Updated: Aug 26, 2019
There are tons of articles that teach job seekers how to prepare for an interview. Surrealistic and blocking questions from recruiters, twisted answers from candidates, tricky scenarios complete the menu.
Several methods suggest to prepare certain answers to specific questions. That is an issue, because if you reproduce some memorized answers, where do you start or end your own thoughts? After the interview there is an overall picture of you mixed with the perfectly prepared answers. Be true to yourself and show people who you are and not what they want you to be, because in case of a successful hire they will have to deal with the real you. And that's not good news if you fake the answers.
Stereotypical recruiting questions are more likely to disappear. Companies today are more willing to hear the story of the job seeker, to understand the personality sitting on the other side of the table. A couple of years ago, one of my candidates (an experienced C# Developer, but a free spirit by definition) joked to one of my client's questions “where he sees himself in 5 years”, he replied “on a spaceship to Mars”. Of course, the allusion was misunderstood. However, recruiters and hiring managers are working on new approaches during the interview in order to collect more accurate details about the candidate and predict more efficiently whether he/she fits the role and corporate culture well.
My advice is to prepare only for the following topics before a job interview:
Research about the hiring company: The recruiter or hiring manager will see this as a sign of interest for the company’s activity. You should conduct an online search about the company, its activities, the team, its reputation and employee satisfaction. You can also ask friends, acquaintances or your network members about the work environment offered by the company. Nevertheless, try not to focus on work-related rumors or fake news.
Familiarize yourself with the information about the open role: Recruiters and hiring managers want to see informed people who know what the interview and role is about. A cursory read of the job description won’t make a good impression. Reading and understanding the role is also seen as a sign of interest. Asking further questions related to aspects not mentioned in the job description are always welcome.
Think about whether you really want to join their team: Participating in any interview offered, regardless of your interest, is not a sport, but a waste of time and hope on both sides. Of course, you can decide after an interview whether you fit into the company environment, but if you have 80% doubts at the beginning, just ask yourself whether the effort for a recruitment process is worth it.
I wish all the job seekers out there good luck. Stay true to your convictions, show interest towards the hiring company and impress your audience.