I ABSOLUTELY love interviews, but it wasn’t always like that. I have had the chance to test my skills and improve by doing several of them. It wasn’t an easy process and the rejection is never pleasant, but it taught me a lot on how to best approach them and make sure I get the most out of them.
The first thing to remember is that you are interviewing them as much they are interviewing you. Interviews are a great chance to understand more about the role, the company’s culture and the hiring manager as well. My top tip is to always prepare some questions to ask at the end of the meeting. There’s nothing worst than a candidate who doesn’t ask any questions at all.
Be prepared to answer some of the classic interview questions like ‘Tell me about a time when you had an issue with a colleague’. The best thing to do is to follow the STAR method. You describe the Situation for context, then the Task, what Action you took and what the Result was. With English being my second language, I used to struggle to describe situations quickly and clearly. This was a great way to make sure I stayed to the point when answering questions.
Do your research. Make sure you look into the company, it’s core values and recent successes. You may not be asked about this, but you can use this info to focus on skills you have that they may find useful. If one of their core values is collaboration, you can make sure to share some anecdotes of when you achieved great results by collaborating within a team.
And finally, something very important that I was told by an amazing colleague: stay true to yourself. Managers are often looking for people who can complement an existing team and that can give a unique contribution to the business. When I first started interviewing in the UK, I used to worry people would never hire me because of my accent or because of my background in hospitality. Funnily enough, those are some of the things that got me where I am today. It’s your unique skills and personality that make you the best candidate.
Sometimes, despite a great interview, you still won’t get the job. Don’t beat yourself up about, ask for feedback instead. And, if you liked the people you met, make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn or just mention you’d love to stay in touch. That way, you will have not only learnt something you can improve ahead of your next interview, but you will have also expanded your network.