Entering Work 101: The Opening Act

17-08-2014 | 1 Min Read

Photo credit: Kersten A. Riechers | Flickr

It’s the big day. You’ve made it past the exhausting rehearsals and the backstage fuss, and now you’re about to grace the centre stage for the opening scene.

In our case, our play is opening with Act 1 Scene 1: The Big Interview. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your role:

 

1. Do your research

The truth: I didn’t do any research before my interview. To give a bad excuse, Leaderonomics is “not a ‘straightforward’ company. (It’s a social enterprise, by the way.) You can find out what we do here!

Because of that, my interviewer had to give me a run-through of the company. Embarrassing.

Read up on your company’s vision and mission. It would help a lot if you come across the question, “Why do you want to join this company?”

To go the extra mile, go ahead and find out the name of your interviewer beforehand. When you’re introduced to him/her, initiate the conversation by asking, “You’re ______, right?”
Related post: Infographic: Top 10 Ways To Make A Positive Impression During Job Interviews

 

2. Dress the part

People will judge you based on your appearance – your future employer included. Although I wish it wasn’t true, how we present ourselves may sometimes play a large role in determining whether or not we get the job.

Depending on the company that you apply to, interview attires will vary. If your possible workplace is a professional firm, a suit paired with conservative dress shoes are the best bet for guys. For the ladies, a suit, with either pants or a skirt, paired with a pair of court shoes.

If you’re applying to work in an office with a more casual dress code, go ahead and wear brighter colours, and ditch the blazers if you wish. (You can read more advice on appearance here.)

 

3. Be prepared

Show your interviewer that you’re ready for anything. Print out your important qualifications, your CV (curriculum vitae), and anything else that may be necessary. File them neatly in a clear plastic folder, and you’re set! Bring a pen and notebook too, just in case.

Soon, you find yourself going up the elevator, on the way to your interview. You’re scared and you’re nervous.

We can’t take away your feelings of nervousness, but we can make sure that you’re covered for your interview, and hopefully help you impress your interviewer.
Watch this video:

Dos and don’ts of job interviews

DO: Practise your answers. Although interviewers are beginning to step up their game and swerve from the usual questions, majority of them still stick to a select, predictable few. Most common ones include:

  • Can you tell me more about yourself?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Describe a situation in which you were in a leadership position.
  • Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.

There are many ways and strategies to answer these questions, and as I’ve only been interviewed a grand total of one time, my advice may be fallible.

Nonetheless, my advice is simple: answer truthfully and humbly, but not foolishly. If you speak on your failures, don’t only bring emphasis to the negatives in your experiences. Likewise, if you speak on your successes, don’t overdo it.

Here are a few more methods to answer the most common interview questions.

DON’T: Have no questions prepared. Make sure you have a few prepared for when your interviewer ends with, “Do you have any questions for me?”

DO: Remember to follow up! Send your interviewer a short ‘thank you’ text or email within the same day as your interview. It is not only a polite thing to do, but is also a reminder to them of your application. This sets you apart from other applicants as well.

DON’T: Be late. This point pretty much speaks for itself, as everybody likes a punctual worker. Moreover, coming in late would show that you aren’t serious about the job.

DO: Showcase positive body language. Make eye contact and practise a straight posture. It shows that you are confident, interested and attentive. However, don’t make it uncomfortable with prolonged stares.

Lastly, DO be yourself. Everybody sings the same old song about being yourself – as if it’s so definitive. Nonetheless, stay true to your heart. Interviewers aren’t purely looking for the best employee, but rather a person with personality.

After ensuring that everything is in check, you’re good to go. Just remember to play your part well – be confident, be honest, and be yourself. Break a leg!

 

Write to editor@leaderonomics.com if you need some pep talk before your next interview, or if you have anything to share!

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