Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if it’s your first time, if you have little experience or if it’s for a really important role you want to obtain. The interview is the moment where the recruiter gets to know you. From the first impression they get on how you look, what you wear and how you act, to your way of thinking, how you respond, and they can even evaluate your behavior under pressure.
A recruiting process can include interviews where the recruiter asks you questions to understand your experience, and to get to know you better. It can include aptitude tests, where they evaluate your abilities that go hand in hand with what the position requires (this can include English tests, excel, etc.). And lastly, depending on the position you are applying for, they can also include psychological assessments, these are required by some companies or roles to give the employer a better picture of your personality. Understanding their tendencies and beliefs can help determine if the candidate will be a good fit for a specific role or for the company.
The first thing to consider going to your interview is your personal presentation, not only the way you look (like the clothes, shoes and hair style you choose to wear) but also the way you express yourself, how you treat others, the small talk you make beforehand, overall, how you look and how you act going to your interview. It doesn’t matter if your interview is in person or virtual, this is the first thing to consider and to be careful when going in. Try to express yourself as positive, optimistic, and confident but also as a good listener.
During the interview, you will be asked a series of questions about your education, work history as well as your interest in the role. Be prepared, a person who is prepared stands out more than one who is not. Research information about the company, the recurring questions people usually ask in interviews and think about how your answers will reflect on you. Have several success stories and responses planned so the recruiter sees you know what you are talking about and that you are prepared for the situation.
The recruiter wants to get to know you better, so they will probably ask you to share examples of your past experiences to help demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses. One of the most useful ways to tell the story of your experience during the interview process is to use the START technique when answering questions. This technique works as follows:
Situation: Always start giving context of the situation you are about to explain, what, how and why something was happening is key to make the recruiter understand the challenges you found yourself in.
Task: Explain your role in the situation and why your input was necessary in this case and what you were expected to achieve.
Actions: Describe your thought process and the steps you took to resolve the issue in question.
Results: Explain what the results were after taking the actions, go into detail about the objective and whether you achieved it or not, and why.
Takeaway: Take this opportunity to mention what you learned from the experience and how that can be applied to the role in the future.
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, always ask something, if anything was unclear, you want to know more about the company or the role or even if you want to know how the rest of the recruiting process will go, always ask. It is ok to ask the interviewer what they see as important attributes, experience or qualities for someone to be successful in the position being discussed. It will help you stand out by being interested in the role, the company, and the process.
Finally, always make sure to end the interview by thanking the interviewer for their time before leaving. Little details can make the difference, so after leaving the interview it is nice to send an email thanking the interviewer again for their time and for considering you for the position and letting them know you are available for any further questions they may have. This way you will leave a mark on the recruiter’s mind and end the interview in the best way possible.