How to prepare for a job interview

SINGAPORE – A Workforce Singapore career coach says:

Job interviews are great platforms for you to articulate your skills, experience and attributes that are relevant to the role for which you are applying and thus impress prospective employers. Here are some tips to help you prepare and be more confident.

1. Know thy ‘enemy’, know thyself

Go through the company’s website and understand its core values and mission. Assess how your own values are aligned with the company’s and how you can contribute to its mission. If you know someone from the company, chat with him to find out more about the company culture, what it does well and what are its pain points.

Review the job post and identify the qualities the firm is looking for in candidates. List examples showing how you possess those qualities so that you can emphasise these during the interview. Think about how you will be able to help the company address its pain points in the new role. Be proactive.

2. Plan and practice make perfect

If it is a virtual interview, make sure you are in a quiet room with a good Internet connection. Prepare your equipment: ensure the computer is plugged into a power source and the camera set at eye level. Check the lighting, test the microphone and speakers, and ensure the links to your portfolios (if any) are working.

For face-to-face interviews, arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Be courteous to those who greet you and take you to the interview area as they could become your new colleagues.

You can prepare for common interview questions such as:

• Can you tell us more about yourself?

• Why did you apply for this job?

• Why should we hire you?

• Why do you want to work in this organisation?

• Why did you leave your previous job?

Rehearse your answers but do not memorise them. Record an audio or video clip of yourself answering and play it back to identify parts of your verbal and non-verbal presentations that you can improve on.

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3. Dress to impress and be aware of your body language

First impressions are everything. Even if it is a virtual interview, dress professionally as you would for an in-person meeting. Do not over or underdress; underdressing shows a lack of interest and sincerity, while overdressing may overwhelm the interviewer.

Be mindful of your body language: sit upright but not uptight (which makes any nerves obvious). Smile appropriately and nod to acknowledge. Remember, the interview is your first conversation with prospective bosses and colleagues.

4. Prepare to ask questions

Not having questions to ask your interviewers could make you look as if you are not interested in the position. Turn the interview into a two-sided conversation. Use the opportunity to clarify any questions you have about the job and the company, which will also help you decide later if it is a good fit for you.

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