One of the biggest factors leading to nervousness and lack of confidence in any situation, especially attending an interview, is being unprepared. Aside from better self-control, being prepared will help you answer interview questions better and establish a professional image of yourself to the employers.
1. Update, edit and study your resume.
Make sure your interview contains up-to-date details about yourself including the basics such as a new address or phone number. People often forget to include details such as volunteering involvements and classes taken for extra skills. Both are important.
Then, you should edit it according to the job you’re applying for. For example, putting in your part-time experience at Starbucks is good if you’re applying for a job in Food & Beverage (F&B). However, leave it out if you’re applying for a job in fields like Engineering or IT which heavily emphasise skills and experience in the field.
Finally, go through your resume and analyse every word. The interviewers may not look at everything but they can ask anything about what you put in your resume. So think of the questions and follow-up questions you might get for everything in your resume and prepare answers. You should know and understand everything. Don’t memorise!
2. Know the details of the interview.
Where, when, what to wear and so on. These are simple questions but if you don’t know the answers, you will be in big trouble.
It’s okay to be early to an interview but unforgivable to be late so find out where and when and then plan on the best time to go to the interview venue. This is especially important for those of you who are using public transportation.
When it comes to attire, prepare clean and ironed clothes for the interview. Make sure you dress appropriately. For most interviews, putting on a suit is a good idea but a shirt and slacks combo is fine. For women, a shirt and skirt (no shorter than above the knee) is good. For Muslim women, make sure your hijab is neatly done.
3. Know the job.
Regardless of what position you’re applying for, you must know and understand at least two things about it:
i) What are your responsibilities?
ii) What are the skills needed?
For these questions, Google is usually your best friend but if Google can’t help, then find people with experience and ask them. Social media can be a powerful tool for networking, use it wisely.
But these are just the basic questions. Most of your competitors who are applying for the job will also be studying this. Go the extra mile and stand out by finding out more information.
4. Know the organisation.
This comes in handy for the “Why do you want to work here?” kind of questions. It allows you to show off both professionalism and enthusiasm.
Again, Google is your best friend but social media is your third best friend this time. LinkedIn is your second best friend as many companies have a profile there and post a lot of info there. Going to the organisation’s website and reading their “About Us” section is a good start. Find out all you can about the organisation but don’t try too hard to memorise all the details. Just make sure you’re able to understand their:
i) Vision & Mission
iii) Company size
v) Market/Field influence