The job market is generally a highly competitive atmosphere. These days, graduates are far more than the available jobs, and many big firms are engaging in large scale downsizing or ”right-sizing” as they euphemistically put it most times. The geometric-arithmetic relationship between job seekers and vacant positions is so alarming that the idea of self employment seems to have reached full throttle in today’s seminars and public discussions. However, there are still jobs for those who know how to get them.
The mentality of ”connections” still oxidizes the air in the Nigerian climate. Every stratosphere is affected, including employment. It always seems like for every 100% job opportunities, 50% has already been overtaken by those with connections, and the rest of the job seekers have just the remaining 50% to tussle with.
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Whenever a Job opening pops up, there are hundreds of interested candidates. Various companies have different ways of cutting down these people into a short list, and inviting these people for an interview that would give the hiring company a chance to meet the candidates one on one. The interview stage is where you are fully assessed, and maybe the final point of deciding who among the several interested individuals would be hired. Sometimes, these companies need more than one person to fill in different positions, so they pick more than one person after the interview.
So now you have been called for an interview. Wow! That’s great! But it’s not a job yet… it’s just an interview. ”Just an interview” I said, but this ”Just an Interview” is what decides whether you would be employed or not. So, yes, the tension and anxiety is definitely there, unless you have other options that are almost guaranteed for you.
So, how do you prepare for that interview that gave you so much joy when you received the text or got the phone call? Just follow these tips and steps.
1- Control Your Joy and Anxiety
Yes you got the text or the phone call, where the lady you spoke with was really nice and sounded like she knew you had already landed the job. Yes your mother or wife or siblings have been jumping about the house, singing praises to God and hugging you. Enjoy the moment and cut it immediately. These days, there usually isn’t a lot of time between when you get the text and the interview date. Get yourself together and start preparing. Do not let your happiness allow you forget the basic things you need.
2. Start Basic Preparations
Now this is the beginning of your preparation. The first thing you should do is to photocopy or reprint your CV or resumé. You are going to need to take one copy or more along with you for the interview. You don’t go to the farm without your cutlass or hoe. You should never go to an interview without your CV in hand. It is not a necessary requirement, but in the event where the interviewer did not bring your CV along, handing him one will show a sign of seriousness and will also make things easier for you. Without your CV, he will be left to ask you general questions. But when he has your CV in hand, he is likely to ask you questions pertaining to what you have in your CV. See how to properly design a CV in this site too. And since you designed it yourself, those questions should not be difficult for you. Also, it could happen that more than one person will interview you. It could be just one of them that has your CV, and it would really sell you well, if you just open your smart bag and hand the other people copies of your resumé. You’ve started the interview on the perfect note. You may need to use job interview past questions when preparing for job interviews.
Also, as part of basic preparations, you should search your mind for any other special thing that you might need to take along for the interview, depending on the type of job. This will save you the stress of last minute run around. If you need to get a suit, please do not wait till a day before the interview. Make your basic preparations on time.
3 – Search for Background Information
You probably didn’t know about the company until you stumbled on their job opening. You probably know the company, but only by it’s name, and nothing else. This is the time for you to make your research on the company. Use Google, ask friends, stylishly ask neighbours. Go to the company and meet people there. Make enquiries from their customer care unit, if they have one. If you are lucky and the company is a big one, with strong internet presence, there will be enough information about them online. Study the history of the company, including details of the founders. If they publish their accounts, go through it. If you don’t understand some terms, meet somebody to put you through so that you can know where the company stands financially. One or two of these kinds of questions can be asked at the interview, and being able to answer them shows that you know about the company and will easily fit in.
4. Know Your Possible Pay
One question that usually throws people off balance is ”how much would you like to be paid?”
