The Ultimate Mini Guide to Acing Your Next Job Interview

Job interviews. An opportunity for change and a reason to cringe, it’s funny the whole process of landing an interview. Many folks when they apply for a role, just fire off their CV and hope for the best, next thing you know they see a notification or get a call from a manager requesting an interview. The emotional roller coaster can shift from excitement to anxiousness in a heartbeat.  To calm your nerves and ease some stress our team at Proem created this quick guide that will hopefully make your next job interview a breeze.

Prepare, Relax & Rest

Preparing for a job interview will ease the pressure when meeting with a potential employer, you’ll feel more confident knowing that you’re ready and well rested. People sometimes go overboard when it comes to preparing and two things can happen, they psych themselves out so that when the actual interview does actually happen they’re jittery or they go in overconfident thinking they are getting the job and end up sounding too robotic when asked a question.  When you find out the interview date, do some research and learn more about the company.

  • Learn About the Company. Look into its history, mission statement, competition, and financials if they’re available. Go online and check out product or service reviews, scan their social media pages and find employee reviews to see how their current or past workers feel about working there.
  • Think About Your Current or Most Recent Job. This is 100% coming up, so have a concrete answer about what you do on a day to day basis, your accomplishments, and challenges. Make sure you communicate this well to a prospective employer so they can assess if you’re their ideal candidate.
  • Have Some Questions You’d Like to Ask. While you’ll likely be bombarded by questions in an interview, remember it’s okay for you to ask them anything you want about the company or role. Employment is a two-way street and while you’re there to work for an employer, you need a sense of clarity on whether this is the right role for you.
  • Plan Your Travel Route & Outfit. Nothing says you’re not interested than showing up late for an interview. Maybe if there’s a giant meteorite shower or Godzilla breaks the subway it’s probably okay to be late but if that doesn’t happen be ready to show up on time.  Also iron your clothes or at least take them out the night before so it’s not all helter-skelter come interview day.

Interview Day

Having a good start will set the tone and flow of the interview here are a few minor things you can do to get the ball rolling.

  • Show Up on Time. As the saying goes, the first impression is the only impression unless you’re the person that’s going to save the world from itself, your next employer won’t be too pleased if you’re late to an interview. Showing up late will only make them question your reliability and judgment.
  • Be Aware of Your Body Language. Don’t act nervous! You know why? Because at the end of the day you can’t lose a job you never had. Think about it like that, you truly have nothing to lose, so lay it on the line and be yourself. Use the normal conversational body language you would use when chatting with a good friend, demonstrate to the interviewer your confidence by having strong body language.
  • Depending on the seniority of the role, employers want to know that the person they hire next can help steer the ship in rough waters. When you enter the room, have a firm handshake, have a firm tone in your voice and smile. Once you’re seated be yourself and relax whatever happens it won’t matter you can only learn from it either way.
  • Be Personable. When there is more than one interviewer, candidates often forget to make contact periodically with everyone during the interview so each person feels like they are equally engaged in the conversation. You want the interviewer(s) to feel like to you’re engaged and attenuative, when you create that vibe with the person(s) you’re speaking with you’ll have the leverage to move the conversation into the direction you want to.

What They Might Ask

At the end of the day, interviews happen in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so the recruitment and staffing pros at Proem listed some of the common questions we ask candidates when we screen them. We’re certain any employer will probably ask similar questions in one form or another.

