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Tips for preparing an interview

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What can I expect from the interview?

Interviewing is the core part in the process of getting a job. It’s the first real personal contact between you and the employers. You will both have set your objective, so it’s of the utmost importance that you prepare yourself well and know what to expect from the interview. At SIRE Life Sciences® we want to help you to become a confident discussion partner during the entire interview process. Hiring- and Human Resource managers will check your suitability for the job by asking questions that give you the opportunity to prove your abilities and personality.

What are the interview types and formats?

Interview types

  • Face-to-face interview
    This type of interview will be the most common and consists of multiple stages. You might start with a qualification interview with the HR department, before they send you over to the line manager or the director of the company.

  • Panel interview
    There will be 3-4 company members present during your interview. They will all have their own objectives and afterwards the interviewers will review you amongst each other. This way they can make decisions more efficiently.

  • Group interviews
    This would most likely be during the first round. You will be interviewed together with other applicants for the same position. There are often group exercises and the interviewers will observe how you work in a team.

  • Telephone interview
    This type of interview will be used for an initial screening. They will assess your motivation, skills and what you were exactly involved in at your current employer. This type of interview will be used when there is a long distance between you and the employer, when there is not enough time or when there are any doubts about you being the right candidate.

Interview formats

  • Technical interview
    Mostly done concerning jobs requiring a (high) technical knowledge. You will most likely be asked technical questions, which are focused on real or hypothetical technical problems. The interviewers will be interested in your thought process.

  • Competency base interview
    The competencies and qualities required for the job will be assessed. This interview is all about showing your skills and abilities to work by the standards the company work by. You will be asked to answer questions using examples of your own experience.

  • Portfolio based interview
    You might be asked to bring a portfolio of your work to the interview. The interviewers will have an in-depth discussion about your previous work and experiences, how you analyse problems and how you solve them.

  • Case study interview
    You will be presented with a real or hypothetical business problem. You will be assessed on your analysis of the problem, how you classify the key issues, how you follow a particular line of thinking and how you organize your beliefs. This kind of interviewing is generally done during a final interview or assessment.

What are the steps of an interview?​

Within our long-lasting experience of preparing managers and candidates for interviews, we have found the following 4 steps take place during an interview:

1. Introduction

  • When you arrive at the company location and you have to wait for your interviewer, take the time to check the lobby for relevant company information. We would advise you to stand, instead of sitting down. Be polite to everyone, as they might become your new colleagues.

  • Be prepared and start communicating at the moment of introduction. To break the ice, prepare an opening quote to start off with.

  • Remember that the first impression is one of the most important aspects of the interviewing process.

  • Be thankful for the time your interviewer has given you.

  • Go into dialogue with your interviewer. Keep your answers short and relevant and don’t forget to take time to ask questions yourself.

  • At the first interview it is of the utmost importance that you show your motivation, ambition and the will to succeed; most importantly why you want the job and why you are the best person for that specific job.

2. The job

  • This part consists of the cross selling of your knowledge: your CV, the job specification and your common knowledge.

  • Show your ‘added value’ to the job profile.

  • Imagine yourself in the hiring managers shoes, what would he or she be looking for?

  • Remember what your USP’s (Unique Selling Points) are. Which are relevant to the job that you’re applying for?

  • For every USP you mention, make a relevant example about your experience and achievements at your current or previous job.

  • Your recruitment consultant will inform you of the reasons behind the vacancy and what kind of specifics the hiring manager is looking for. Keep these in mind and sell yourself, in honesty, to your interviewer(s).

3. Questions

  • Always ask the interviewer questions. If you don’t ask questions, it implicates that you already have a full understanding of the job, the company and the people you will work with. It can be interpreted as a lack of interest!

  • Through questioning you can take control of the interview. Ask questions about a subject you know a lot about; this is the time to show your knowledge and enthusiasm.

  • Keep in mind that you don’t want to ask questions you could simply find the answer to on the company website. Also be careful with questions that could be interpreted as humiliating or too criticizing.

4. Closing

  • This is the most important part of the interview. This is the time to check if you understand each other, if you’re on the ‘same page’.

  • Are there any doubts, is there anything you didn’t make clear during the interview, do they have any unanswered questions?

Ask about the rest of the process. What is the next step?

  • If you are really enthusiastic about the job and you want to proceed, make a short summary about the interview. Where does the company stand, what do they expect from their new employee and who you will work with? This summary shows that you have listened and understand where they are looking for.

  • Be thankful for the manager’s time and effort to have this interview with you.

Questions you can ask yourself before the interview:

  • Why should the company hire me?

  • Why do I want to work for this company?

  • Why do I want this particular position?

  • Does my experience match the company’s needs?

  • How can I be of added value to this company?

  • How will I get myself across to the interviewer?

  • What kind of questions do I have about the company, job profile and the people that work there?

  • Do I have a clear motivation for the position and the company?

  • How did I prepare myself?

  • What else can I do?

  • Do research on the company website and have a look at social media websites like LinkedIn, Xing, etc.

  • Always print out your CV for the people who will be involved in the process.

  • Wear business attire. Your local recruitment consultants will advise you on this.