The interviews work are a trance really stressful for most people. The feeling of being in a conversation of a minimum duration, in which you are being evaluated under criteria that the interviewee does not know, and in an environment that is strange, represents a host of factors before which it seems natural to feel overwhelmed. However, the information is a good way to control the stress generated by uncertainty, and this article answers that objective. From the experience as interviewers, we intend to demystify the job interview, while trying to offer some guidelines to successfully face one of these situations.
We are talking, in this case, of the individual interview . We are not referring to group dynamics, and we are not referring to selection processes with an interview through Skype or any other digital means. The fundamental difference between any of these interviews is that they are usually carried out at different stages of the selection process. A group dynamics interview is usually conducted early in a selection process, whereas someone called for an individual job interview usually has more opportunities in the selection process. This particularity also conditions the way in which each process must be faced.
1.- What opportunities do I have in an interview?
When a person arrives for an individual interview in any organization the opportunities are very high. With the dissemination of job offers through the internet, the selection processes tend to gather resumes from hundreds of candidates. Conducting interviews is financially costly for the company, since it requires the time and analysis of one or two professionals, so the number of candidates that are interviewed individually is not usually very large. That is, those summoned for individual interviews for a position are people who are interesting and suitable to fill the vacancy .
2.- Find out about the company you want to enter
Something important, once called for a job interview, responds to find out about the work carried out by the organization. The website of any company is usually a primary source of information, but not the only one. If it is a large company, press publications are usually also a very valuable source of information.
It is extremely common for the first question in a job interview to be: “Why are you interested in us?” If an interview consists, in the first place, of generating a good impression , knowing information about the organization to which you are applying indicates an unequivocal display of interest.
3.- Wear appropriate clothing
The appropriate attire to appear at a job interview depends on the position and the organization. For example, a business profile usually uses formal clothing: a suit, tie, shoes … so attending the interview with this clothing is a good option. On other occasions we will doubt, so a basic rule in case of doubt will be to attend the interview with a point of formality above what we suppose is required in the daily work in the organization. For example, for any office and office job, go with a jacket and shoes instead of sports shoes, it seems a fairly safe alternative.
However, there are times when we clearly know that formal clothing is not required in the position , so we must go in the appropriate way. So disconcerting is a lack of formality in our clothing in the interview, as an excess. Now, it is much more convenient to sin in excess of formality than in defect.
4.- Punctuality is crucial
The timeliness is essential in a job interview. Logic dictates that someone who is late for a job interview will always be late. If due to force majeure the interviewee is going to be delayed, it is necessary to make a call in advance to report the incident and apologize for the delay.
5- What should I bring to an interview?
A very common mistake is to go to an interview without any documents. At the job interview, the CV of the interviewee will be reviewed, so it is important to bring a copy of the curriculum. If the interviewee has obtained information from the organization for which he is applying, for example an information brochure of the company, he should also bring it if he thinks it can be used to contribute some relevant information to his speech. It is also common for job interviews in large companies to take some kind of test or questionnaire, so carrying a pen is a good idea.
6.- What does a job interview really consist of?
This is the key question. Individual interviews can be of many types, depending on the interviewer and the type of company. If it is a large company, the first individual interviews may be conducted by the HR or recruitment team, and perhaps also with the team leader applying for the position. An interview with the recruitment staff will focus more on the skills, attitudes and competencies of the person applying for the position. There will be questions about teamwork, about performance, values, expectations, trajectory … An interview with a team leader will focus on practical skills for the position, and possibly present technical tests to analyze performance on a specific task that would then have to be developed in a real environment.
In both cases, the result should be to make a good impression. The interview supposes a brief analytical encounter and in a condition of inequality. The interviewee does not have control of the interview, even if it is carried out in a relaxed atmosphere , and the objective responds to deducing a more or less precise idea in a very short space of time. From this perspective, you should try to project an image of naturalness and sincerity, without thinking that there are good or bad answers.
7.- I get nervous, am I out?
Nerves are an intrinsic part of job interviews, since they are a type of social relationship in a condition of great inequality. However, nerves are not decisive in an interview.
It is very common for the interviewee to be restless at the beginning of the interview, for this a good strategy is to have a pen in your hands. What to do with your hands becomes truly troublesome in any awkward situation. However, the usual thing is to have reached a relaxed atmosphere that within five minutes of starting the match
The importance of nerves depends on the position you are applying for. A commercial profile, for example, needs to show security in situations that are beyond its control, since the success in its day-to-day work will depend on it. For a technical profile, however, nerves are very irrelevant to the job that will later be performed.
However, any interviewer will appreciate some eloquence in the interviewee’s speech, since it is exhausting to extract the words in a conversation of this type.
8.- Who will interview me?
There are, as we said, two interviewer profiles: the interviewer of a selection team or the interview with a team leader of the organization. This particular is not very relevant for the interviewee, because in both cases the attitude must be the same: maximum cordiality, sincerity and collaboration during the meeting.
9.- What to talk about and what not to talk about?
It is common for the interviewer to try to create a relaxed atmosphere. This responds to two reasons: one, to create a comfortable climate for the parties involved in the job interview; two, because a relaxed atmosphere is also more likely to obtain more honest information.
The interviewee must control this situation. The relaxed atmosphere in an interview can play tricks, because the relationship that is established tends to be confused: it does not suppose a relationship of friendship, or of co-workers, or of acquaintances … It is an evaluation. When the interviewee relaxes excessively, very deep mistakes are made: they begin to give personal impressions on politically incorrect topics, they begin to make jokes that are irrelevant, they stop taking care of the formality of the language, and ultimately they lose the control of the situation.
Regardless of the climate being friendly, the interviewee must maintain composure, take care of the language and avoid entering into questions that are not politically correct for a work environment. An excess of relaxation is extremely common, and often leads to very unsuccessful interviews.
10.- Know our CV well
The interview can be based on a review of the person’s CV, so it is important to know our trajectory well. By this we mean having a speech designed to narrate the training and professional development.
Very frequently asked questions are: “Why did you leave this job?” For these types of questions it is important to have an adequate answer thought out beforehand. An honest answer, but one that does not imply speaking ill of the previous company or organization, or of our former colleagues.
Other very common questions revolve around the gaps in our CV. If 10 years were used in a bachelor’s study instead of 5, it is reflected in the curriculum and it is a very pertinent question. The answer should be sincere, but do not improvise. If there is a long period of unemployment, for example, an answer must also be prepared for that gap: how did an active job search develop during that period?
11.- Is “we’ll call you” a bad sign?
The “we’ll call you” has become a television tagline. The truth is that on very rare occasions when leaving a personal interview there will be a closed answer about the possibility of joining the company or not. In some cases, the interviewee is directly summoned to another subsequent meeting, for example, but the hiring decision is usually evaluated between several candidates and several team members, so “we’ll call you” does not imply anything good or bad.