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How to Master a Job Interview – 15 Steps

You have received an email or it could be a call notifying you that you have passed a job interview process and you have been selected as the candidate for the position. And it is not a fake job offer. From the moment you receive this news excitement will be the honor of the day.

You will now probably be thinking about your new role – perhaps what you should wear on your first day. If you were unemployed or just been from a series of rejection, this can be a moment you had been waiting for. Or it it could have been your first job interview.

The truth is that life rolls and at one point you will find yourself in front of a job interview panel and the only way to win this is by knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it in a compelling and satisfying way. Tell them what they want to hear, period.

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Job interviews can be a nightmare especially if you do not know how to execute them. Again we can all agree that in the job hunting space there is nothing more satisfying than being called or emailed to sign a contract after being notified that you have satisfyingly passed all the job interview stages.

At the end of a job interview process, everyone likes to hear the words:

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“Congratulations, you have been offered the position of ……”

Back to the interview process – The fact that they have called you for an interview means that somehow they saw your CV as a fit for the position. And it is up to you to show them that you are actually the best candidate for the position because the truth is that at this stage they have seen a handful candidates as still good fit for the same position. Therefore, time to sell yourself and be outstanding for you to win it.

To be successful for a job interview there are probably things you need to do before the interview (preparation), during the interview and after the interview. All this journey is what is summed up to be an interview, and if done well can lead to a job offer.

Do the Following for a Job Interview and Get Hired!

Hired image. photo credit: solareyes international

1. Understand the job description

Perhaps the stage that is not done well by job interview candidates only for them to be surprised after the interview when they visit the job description. Therefore when preparing for an interview, thoroughly read the job description and understand the key needs of the position. Write down key skills, qualities and experience that you can identify as needed from the job description. This will even help you past the interview stage should you get hired for the position.

job interview
Job Description

2. Research about the company

Before a job interview, do a thorough research about the company, hiring manager and other interviewers. Methods include asking friends and those you know who might know something or a word about the company, going through their website and social media sites and most importantly getting to sit down with a person who works in that company, department or industry. Write key findings down. Depending on the type of position you are interviewing for, information you are looking for include what they do, how they do it, regions they cover, key and recent projects, achievements and challenges.

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Researching about the company will enable you to show the interviewing panel that you know about them and tell them how you will bring value or solve their current problems. Have some examples of how you will link your skills to what they do and where they want to be in the future. Again this task will even help you past the interview stage should you get hired for the position.

3. Practice your answers to common questions you are anticipating

You can present to your friend or sibling as many times as possible until you are now confident to make it like a conversation and not a memorized script. This will make your actual job interview easier. Make use of examples you did in your previous position(s) or project(s) to demonstrate proof of what you are saying. When describing your skills use words such as I led the development of ….. or I initiated the project to…… Perhaps the easiest and best way to demonstrate that you are capable of doing a certain task is to give examples of how you have performed similar tasks before.

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Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to answer questions. For example:

“At my previous position we were having many complains from our customers due to poor and uncompleted installations by our Technicians. I volunteered to improve our customer experiences by introducing use of Completion of Work Certificates which would be signed by both the Technicians who installed the solar system and the customer agreeing that work was successfully completed and system commissioned well. This method improved our whole installation process and reduced customer complains of this nature by 90%.”

4. Prepare 3 to 4 thoughtful questions to ask

The reason why you need at least three questions for a job interview is that there is a higher chance that some of your questions will be answered during the discussion. Perfection of this part can be your good assignment a night before the interview.

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5. Be punctual for your job interview day

The job interview day! Be early and dress properly. If possible arrive 15 to 30 minutes earlier and find some time to cool down and get ready. Dress well – formal dressing is always good unless it is a practical interview which has been confirmed.

6. Carry your CV, note book, pen and in some cases reference letters

You never know, you might need reference to these.

7. Be nice and professional to everyone you meet

This usually applies starting from the gate, you never know. Smile and I repeat smile – maybe try to do it for the job. Be honest in your conversations and do not create unnecessary lies. Greet people while having eye contact and professional respect. Do not assume you know general things but rather ask – for example do not assume to know where the bathrooms are instead of just asking at the reception.

8. Relax and be bold – job interview can be funny

Relax and be bold – breathe in and out and get ready to speak. Perhaps take a glass of water and make sure your voice is in condition to speak. For a physical interview take time to bring your mind to the place and the task ahead by just going through some magazines or reading material provided. You never know maybe one of their biggest project is inside and you might get an insight or a question to ask.

9. Show some energy, interest and passion for both the company and the position

Hiring managers like people who are energetic and are passionate about their company’s mission and goals.

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10. Know the hiring manager on introductions

Try by all means to pick the names of the interview panel and their job departments. It is good to identify the hiring manager who is the person you will be reporting to.

11. Time to sell yourself

Demonstrate why you are the rightful candidate for the position. This is the most vital part of the job interview. Observe and understand non-verbal communication. Tie you answers to your skills and accomplishments while not forgetting the skills required for the position. When asked a question which you did not hear properly or think you need more time you can ask the person to come again on the question or rephrase it. No one will penalize you for this but this rather gives you more time to think on how effectively to answer a question.

Show that your the rightful candidate by highlighting your relevant skills and experiences mentioned in the job descriptions. Know your resume. Be prepared to talk about your skills and experiences, and be able to link them to the job you are interviewing for.

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Always remember to quantify your accomplishments. Hiring managers and job interview panels want to hear numbers and more so, numbers show the actual impact of what you did. Do not just mention what you did and stop there – people want to hear the actual impact of what you did, hence the best ay is to put it in numbers. For example you can use phrases such as – this led to 30% increase in revenue….. or my intervention saw a 10% reduction in work place accidents.

12. Take key notes

Listen carefully and take key notes. You might need to refer back to your notes. This can be vital for more than one job interviews for the same post. That is why you are to bring a note book and a pen.

job interview
Taking Notes

13. Ask relevant and thoughtful questions

Job interview question time can be your best time to shine and let the panel talk more while you are listening. Show them you have done your homework about them. Questions depend on the company, position type and level of position, therefore you need to think through your questions before the interview day. The other quick method for questions on more than one interview is to use information alluded in the previous interview stage to ask a follow up question.

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Examples of questions to ask include:

  • What is the greatest challenge for this position?
  • What does a typical day look like for this position?
  • What is the next big news for this company that I can expect to hear in the near future?
  • A question to know more information about the company’s recent biggest and most impactful project eg Can you tell me more about the impact of your SolarSchools project which I recently read about in the news?

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14. Send a thank you note after the interview

This is a simple task but can go a long way to make the hiring manager remember you and how good you were in the job interview process. Furthermore it shows how good you are in communication.

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15. Finish and submit take-home assignment

If you have been given a small assignment during the job interview make sure to do it properly and submit in time.

If you have done the above well, relax and do your usual things waiting for a good response, via call or email. Job interview done!

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Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

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