Before you attend a job interview ask yourself these vital questions. Be very clear on your answers.
1. What do I know about the job I am applying for?
Cover the following:
- What do I know about the job itself?
- What are the key activities/requirements of the job?
- What knowledge, skills and experience will it require?
- Who is likely to succeed at this job role?
- What will be the expectations of the manager of this job holder?
- Who will be my customers (internal staff/departments and external customers)?
- What will they require/expect of me?
- Who else will I be working with in my team?
- What type of people will these be in terms of background, interests and motivations?
- What really attracts me to the job/organisation?
Key Thoughts – What would be my ideal? Am I likely to be a fit to this environment?
2. What do I know about the organisation who will be employing me?
Cover the following:
- What is the correct name of the organisation?
- Who formed it? When?
- Who owns it? (Public or Private Ownership?)
- Who are its customers?
- What does it sell?
- Where does it operate?
- Who are its competitors?
- What compliance issues does it need to observe?
- What is its recent track record? What has it achieved recently?
- What is its reputation? How do people perceive it?
- What differentiates it from its competitors?
- What has been in the news recently about it?
- What do you know about its current/future plans and objectives?
- What is its culture?
- What types of people is it likely to be looking for?
Key Thoughts – Have I really researched the organisation? Am I likely to be a fit to this organisation?
Note: For information look at the organisation’s web site, marketing/recruitment literature, trade journals, press releases, articles on the web, and personal contacts (including someone already employed by the organisation or working in a similar organisation).
3. What do I know about myself?
Cover the following and prepare to give examples to provide more detail:
- My life to date and what it has taught me.
- My achievements (academic and others; what results have I achieved versus activities completed).
- My values (i.e. what is most important to me). Why?
- My strengths and talents and how I have used them to bring me success.
- Areas I need to work more on and to develop? Why?
- My interests/hobbies. What I like about them. Why?
- My motivators; what really gives me great satisfaction and self motivation. Why?
- When I give of my best individually and in a team. Why?
- What I am looking to do in the short, medium, longer term. Why?
- What I could contribute to an employer.
- What makes me unique.
- My reasons for leaving previous jobs/current job.
Key Thoughts – Who am I? What am I really looking for? What is my ideal employer? Who will most want my talents and the contribution I can make?
4. What do I know about the world at large?
Cover the following:
- Who is governing the country?
- What are the names of senior politicians? Their ministerial roles?
- What are the government’s current policies? What policy changes will most impact the organisation I am seeking to work for?
- How is this likely to cause my potential employer to respond?
- What do I know about:
- Current economic climate
- Political Issues of the moment
- Social Trends
- Technology Advancements
- How these factors might be impacting my potential employer
- If a global/multinational/international organisation then think about the above in the wider context –countries, regions, global trends and impacts on the organisation. Do your homework.
- What newspapers do I read? Why?
- What sections do I read most? Why?
- What TV programmes do I watch? Why?
- What social media do I follow? Why?
- What do I learn from my social contacts that I find useful?
Key Thoughts – How in touch am I with the world at large so that I can make an informed choice about a future employer? Do I really have an interest in learning more about the bigger picture surrounding the organisation?
5. What do I know about the wider context of the organisation’s market-place?
- Cover the following:
- Who is saying what about the organisation’s market-place?
- What are the market-place challenges for the client?
- Who are the thought leaders/opinion formers about these challenges?
- Whose opinions seem to be winning the day? Why?
- What is the view of the press and public at large of the organisation and its market-place? Why?
- How has the organisation been trying to change the public’s perception of it? With what success? What are recent examples?
- What is your view on the challenges faced by the organisation in its market-place? Why?
Key Thought – How can I demonstrate that I am really in touch with the organisation’s challenges given the wider context and public opinion? And, am I really interested!?!
CoSo here it is – a Five Point Self Examination before the examination itself!
Of course not all recruitment interviewers are this rigorous and will cover all these points, and you will be amazed at the superficial nature of the questions you will receive. Interviewers generally fail to really examine you and probe your knowledge. Don’t be surprised. There are very few really proficient interviewers!
However the key message is this – really do your homework. Make the organisation feel that it is truly your first choice and reinforce what you can do for it and not what it can do for you!
Thoroughly prepare answers to these questions in the five sections above and at least you will be a credible candidate! And that is the first step to progressing through the interview process and hopefully getting a job as a result.
Good luck with your answers! And have some questions of your own such as:
- How would you measure my success in the first 6 months of me doing the job?
- Given my background and experience how do you think I could really contribute to your organisation?
- Where is it likely I would start work?
- What would I be doing exactly?
- Who else would I be working with?
- What level of customer involvement would I have?
- How would you train me to give me the necessary knowledge/skills for the job?
- What longer term opportunities would be available to me?
- What are the next steps?