How I prepare for online interviews: Part Two
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As promised, this blog will focus on what interview content I actually prepare, which would actually apply to both online and in-person interviews. All of the following goes in bullet pointed sections on my previously mentioned *magic sheet*, for easy referencing in case I get stuck! I do try and memorise most of what I’ve written, but having it handy is always useful.
- Lots (of complimentary things) to say about the organisation’s website, and about themselves! This may seem obvious, but to my Year 11 self preparing on a Friday night, following a full week of GCSE exams, for a 9am Saturday interview, that was itself, just before a performing arts rehearsal…it certainly was not. It just so happened that the first question I was asked was “What do you think of our website?” and I was more than a little stuck for words. Remember that companies like getting their ego boosted, and if you can find specific principles, values or even statistics that you admire about their company (ideally not just from their central home page, show them that you’ve actually investigated thoroughly)- they’ll love to hear it!
- A list of qualities that you think are important for the particular job, and specific examples of when you showed said qualities. There is no point telling employers that you have good communication/time management /public speaking skills, if you can’t explain when and how you developed these skills! The best examples often come from recent previous employment/work experience opportunities, as these are more credible than anecdotal informal experiences, and more relevant than experiences you had years ago at secondary school! If you had to submit a cover letter before the interview, it’s totally fine to make the same points and examples in the interview as they’re the most important, but make sure you don’t read off your cover letter, and be prepared to expand about your experiences if asked!
- A list of common generic questions with ideas about your answers. Despite what interview practice websites say, in my experience, the so-called most common questions (“What is your biggest strength/weakness/what would you do in x situation?”) don’t seem to come up too much; the focus seems to be on qualities and experiences specific to the job. But, as is always the case, better safe than sorry!
- Questions you want to ask the employer. The first time I ever had a job interview, I made the mistake of not preparing any questions to ask because, quite simply, I didn’t have any. Incorrect! It doesn’t matter if you can’t think of any particularly deep/insightful questions (for example, for a teaching role, perfectly acceptable questions might be “What is the average class size?” or “Would I be working independently or under the supervision of another teacher?” ), but always have some questions ready, as it shows you’re truly interested in the position! Plus, as I mentioned before, companies love an ego boost, and I’m sure they would enjoy getting the chance to talk about themselves.
- Target language vocabulary (for Modern languages students). Finally, if you’re applying for a role specifically in a foreign country where you will need to use that language (such as for a work placement in the Year Abroad), be prepared to be asked some questions in the target language! I’ve only had one experience of this so far, and the questions were just simple GCSE questions about myself in order to gauge my ability in French, but some employers could well ask some of the job interview questions in the target language. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have written some adjectives to describe yourself, the translations of the positions you’ve had, and some filler words in case of a mind blank, in that target language on your magic sheet. Because you can’t just casually load up WordReference in the background during the interview. Unless you’re very subtle.
And that’s it for the contents of my magic sheet! Everyone likes to prepare for interviews in different ways, but if you’re stuck for ideas, I hope these two blogs have been helpful.😊
Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment below!