“The first impression is the most important. As well as the second one” said Sir Richard Branson, giving people advice on success. Thinking about having a conversation with a person you just met, whom a lot of things depend on, carries a certain burden, a fear of leaving a negative impression. Because of that, Experience team tried to help all of you who are embarking on this adventure called Work and travel program, and who still have to be interviewed for a job.
The best way to prepare for a job interview with an employer
Get informed about the employer
The key to preparing for the interview is getting informed about the company. Person that will be interviewing you will expect from you to be acquainted with basic information about the company. The information can be found on the company’s website by googling or by asking someone in the agency. One example is the preparation for the interview with Hard Rock Café that we prepared before the job fair.
Think about your appearance
Take some time to pick right clothes for the interview. One of the most important impressions is the first one, so make sure you look professional and you will most likely make a good impression. Also, make sure the picture in your resume (CV) looks professional, as well as your Skype profile (make sure the picture is professional and that your username is not party maniac). So you have to be cheerful and approachable, especially if you are applying for the advanced training in hospitality.
Plan your interview and be prepared on time. Check if your Skype is working properly and that you have good Internet connection. Call a friend on Skype to check if your camera and microphone are working properly. Be confident and keep smiling. A lot.
Prepare your answers to the most frequently asked questions
The best candidate previously gets informed about what the job entails, thinks about the questions that can be asked, and plan their answers well. Some of them even practice with their friends. Expect questions that are related to your job. Do not expect basic questions like: “what is the weather like” or ”tell me about your family”. 25 most frequently asked question on interviews in the USA are the following:
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Why should I hire you?
3. What work experience have you had?
4. How has your education prepared you for this internship?
5. Do you work better in a team or on your own?
6. What is your greatest weakness?
7. What is your greatest strength?
8. How would your professor describe you?
9. How would your co-workers describe you?
10. What would your employer tell me about you?
11. What qualities do you have which will make you a good employee?
12. Tell me about any major obstacles you have overcome in your life?
13. Why do you want this position?
14. What’s the most important thing you will do on your first day of work?
15. Why are you the best candidate for this internship?
16. Tell me about a stressful situation in a past job and how you handled it.
17. Tell me about your interests.
18. What do you hope to achieve from this program?
19. How can you contribute to this company?
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
21. What led you to your field of study?
22. Describe a situation where you worked as a team. How did you contribute?
23. Why did you want to be part of this program?
24. What is your greatest success?
25. What is your greatest failure?
It is very important to understand American way of thinking about talking about yourself, previous experiences and education.
- Soften your weaknesses and failures. Saying “I am lazy” or “I am always late” will not get you a job. If you have these traits you have to overcome them by pushing yourself or buying a new alarm clock. Typical American answer to the question ”What is your weakness” would be something like „It’s difficult for me to stop before the job is done. This may annoy others because I just can’t rest until task is complete“. Do you get the point?
- Never talk negatively about your previous job, boss, co-workers or school. Even if you do have a negative experience, find something positive to say about it. For example „There was often confusion in the kitchen, but this taught me the importance of being organized, calm and to assist coworkers as needed.“
Prepare questions that you can ask the interviewer
The person interviewing you expects from you to ask them at least one question during the interview. If you fail to do see, you may leave a negative impression. Of course it is not the time to ask if you will have some days off, raise, etc. Here are some suggestions that you can ask the interviewer:
1. What would a typical work day be like?
2. If selected when would you like me to start?
3. What are my job responsibilities?
4. Is there anything else you would like to know about me?
5. What is the next step in the interview process?
Last two remarks
Tell the person interviewing you for the job/internship. Do not be embarrassed. Say something like: “I would be honored to be part of your team. I have worked hard at school and in past jobs and I am ready to work hard for your company. I promise to do an excellent job. You will not be disappointed!”. Of course, in your own words. Or “THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME”!
By being kind and thankful for the dedicated time you will show that you are professional.
Article taken from Experience Agency, based in Serbia, with offices in Bosnia and Croatia
This post is also available in: RS