Friday, February 03, 2023 | Rajab 11, 1444 H
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How to prepare for a job interview

‘The competition for jobs is very high and new graduates have to build up their resumes and learn new skills that may not have been covered during their courses’

My son was called for an interview last week so I had to give him few tips on how to handle the interview.

Knowing him, I was rather worried about the interaction with the interviewers than the actual content.

He is a smart young man and knows his job well but when it comes to handling “small talk” as he called it, he is not the best at that.

He said he found questions like ‘tell us about yourself’ and ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’ rather challenging, as he does not know how to “sell himself” as he says.

I had to explain to him that he needs to learn these skills - as it’s the only way for the panel to know if he is a team player or a lone wolf.

After a long discussion, he agreed to listen to me then make up his mind. After all, it’s up to him whether he will “take it or leave it”.

I was mindful about the generational gap between us and the changes in the job market since I had my own interview years ago.

There is no doubt that the competition for jobs is very high and new graduates have to build up their resumes and learn new skills that may not have been covered during their courses, as my son explains “they never prepared us for the job market so we had to learn the tricks from scratch”.

Business psychologists suggest a few tips that can make a candidate more likely to succeed at a job interview.

The main point is to have the right attitude, as no one would like to work with a person who is rude and disrespectful to others. Start by preparing well and researching the job you are applying for.

Rehearsing for the interview will most definitely boost your confidence. Prepare for common questions and learn the answers to them with the correct approach.

A commonly used technique is the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) method, which allows candidates to properly set the scenario for the panel.

During the day, make sure that you wake up early and prepare for the journey to avoid any delays.

Have a light breakfast and take a bottle of water with you. Avoid too much coffee or tea as the caffeine in them may worsen your anxiety and make you use the toilet too frequently.

Arrive early, as this will make you feel more calm and confident.

Be presentable and never argue with the interviewers. Wear clean and formal clothes and avoid strong perfumes - as some people may be allergic to them.

Listen to the question and remember to appear genuine and interested and smile.

When asked to “tell us about yourself, remember to mention information relevant to the post, don’t shy away from talking about your achievements, but don’t make it sound like you are bragging.

Keep it simple and up to the point. If you happen to find such interviews anxiety-provoking or have symptoms of social anxiety disorder, then it’s important to practise well for the interview and perform relaxation techniques.

If your anxiety is severe and you worry that you may stutter during the interview or have severe sweating attack, then it may be good to consult your doctor who may prescribe a medication to help you feel calm so the above symptoms do not show.

Finally, remember to remain positive, if you don’t get the job then ask the panel for feedback so you can improve your performance during the following interview.

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