It throws people off balance because of a couple of reasons. The first is that you might not really be sure of how much the company, or companies generally pay people at such positions. Another reason is that you are scared of sounding greedy. Also, you might be scared of sounding like you don’t know your worth. So many factors are involved. So to tackle this, make enquiries on how much the company pays it’s employees that are around the same level as the position you will be interviewed for. Know how big the company is, through it’s financials and your pragmatic assessment. This way, you can decide how much it should be able and willing to pay. Also you could make enquiries in other companies of the same size. Finally, know your worth. How good are you, really. What qualifications do you have? When you look at the job market, do you see yourself as a blue chip, or just the average job seeker? This too can help you decide what your reply will be.
5. Know the Industry!
You should try as much as possible to make research on the industry that the company is in. Who are it’s competitors? What does the future hold for the industry and the company, as it is concerned? How does it’s past influence it’s present or future?
6. Know Your Role!
What will you be doing in the company? Accountants get employed by different companies in different industries. Even if they are trained as accountants, accounting allows you do a wide range of things. What exactly are you needed for? This will help shape your answers when you are being asked questions at the interview. If they need you as an accountant to help with tax issues… Your answers during your interview shouldn’t point to how good you are at stock taking and balancing accounts. It should tend towards the final accounts and how the various taxes affect the company.
7. Know your predecessor!
This is not compulsory, but if the position has been existing before.. Then you should try to know who was occupying it before it became vacant. What happened to him? Was he promoted or moved? Did he resign or was he sacked? Can you get in touch with him? If you can, and maybe he is not in the company anymore, then you can ask him some basic questions that can help you. Who knows, he might even still have links inside the organization that can help you.
8. Dress Appropriately
You should wear dark coloured trousers and shoes. Your shirt should be a professional colour, any shade of blue.. but definitely not a flashy colour. If you plan on wearing a suit, make sure it’s dark coloured. Then you could wear a brighter shirt colour and a dark coloured tie. Just look like the typical smart office man. Finally, please, please, please! Make sure you get to the venue as neat as possible. If you plan on using public transport, make sure you don’t get yourself stained on the road. Limit your trekking.. Don’t look all sweaty. And make sure you know road to the place before the interview day.
9. The Inteview Day
– Get to the venue at least 15 minutes before the official time. Be punctual.. Please!
– Be polite the minute you step into the compound. Greet everybody. Infact, start greeting everybody politely from your house to the venue. You never know who in the organization might have a say on who gets the job finally.
– Smile as frequently as possible without looking like a clown.
– Look confident.. But not over confident.
– Use a nice and mild perfume.
– Make sure you had enough sleep the day before, so that you will look bright and sharp.
10. The Interview Proper
– Remember that the people interviewing you are human beings, not gods or angels. Talk to them like you would talk to any normal person, but with respect.
– Don’t be afraid to throw in one or two jokes that would drop the tension in the room a bit. You are helping yourself by doing this.. not them.
– Be sincere with your answers. Answer like you are already part of the company.
– Listen to every question before you answer. Understand each question first before you open your lips.
– Decide whether the question is an IQ question or just a straight forward question. They test IQ at examinations, but some people still enjoy testing IQ at the interview proper. If it seems like an IQ question, then look for the best possible practical answer.
– Remember that those people interviewing you are most likely going to be your co-workers or superiors if you are employed. Ensure you make an impression that you will be a lovely person to work with. By looking at them, you should be able to tell what kind of people they are. Work with that.
– Make a few remarks about what you noticed in the company.
– Ask questions. Don’t be the only one answering questions. For God’s sake, you researched on the company, so you should have a question or two. But don’t ask stupid questions that you can easily google and find.
– Be polite all through and maintain a little smile.
– Thank them for granting you the opportunity and take your leave!
11- Follow up!
This is a very important part of the process. Before taking your leave, make enquiries on how long it typically takes before a response is sent to people that were interviewed. You could request for the email of one or more of them or phone number, if they seem receptive enough. You can also talk to the receptionist and get his or her phone number. Send a thank you letter to the mails you collected and the company’s mail.
I wish you best of luck in your interview.
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