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Career Development Center
Career Tips
What You Need to Prepare for an Interview
Article since : 03 June 2016

Whether you are applying for internship or a vacant position in a company, you must be aware that you must submit your résumé first. Most of the time, you have to wait while they review your résumé. How long do you need to wait? It varies. So, if they are interested on your resume, it is highly probable that they will contact you for an interview.

First of all, what is interview (in terms of job seeking)? If we could put it simply, it is a formalized conversation with the purpose of finding out whether you are suitable for the position or not. But keep in mind that it is a two-way process. What does it mean? It is not only about the company finding the perfect candidate but also about you finding out whether you want to work for the company or not.

What do you have to do when you get a call for interview? Prepare yourself! You must keep in mind that preparation is your best weapon in facing any situation. So, what should you do? These are the things you need to prepare prior an interview:

  1. Information research about the position
    • Learn about the job description
    • Highlight of the job
    • Challenges of the job
    • Career path of that position
  2. Information research about the company
    • Learn about their industry, services and/or products
    • Learn about their operations
    • Know their company values and culture
    • Learn about the people who works there
    • Search about their business, their competition, etc
  3. Information about the interviewer
  4. The exact location of the office where your interview will take place
  5. Think and prepare about your appearance
    • Prepare your professional clothes (adjusted to the existing culture)
    • Wear proper shoes
    • Prepare your look (hairdo and make up - for women)
  6. Prepare the things you need to bring, such us stationery and copy of your résumé
  7. Learn to answer the frequently asked questions
  8. Have enough sleep and positively imagine that your interview would go smoothly

On the day of the interview, keep your calm. You also need to make a good impression. First and foremost, arrive on time (on time means at least 15 minutes before the time scheduled. The extra time you have before the interview will help you to adapt with new surounding and to calm your self). Your first impression will be judged by your appearance and attitude. Interview means questions and answers. When you read this and you don’t have prior experience, you might feel a bit intimidated but don’t be. You need to learn how to handle questions from your interviewer. The following points are the things you need to pay attention to during your interview:

  1. Don’t forget to firmly shake the interviewer’s hand
  2. Greet him/her with a smile
  3. Avoid too many hand gestures
  4. Put your hands on your lap
  5. Maintain eye contact
  6. Properly sit up right
  7. Take your time properly in answering the question. Listen carefully to the question, think of the answer then speak.
  8. Answer clearly and concisely. It is advised to use STAR concept in answering question from interviewer.

Now, we bet you are wondering where the list of FAQ is. It is better if you practice to answer these questions below, but during the interview do not answer it like you have memorized it before, act naturally.

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What distinguishes you from 20 other people who can do the same job?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What’s important to you in a job?
  • How do you spend your spare time?
  • How does/what have you accomplished outside the classroom related to your education?
  • Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?
  • Describe a problem you face and how you overcame it.

The interviewer will evaluate your attitude and answers. So be confident yet still humble. As stated in the beginning of the article, an interview is also about you finding out whether you really want to work in the company or not. So, when the interviewer gives you time to ask questions, do not hesitate but be well-mannered and ask questions that are relevant. What are the possible questions? See below.

  • What will I be contributing to the organization?
  • What is your company culture?
  • What differentiates your company from your competitions?
  • Why is this position vacant?
  • Will this job involve in significant amounts of overtime or work on weekends?
  • How long have you worked here and what position did you start with?

Usually, when you are given time to ask, you are close to the end of the interview. How would you close it? You can consider “Actually, I’d like to know how I should proceed.” What should you do after an interview? Here is our advice:

  1. Give your name card and ask for the interviewer’s should he/she has one
  2. Shake hand and thank the interviewer
  3. Send a thank you email noting your interest to the position and your expectation to hear the result from them

If we can summarize what you have to prepare and how to succeed in your interview, perhaps the following do’s and don’ts can help.

Interview Do’s

  • Do plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early
  • Do fill out application form neatly and completely (if any)
  • Do greet the interviewers by their surnames
  • Do give appearance of energy. Smile!
  • Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright, look alert, and interested all the times
  • Do be a good listener and a good talker
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer
  • Do dress professionally for the interview and the job
  • Do make sure that your good points get across in a factual sincere manner

Interview Don’ts

  • Don’t relax and rely on your resume to do selling for you
  • Don’t wear tinted glasses
  • Don’t answer questions with a simple yes or no
  • Don’t ‘over-answer’ questions
  • Don’t make negative comments about your present employer or companies

Besides knowing the do’s and don’ts, you have to be aware that there are negative factors that will affect the interviewer’s judgment: poor personal appearance, over bearing, over aggressive, superiority complex, inability to express thoughts clearly, lack of planning for career, lack of interest & enthusiasm, and lack of maturity. You may want to put it into consideration.

We want to emphasize that preparation for interview does not begin one week before the interview date but at the time you decide your career. For some, it may be right from their school and for some during university. Work on it right from the beginning. In addition, you have to prepare yourself in advance. Improve your written and verbal communication skills. Don’t forget to develop your confidence level through active participation in extracurricular. You may want to develop some other interest which makes you unique.

So, prepare yourself well for the professional world, not just for an interview.

Career Tips