Thank you for taking the time…Congratulations. After days/weeks/months of applying doing various numerical/reasoning/verbal tests, you finally get an opportunity for a new role. Adrenaline subsides and you realise now it is time to prepare for the interview. This blog will take you through some of the things you should be doing to prepare for the interview and things you should be doing to improve your chances of getting an interview.
Theory and Practice
Step one research. You may have been applying to so many companies that when you finally get the congratulations email you don’t even know who they are. First question: Who is the company? Start making notes on who they are relative to the job that you have applied for and start making links between the two. An example is you have just been invited for an interview for a Software Developer position and the company sells cloud solutions, start to research and begin to make links on how you can offer to help grow the company.
Step two investment. You are at a stage where you have made the notes and now it is time to practice, what I mean with investment is time and practice. It is very important to practice the type of interview you are going into whether that is a group interview or a one to one interview. The theory is one thing, making notes is another but practicing is the final piece to the puzzle. This can be with career counselors, family members, mentors, etc… The reason you practice is because it helps you with communication which leads me onto the perfect interview fallacy.
The Perfect Interview Fallacy
Technical ability on its own is not enough. These days you need to be able to communicate, especially with the world being more agile and more cross-business where people have to talk to more of the business. You can be the most technically gifted person in the world but if you do not know how to express that in an interview or when applying for jobs, it is very difficult to succeed especially with people determined interviews (PDI’s). So, practice talking about your craft by writing in such a way that people outside your industry can understand it, practice having the conversation with peers, friends and putting yourself out there with networking events. How you cultivate this, and the other previous steps is with Structure.
To emphasise the point, I am not talking about the type of interview which is purely determined algorithmically which is to say not determined by an online numeric test or verbal reasoning test.Disclaimer
Step three structure. Consistency is key and being able to find the time to put together in theory and practice, dealing with everyday life things like working and studying, it is important to have a rough understanding of your schedule and then trying to incorporate researching interviews/job opportunities and going to networking events such as those offered by your universities or other external events.
The Feedback Loop
How do you know something works? Feedback. Likewise, when something does not work, you need to figure out why. If you are a programmer and something does not work the way you expect it to, you read feedback from a stack trace. Information is gold if something does not work, you need to find out why by seeking/asking for feedback wherever possible. This leads me to the fourth and final stage Evaluation.
Step four evaluation. It is always good practice to reflect after a journey, whether that be applying for jobs, taking part in an interview and below are a couple of questions to help with self-improvement:
- Have I answered/written in such a way that shows this company can take an interest?
- Am I applying RISE principles? As explained here and in this blog.
The truth in black and white
Thank you for taking the time…Unfortunately. Despite putting things into practice and feeling like you had a great interview there might be factors outside your control that mean you may not have gotten the role, things with PDI’s discussed in the perfect interview fallacy section. It is important not to take it personally. You can only focus on things within your control and focusing outside of your control only wastes the currency of time. You have to make it as hard as possible for companies to say no and following these steps will enable you to do so.
There you have it, the interview for those searching for a methodology to follow as a guide to applying for a role, improving your chances of getting the interview to hopefully succeed in getting the role.