If it is your first time to come to a job interview, it is normal if you think that interview is nerve-wracking. In such a case, knowing a few best practices can calm your nerves and keep you sharp. The first step is getting familiar with types of questions you’ll be asked, which include:
- Background questions – These questions help hiring managers get an overview of your experience, goals and why you’re interested in the company.
- Behavioural questions – These are designed to uncover your past “behaviours” in different work situations. These questions also help employers decide whether you will fit company culture.
- Situational questions – Your answers to these questions should demonstrate your ability to overcome challenging workplace scenarios.
See also: The Power of Informational Interviews
It will be all about you.
Besides the interview questions above, you can expect that a job interview will be all about you – as a job seeker. Therefore, set aside shyness or reticence and prepare to explain yourself thoroughly. First impressions always count, especially on particular occasions like job interviews. Practice and school yourself on what to do when employers ask illegal questions, such as queries about your marital status, children, or health issues. Understanding what you should disclose and what should be kept as secret will leave a good impression to recruiters.
If you have an employment gap, explain it.
It is always a good policy to be honest about employment gaps, especially if it is lengthy. Having an employment gap will not decrease your employment chance if you know how to communicate it. Thus, be honest on why you take the gap, is it because you are working to find a new job, volunteering, becoming a parent or caregiver, or travelling? These reasons might be viewed in your favour. When explaining this, remember to emphasise the skills you’ve gained during employment gaps that will put value to the company if they hire you.
Be ready to discuss salary.
When it comes to salary discussion, don’t disclose exactly what you expected. What you need to do is to prepare yourself by knowing what you are worth based on your qualifications and your salary history. You can also consult authoritative sources, such as Payscale. Once again, don’t feel it is your role to bring up specific numbers, but if you are asked, be prepared with salary ranges, based on your research.
You are also required to ask questions.
As the interview is winding up, the hiring manager might turn the table and ask if you have questions for them. When the time comes, make sure you take the chance to dig the company deeper, such as understanding the work hours, company culture, etc. Check here to know what questions you should ask. Nonetheless, it can be totally okay to finish with a non-question grace note, such as expressing that you’ve enjoyed the discussion and look forward to the next step in the hiring process.