.com
There are many reasons why following up after a job interview is so important to your success as a job seeker. Despite what you may believe about the entire interviewing process, what happens after the interview is just as critical to how things transpire before and during interviewing. For the person who wants to make a favorable impression with hiring managers and land a great new career, here are some reasons why follow up after a job interview can be advantageous to your job search.
Follow Ups Give You the Opportunity to Ask More Questions
One of the best reasons to follow up after a job interview is having a good reason to ask more questions about the job or company that you may not have thought to ask at the actual interview. During a job interview, it is easy to get a bit tongue-tied or caught up in the interview process and forget to ask a key question about the type of work you may be doing. Taking a few minutes to call the person who interviewed you or send a quick email can be a nice way to handle this and keep the lines of communication open with the person who may be making the decision to hire you.
Sending a Follow Up Message Helps Others Remember You
Another good reason to follow up after a job interview is to keep your name fresh in the mind of the recruiter or manager who interviewed you. Hiring managers often get bombarded with applications and resumes from job seekers along with the other demands of their jobs. It can be easy to forget whom they talked to or what was discussed during the interview, especially if multiple interviews are taking place. Sending a nicely written follow up letter is a great way to jog the HR person’s memory and will often prompt them to contact you for a second interview.
Follow Ups Demonstrate Your Professionalism
Besides helping the human resources department remember you, making the effort to follow up after a job interview helps you stand out amongst other job seekers in a professional manner. There are many candidates who won’t make this extra effort, so just by sending a well-written thank you note you will shine. The hiring manager will then be more apt to contact you to ask additional questions or to invite you for future job openings because he will see you are serious about your career aspirations.
Practicing Following Up Helps Build Confidence
It’s true that searching for a job can be a frustrating activity and over time can become hard on your psyche, especially when jobs seem scarce. However, you can take control of your career destiny by putting your best foot forward and taking the time to send a professional follow up letter as well as making reasonable follow up phone calls. This will lead to greater confidence, better interpersonal skills and a more positive outlook on your job search efforts.
Interview Tips – Essentials
Your resume got you in the door, but the interview will make or break your candidacy. The interview is your chance to prove to the employer that you have what it takes, will fit in, and are the best candidate for the job. This requires careful preparation
Researching the organization is critical to your interview success, and is the single most important step you can take to separate yourself from all the other candidates in line for the job
Recruiters can tell- pretty fast- if you haven’t done your homework and will take it as a sign that you aren’t interested in the position and lack initiative
While the job description can help you draw connections between you and the job, you must do deeper research to learn about the organization. At a minimum, you need to know the company’s products and services; how many people work for the organization; where it is located; and if it has plans to expand.
TIP: Arrive 15 Minutes Early
Get to your interview 15 minutes early. This give you time to relax; gain composure and if you are a lady, check your hair, make up and so forth. Get your “game face on” – and about 10 minutes ahead of time, walk in to the office
(Reminder: The interview begins when you pull into the parking lot…so be careful about your behavior while in your car.)
– Janet M. Dickson
Director of Career Services, Lourdes University
Sample Question 101
Many questions will give you a chance to connect your qualifications to the job and demonstrate your interest in and enthusiasm for the job and organization. Use these opportunities to show why you are the best fit!
Other questions however may be negative – What’s your biggest weakness? Tell me about your worst boss. What didn’t you like about your internship? And so forth. Negative these with positive responses
Tell me about yourself
This is a standard question, designed to break the ice. Don’t tell the interviewer your life story. Keep your response related to the job. Don’t ramble. Be specific. Take about two minutes to deliver your response
What’s your greatest strength/weakness?
Relate your greatest strength to the job. As for your weakness, answer honestly, but positively. Explain how you’ve become more focused, organized, or assertive after working to correct your weakness
Tell me about a time you had to handle a difficult situation/person
You have been asked about a negative, but need to offer a positive answer. Don’t bash a supervisor, professor, co-worker, or teammate in your response, and don’t complain. In framing your response, recognize that the recruiter is looking for how you are able to achieve results despite obstacles, insight into how you work with others, and evidence that you can solve – not add to – problem
Where do you see yourself in three years?
In your own words, tell the interviewer that you hope to be with the company in a role that allows you to make the greater contribution, based on your qualifications and the skills you’ve gained in your time with the organization
Why do you want to work here?
Be positive and enthusiastic. Show the employer that you have done your research and know something about the organization
Frame your response around what you can bring to the organization. State how what you have learned about the organization through your research relates to your qualifications and career goals
Many employers favor “behavior-based” interviewing, which is based on the idea that past behavior is an indication of how a candidate will reach in a similar situations in the future. Questions that ask you to “tell me about a time,” “describe a situation,” or “give me an example” are behavior-based.
The interviewer is look for your thought process, decision-making abilities, and emotional state in addition to the results of your actions. You will be expected to give detailed responses that are based on actual circumstances. The basic formula is 1) describe an overview of the situation, 2) describe the actions you took, and 3) explain the results
Time to Shine
It’s interview time: Even before you shake hands or open your mouth, your potential employer is assessing you – the way you are dressed, your demeanor, whether you have arrived on time (or are late), how you interact with others
Be punctual. Dress appropriately. Be courteous to those around you
When you meet the interviewer, look him or her in the eye. Offer a firm handshake. Introduce yourself confidently. Be energetic and enthusiastic.