Monday, 2 april 2018 | Redacción CEU
Being late for the appointment, talking badly about the company or the previous boss, doubting when responding or showing little interest are some of the most frequent mistakes when performing a job interview, but one of the most serious errors when applying to a position is not giving importance to its preparation. Although each interview is different, there are many questions that can be planned before attending it and; why not considering them when the candidate's future may depend on the interview development? What steps must an applicant follow before going to an interview? How can a prepared candidate become into a hired professional?
The interview is the litmus test of the recruiting process. In a large extent, the future hiring will depend on how candidates face it. Applicants usually confront this situation with some concern, however, this will decrease as they prepare themselves. If before attending it, they have considered the possible scenarios that they could find, the stress during the interview will be easier to confront. Questions will not take interviewees by surprise, because most of them will follow a pattern. In fact, being nervous in the proper measure can help candidates to pay more attention in details, be more energetic in their interventions and be on guard against possible mistakes.
They call the candidate, this person picks up the phone and they set an interview. Maybe the candidate is not aware, but the interview has already begun. From the first contact, recruiters are obtaining information about candidates: how they answer, what is their attitude, if they are interested in the job or not,... Many of them will search the candidates on their social networks or "googling" their names to get to know more details about who they are -candidates could also do the same if they knew who will their interlocutors be-. This search can even be decisive for a possible discarding, caring for the personal branding is a fundamental task in this digitalized society. On the other hand, that period of time prior to the interview can be very useful for the applicants to collect information about the company. It is not about getting to know all the details of the company, but about understanding what their corporate values are, what services or products they sell, what philosophy they follow or how their communication is. This documentation process will also allow candidates to value if the position fits to what they are looking for.
Something that can help the applicants is to put themselves in the interviewer's shoes, understanding what they want to get to know and responding sincerely to it. The goal of the company is to find the perfect person for the vacancy. The applicant has to convince the recruiter that he/she is the most appropriate person for the position and for that it can be very useful to reflect on the questions that the interviewee wants to answer: What does he/she know to do?, How sure is he/she that they can perform the job? Is he/she able to learn new skills? Do his/her principles fit with the values promoted by the company? Will he/she adapt well to the rest of the team? Will he/she have a good attitude? Why do I want to hire him/her?
A job interview is an infrequent interaction with a great imbalance of power. It is usually an uncomfortable and intimidating activity for aspirants in which they precisely must know how to prove their value, confidence, skills and strengths. Facing the interview naturally and addressing the interviewer's questions honestly can be their great asset, this way they can connect with the interviewer and establish a more real communication. It is not all about attending the interview ready to improvise, because knowing the most frequent questions or what mistakes should be avoided is very important, but often it is those little details outside the traditional script that make the interviewer to recruit a postulant or another. Finding a point of connection with the interlocutor can make a difference. Candidates do not have to be afraid of stopping to think a complicated question, expressing that they want to think a complex answer, mention something that they consider important if they have forgotten before or asking questions about the company, the rest of the team or the job position.
Although it may seem obvious, applicants must know their resumes well, if they forget important details about them, it may seem that they are tricking the interviewer. The accuracy of the dates is not as important as knowing how to demonstrate their competences and aptitudes. The process of preparation for the candidate requires a certain point of introspection. When reviewing the resumé, candidates have to try to observe it with perspective and identify what their strengths and weaknesses may be to take advantage of them and knowing how to avoid or deal with possible complex questions. The impact that the candidate causes in the interview can compensate their weak points. On the other hand, it is always recommendable to take several copies of the resumé to the interview, either in the case that the interviewers do not have it or to use it as a guide at some specific moments.
There is only one opportunity to make the first impression, so it is important to know how to take advantage of it. Apart from taking care about the image that the candidates project has a professional style and fits to the position for which they are nominated, it is advisable that the candidates visit the place where they will be interviewed few days before in order to calculate the time that it takes to arrive and not falling in the mistake of being late that day. In addition, being close to the place where the meeting will be held half an hour before, can help the candidate to calm nerves and avoid unforeseen circumstances.
There are different types of interviews according to different criteria (group, individual, of competence, motivational, telephone interviews among others). There are even some interviews conducted by robots. Getting to know the type of interview that they are going to face is an advantage. On some occasions, these interviews can be more intimidating, like tension interviews -where candidates must not lose their temper- or panel interviews in which the candidate faces several interviewers -a good way to overcome it is to try to establish a link with each interviewer-.
It is likely that many professionals are not successful in several interviews along their careers. However, all interviews are important, they should never give up or consider a refusal as a failure, because everybody can learn a lot from them.
We live in a business and social environment where excellence and innovation are key in the organizational transformation. A change in leadership and people management is taking place simultaneously. At the CEU IAM Business School we are aware that not only candidates need to be increasingly prepared -hence our wide range of training programs-, but also those who sit in the other side of the table in interviews, precisely because of this, we have designed an Advanced Program in Human Resources, Talent Management and Leadership (online).