Personal interview

An invitation to personal interview means, first of all, a positive response to your previous activities and it should definitely be mentioned here. As a general rule, no one is going to invite you for an interview if you don’t get their attention first. An invitation means that you probably meet the necessary requirements but the employer has more candidates and needs to make sure to select the right one. This means that it is not enough just to be happy about the invitation. Preparations are necessary.
A personal interview can be defined as a meeting aimed at either strengthening or weakening our suitability for the given job. The goal is to persuade the employer about our qualities and capabilities of quality work performance.
The employer does not know us that well at this point; therefore the meeting is designed to obtain necessary information. This means that we should prepare for a number of questions. Those will concern our education, work experience, skills, knowledge, plans, needs etc. The timeframe of the meeting is limited, normally several tens of minutes. That is why it pays to prepare a summary of important information to be provided to the employer. This serves as a basis for an effective dialogue. It is necessary to realize that we will be speaking for several tens of minutes about our past, work experience, successes and failures, reasons of numerous changes, reasons of finding a new job, our plans, goals, needs etc. If we cannot set those things straight for ourselves, we can hardy persuade anyone else. Improvising is a very risky way to try to achieve an effective dialogue.

What will they ask about?

Candidates often think that you cannot really prepare for an interview because the questions asked are never the same. It is true that we never know in advance, exactly what questions a specific employer will ask. On the other hand, the employers – in general – ask various questions aiming at the same things. They want to know if we have what it takes to succeed in the job. This means that questions encountered during an interview often mean the same things.
For example:
  • “Why should we employ you of all people?” / “In what sense would you be a contribution for our company? “
  • “Tell us something about yourself.” / “Before we start, could you introduce yourself?”
  • “What is your idea of work you wish to do?” / “What would you like to do in our company?”
  • “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” / “Where do you think is your room for improvement? “
You see that the questions in the pairs above are different but their meanings are the same. This means that there is no need to look for an original reply to all those questions. Furthermore, our interviews normally concern similar positions, meaning that the employers tend to prefer similar qualities. Thus, certain questions will be more likely and it will be easy to review the replies throughout the process.
There are no right and wrong answers during a personal interview, there are only answers of higher and lower quality. That quality can be significantly influenced by due preparation.

Have the right information

One thing is true for almost all personal interviews: we will be preparing for a meeting regarding a specific vacancy in a specific company. It is therefore absolutely vital to know the work and portfolio of the company and it is also according to our knowledge of the two that our interest in the job will be measured. It would be truly absurd to fight for something that we don’t know that much about. We should therefore be able to assess the key requirements for the job, evaluate our abilities and present relevant arguments. This means that we should, first of all, ask ourselves whether we know what we aim for and if we truly have what it takes. Those very same arguments can be then used during a personal interview. The employer will target the questions in the same direction. When answering, the goal is not to recite what the employer wants to hear or even to lie. The key is to select out of the vast amount of information those pieces that are relevant with respect to the company and the vacancy. And if things don’t go as we planned? There will certainly be more interviews and that gives us room to improve. If nothing more, every interview is an excellent exercise.
There are people capable of succeeding without any preparation, relying on their “charm” and improvisation skills. Most of us, however, need some preparation and practice, which always gets us at least the experience.
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