When we are familiar with certain skills, we all believe we already have what it takes to do well in an interview. Naturally, yes, skills do matter. However, how is that information passed on to the interviewer? And what if, suddenly, some questions asked have nothing to do with your computer science skills, but more related to the person you are and how you act and react to many situations. Nevertheless, what does your professional past say about you? Did the situations encountered in your work environment support your growth or did they demotivate you in a certain way? This will all certainly be taken into consideration during an interview.
However, I would like to mention a very important point that we all forget when going to an interview and that is how well prepared is your interviewer. Because of course we have to make sure we have great experience and great answers but.. what are we answering to? Is it relevant? Does it say much about our capability?
According to Business Harvard Review, so many interviewers find themselves half way through the process realizing their preparation was incomplete. Therefore, planning is key for everybody!
If I may, I would like to share a personal experience.
When I joined the Store Management role, I thought I knew everything about interviews from both sides of the table. Nevertheless, I felt extremely confident to conduct any type of interview for my store.
When the first one came about, I prepared myself just 10 minutes before the interview and went straight into the room. During the process, I realized I was actually lost. I knew the set of questions I wanted to ask, but as the interviewee answers started to shift the conversation and the subjects slightly turned to a different direction, I had no idea how to link any question to it.
The lesson learned there was: it is important to have a “script”, indeed. However, it is more important to understand what exactly you are looking for and how would you expect certain responses to be. Personally, I believe in being occasionally natural when asking questions or answering to them, as it should be natural to talk about experiences you’ve had in your professional life. In addition, preparing in advance is key alongside preparing alternative questions and even answers to be in line with what is being expected in the moment.
Now, we discussed a lot in class about how, when being interviewed, the way we express ourselves can be crucial in the final decision.
Based on experience and some role play done in class, there is a very intense print that happens with the human brain when talking to others, which is easily memorising every possible negative thing that one says to another. If I don’t want to hear something and someone says that to me, that will be all I’ll have to remember after the conversation even if all the rest was extremely pleasant.
So choosing our words carefully and transmitting a positive energy regardless of the situation is a very important tip for when attending interviews. For example, if an experience one had wasn’t did not have a very ‘happy ending’, maybe that should be expressed in a constructive way; “through that I have learned…It has developed me as a professional…It helped we grow”. Instead of something negative such as: “I would never do it again…it all went fine but we haven’t sorted our issues…I couldn’t work with them”.
Now, if I may add. How sincere are your answers when being interviewed? Are you following YouTube videos and making clear that you love working in a fast pace environment and are very punctual? Because honestly, that will be a no no.
Prepared catch phrases that seem like the type of thing every business would like to hear is actually the worst things that can be said. However, of course if you are ACTUALLY a great multitasker, then why not mention it right? But make sure it comes with experience, a concrete situation that happened in the past proving that you are actually awesome.
Once you understand how the things you say and your body language can affect your career, you would probably really enjoy being interviewed, like I personally do. And nevertheless, in the future, make sure you are well prepared to interview your “next me”.
Be honest, stay true to your experiences and be remarkable.
Trull, S. Strategies of effective interviewing. Available at: https://hbr.org/1964/01/strategies-of-effective-interviewing
The Muse Editor. The ultimate interview guide. Available at: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-ultimate-interview-guide-30-prep-tips-for-job-interview-success
Indeed Career Guide. 21 Job interview tips. Available at: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/job-interview-tips-how-to-make-a-great-impression