Standard Interview Tips-Steve Obiakor

It has not occurred to many that scaling through a job interview is sometimes more difficult than passing a degree examination. It is easier to go into an examination hall and come out with an A, a B, or a C, but it’s not so easy with interviews. Remember that many job seekers with fantastic grades fail interview and remain for so long in the labour market. Having mastered the art of CV writing, and how to make your cover letter the toast of prospective employers, your next thought should be directed on how to make every interview count. Below are a few things you must put into consideration before attending that interview.
1. Enquire About the Organization:
You need to have enough information about the organization hiring you. It will not only aid you when you answer questions, it’ll also expose you to the vision and mission of the organisation. It will expose you to their goals and sometimes, their needs which may include why you are being hired. When this happens, you direct your discussions and answers towards plausible solutions to any challenge you feel the organization might be facing. Answers to such questions as: “How do you want to contribute to the growth of the company?” will be an easy sail!
2: Who is the CEO ?
Aside knowing the organization, you must be able to say a thing or two about the head of the organization. You will agree with me that most organizations are driven by the leadership style of the head. Knowing the head also means understanding more about the organization. Some years back, an applicant told me he was asked to say what he knew about Tony Elumelu, the then GMD of UBA. He had applied to UBA and was invited for interview but he didn’t know Tony Elumelu. When next you’re invited for an interview, find out who your prospective boss is.
3: Know the Job Description:
It beats my imagination that some applicants attend interview without knowing what the job is all about and what their responsibilities would be. Even if you’ve not worked in that capacity before, you need to research on that position. If you’ve worked in that capacity before, you need to be sure of your new responsibilities before attending; this is why most job adverts state the positions and sometimes, job descriptions and analysis. If you’re applying for the position of an accounts clerk for instance, what are the responsibilities of an account clerk in such an organization?
4: Leadership Thoughts:
Assuming the new position you’re applying for is a leadership one, what are your leadership thoughts? What do you think is expected of a leader generally and specifically in that industry? This is very important if you’ve not been in such a leadership position and the advert allows people like you to come for such interview. You need to find out the leadership roles expected of you. If you know them, you must let them show when answering your questions.
5: Physical Value
It is a well known fact that appearance plays a very important role in interview. This is what every body is aware of, but you find out that many are still found wanting in this regard. It is important to note that your appearance is not just the apparel or the style but also how it looks on you. You dress to look smart. You might be surprise that even the colour of your dressing has a lot to say. I was once on a board of interviewers when a young man walked in wearing a sky blue trouser, a white shirt and a red tie. Many wouldn’t see anything wrong with his dressing but my fellow panelists did not find it welcoming at all. It is therefore important that we pay optimum attention to everything dressing when attending interview. Cologne must not be too harsh; make up must be moderate and neat. Remember that your smile is part of your physical value.
6: Relax:
Interview panelists are not set of fault finders; they simply want you to sell yourself to them. So, there should be no reason for fidgeting. Being unnecessarily nervous shows lack of self confidence and believe me, that’s a very serious flaw. You must believe in yourself and consider yourself useful to them.
7: Salary Scale:
Do not oversell or undersell yourself. You must find out what such a position earns elsewhere. You should also make enquiries about the salary scale of the organization. Many have negotiated so high that they were never on the scale operated by the company and as such, the organization settles for someone less. This same person would’ve accepted the less pay if he/she knew. Some negotiated so low that they start regretting upon discovering what others were earning. However, some organizations do not
8: Communication:
You must understand that you sell yourself by what you say. A good CV must be properly defended. You need to prove that all skills stated are true, and this is done through proper presentation of who you are. Oral interview is one of the most important process of securing a job and you must be articulate in your speeches. You must give detailed information about who you are and what you have achieved in the past. This must be done without grammatical errors and without speech defects.
9: Added Value
What else can you do aside the job specifications? When the organization is out for an informal or even a formal program, are you very useful? A young man I know very well earns raises and promotions because his organization need not hire an MC for any program. He does it so perfectly well that he has endeared himself to his employers. Do not hesitate to tell your interviewer how you could be useful in other areas outside your job. This can save money for the organization and believe me, every investor wants to save cost. This is most desirable in a sole proprietorship organization. Remember, this is the very reason your hobby and skills appear on your CV.
10: Social Media Reputation
You need to be conscious of what you post on your social media platforms. You cannot be sharing indecent images and other flimsy posts on your walls and you expect to be taken seriously. Most organizations visit your walls while conducting interview for you. Sometimes, you get questions based on what you post or share. Therefore, do not share anything because others are sharing. Do not post what you cannot defend. It might just be the devil against you.
In this era of job scarcity, one must raise one’s stakes in order to be considered. The best always get hired. So, be the best!

10 Replies to “Standard Interview Tips-Steve Obiakor”

  1. It’s sometimes not easy to know about some CEO of an organisation,what will one do?secondly how does one over sell or under sell his/herself when the recruiter asked what would you like to be offered?I thought at the end the organisation knows what they are offering.

    1. Well, Aisha you get information about the organization on their website. Same applies for the boss. You don’t have to know him or her in person; just find out the person’s standards in terms of leadership. This will definitely show in his or her profile as well as the successes and failures of the organization.
      You can also ask questions about the pay scale of the organization. Salaries of most competitive organizations are almost the same. Knowing one gives you an idea of the other.

  2. Hmm, we learn everyday… Before now, I considered knowing the CEO as an irrelevant knowledge, but having read this, I think it’s important too!

  3. You’re yet to teach us how to master the art of CV writing, and how to make our cover letter the toast of our prospective employers! ☺

  4. Great piece Steve. I love the aspect that highlights the need to wear a smile in an interview. The panelists may not smile at you or return your smile, but we must understand that the human in them needs that smile at that time. What makes the best is usually a slim edge above the others.

  5. In addition to what onyinye said,would also appreciate it if you can give us hints on how to write an application letter.Was wondering if there is a better way to write it as opposed to what we already know.
    Secondly,what’s the difference between a cover letter and an application letter .

    1. Okay Nneka, we shall be looking at cover letter, application and CV very soon. Nevertheless, the difference between a cover letter and an application letter is in the content. While cover letter is brief (because it goes with the CV), an application letter is more elaborate stating job experiences, personal data, qualifications etc.

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