Preparing for the perfect interview

You might have spent years getting the relevant finance or accounting education and certifications. You might have been an exemplary employee or have glowing recommendations from your previous employers. You might have spent hours fine tuning and perfecting your CV and knowledge of the industry. However, the final face to face interview will still likely be the most important deciding factor in the hiring process. The interview is, after all, the first real opportunity for the employer to gauge whether you fit in with their organisational culture, if you have the right attitude, your clarity of thought, your leadership ability and the personal drive to excel.

How to prepare for the interview

Know the role inside out

When you apply for a particular role, do extensive research on what the job really entails. Look up people who do a similar job on LinkedIn and learn as much as you can. Does the role require multitasking, tight deadlines, some specific sector knowledge? Are you going to interact more with internal stakeholders or customers? Do you need to have an aggressive sales-like approach or a detail-orientated work style? Feel free to call up contacts and ask them about it, even in the company that you are applying to. The idea is that on the day of the interview, the employer should feel confident that you would fit in well and hit the ground running on day one.

Ask the right questions

Yes, every new employee would like to know how the hours are or what are the growth prospects. But the truth is you would make a better impression by asking questions that signal that you are ready to add value to your role right from the outset. Read about the challenges and developments that affect the role that you are applying to and then ask what the company’s take is on those issues. Chances are the interviewer has already thought about these challenges and he would be glad to know that you are thinking along similar lines! You would not likely be expected to know a lot, but enough to demonstrate that you can think logically on these issues.

Soft skills

Even if you lack some of the hard skills, you can learn them over the course of a few months. If, for example, you are lacking knowledge in one particular area, you can take a course or certification and be prepared. However, soft skills take a long time to develop and depend on your personal attitude. Most managers spend the majority of their time communicating – your ideas or knowledge might not be too useful if you can’t covey them effectively over emails or verbally. Similarly, you might not be able to do everything on your own, but can you convince others to help you and are you in turn willing to help others? After all, everyone is on the same team. Understand that the employer is not just selecting an employee but also a colleague.  They would be spending a fair amount of time interacting with you and they would rather have someone who can be part of a coherent team and bring out the best in everyone.

12-04-2017

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