  • Small Talk. Almost every interaction starts off with some kind of petty small talk, like how was your commute? Or about the weather or some kind of local event. This is just an icebreaker something that an employer or recruiter might mention to kind of set the tone or lead into another question about yourself so don’t overthink this at all.
  • Tell me About Yourself. This is one of our favorite questions because this is a great opportunity to give your potential employer subtle details about your personality and your journey. Talk about how you ended up where you are today and don’t forget to mention the details that make us all human. Discuss your hobbies, interests and life goals communicating this right off that bat lets an employer know there’s more to you than just work. Once you recap your past, and personalities use this question as a transition to also discuss what your goals are for your next role and how you can make an impact on their company.
  • Tell Us About Your Strengths and Weaknesses. This is question will be key for an employer to gain an inside look into where you are in terms of professional development. At Proem, our recruitment teams usually find that candidates spend a lot of time discussing their strengths and then when it comes to weaknesses they’ll give a BS answer like, I work too hard or my weakness is staying too late. Understandably no one wants to answer a question on where they are weak but it is important for an employer to see you can accept criticism and that you’re also aware of where you need to grow.
  • Why do you want to work here? Use the research and digging you did in the prep phase to describe what you like about the firm and how it connects to your longer-term goals. Employers want to see that you’re committed to staying with them for the long haul. Try to point out unique factors about the company likes its value proposition or their position in the industry and why it’s a unique opportunity to work with
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years or 10 years? LOL, this question can be quite the stressor in an interview. Let’s be real here folks, most of us don’t even know what we’re doing next month and now you’re in an interview where they want to know about the next five? Breathe, your interviewer understands this is always a tough one for a lot of people so there’ no right answer ever. We typically recommend suggesting that you want to build on your current skills and evolve into a leadership role of some kind. -Employers like to see go-getters and those with drive and ambition.

Be sure to listen carefully and not sound too scripted or monotone when answering these questions, think of it as a natural conversation remove that added pressure of it being an interview.

Situational Questions

This the part of an interview where tougher questions tend to be asked and a prospective employer will start to pick away at your past to determine if you’re as good as you are on paper. This may include scenario-based questions or example driven questions.

  • Tell Us About a Time When. These types of questions are asked to see how you react when you’re put in awkward or stressful situations and your intuition while under pressure. They may want to know about a time when you had multiple tasks, or when there was an issue with a project or about dealing with a difficult person. These are just a few common examples.
  • Give an Honest Answer. Look there’s no need to cover up challenges along the way, it’s part of the process of continuous self-growth and improvement. If you try to cover it up when asked it may appear as though you’re trying to hide something being honest about what happened and how it was resolved will give you more brownie points and make you look like a superstar.
  • Don’t Sweat it. It’s okay if you need to a take a moment to answer, just take a deep breath, take a moment and communicate what you want to say.
  • Don’t Worry if This Leads to More Questions. If does it means that they’re genuinely interested and want to know more, don’t panic!

Wrapping it Up

As things slowly grind to a halt, leaving them with a good impression is almost as important as the first impression. Based on our industry experience, the ideal interview length is between 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

  • Ask your Questions. A lot of people fail to do this but we firmly believe that is crucial to getting a deeper look into the company. Whatever you need to ask, ask, we believe there is no such thing as a bad question. Avoid bringing up questions regarding salary and bonus, you don’t want to give them the vibe you’re going to be taking to them to the cleaners, instead ask for a range but make sure this isn’t the first thing you ask. Ask things about the work-life balance, the role, other team members or benefits pretty much anything that will put your mind at ease when you start.
  • Adapt & Adjust. Some of the questions you listed during the prep phase may not be relevant so adjust your questions accordingly, don’t ask something that was already answered as it may look like you weren’t paying attention. On that note, you may have new questions to ask based on the conversation, just keep this in mind and adjust as required.
  • Ask for a Tour. This will show them that you’re genuinely interested but will also give you an opportunity to observe working conditions and the office as a whole. You want to get a good understanding of whether or not you’d see yourself working there.
  • Stay Calm & Collected. Walk out of there like you’ve already got the job, give a firm handshake, maintain eye contact smile and stay professional. Say something like, I look forward to hearing from you or we’ll chat soon as you leave to let them know you intend on following up irrespective of the outcome.

 While interviews can be stressful no matter how long you’ve been in the workforce, we hope our step by step guide was able to give you some clarity and reassurance when it comes to finding your next gig.  When it comes to an interview your attitude should similar to a “nothing ventured nothing gained| who knows you may walk out of there realize your dream job wasn’t as good as you thought. Anyone that is actively or passively looking for a role can reach out to Proem’s team of professional recruiters & head-hunters.


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