Guest Article: Checklist – Preparation for the personal interview.
Be well prepared when you get the opportunity to meet the company associated with your unsolicited job search.
A meeting with the company is a golden opportunity to stand out, and therefore thorough preparation is definitely a good investment.
Here are some suggestions of useful preparation points:
1. Objectives and targets of the meeting
Basically, you want a job in the company, but perhaps the company has no concrete position for you right now. Decide beforehand exactly what you want to take away with you from the meeting, for example:
• What information do you want about the company?
• Possible hedging opportunities in other departments, including relevant contacts?
• Acceptance that you may become a future employee.
• Agreement that you follow up regularly to identify any upcoming opportunities.
2. Who are you meeting?
Who are you going to meet? Are you meeting a department manager and perhaps your future boss, who you need to convince that there is good chemistry between you guys, that you are a dedicated worker and that you will be able to create value in your workplace? In order to convince them, you must have good knowledge about the business, possible tasks and possible success criteria.
3. What would you like the conversation to show?
• Mental preparation – what do they see when they meet you? What do you want them to experience from the interview?
• Your motivation – why are you passionate about BOTH job and the company?
• Your success stories – what needs to be told, and how do you tell them, even if you are not asked directly about the success stories?
4. How do you present yourself?
Prepare a presentation of yourself that lasts about 3-5 minutes.
Here you need to match your experience, skills, personality and motivation together with that of the company and the respective department’s focus area.
5. Why do you want to work for the company?
The company wants to know that you are passionate about the business, and also about the type of tasks you will be given in the specific department
6. How will you create value?
Make sure you have some examples, on hand, which easily show how you will be able to create value to the company.
7. Prepare examples of success stories
Think about good examples from your education or from previous jobs, where you have a success story that might be relevant. Remember to bring these up, if the opportunity presents itself.
8. Get yourself prepared for some of the “classic” questions:
• What are your strengths? Select 3-5 strengths that are relevant to the company and the prospective job.
• What are your weaknesses? Mention a few and remember to show that you are in fact well aware of these, and are focused on working to improve them.
• How do you cooperate with others? Prepare examples of both when it has gone well and less well.
• How do you prioritize your tasks? What is most important?
• What are your goals in the long term? What would you like to be working with in for example 5 years time ?
• What expectations do you have in terms of salary? Unless you yourself have a set criteria on the salary they offer you, you should try to get the company to indicate what they will offer. It will open your bargaining power when an employment contract finally does come into action.
9. Your own questions
For example questions you may have on corporate culture, success criteria, tasks etc.
10. Your personal appearance
• Dressing – Customize yourself appropriately to reflect the dress code of the company and its employees.
• Remember the firm handshake and eye contact
• First impressions – smile, be open, small talk
• Use open body language
- Be calm when you talk, take small pauses in your speech and speak clearly and empathetically.
This article was originally written in Danish, by Sanne Juel, Career Counselor, for CA Karrierepartner og a-kasse for højtuddannede i erhvervslivet. The article has been translated by CBSLife writer, Mihika Deb. To read the original piece and find out more – click here.