Nov 9 2020 Tips to ace a job interview

An interview can be a bit of a nerve-wracking experience especially if a candidate has never faced an interview panel before. Most first-time interviewees lack the requisite resources to prepare well for interviews and hence, are often not adequately prepared.


What is the key to a good job interview?

  • Creating a good first impression –   you get only one shot to create a good impression and hence you need to come across as confident, headstrong and positive.
  • Looking confident – The key to looking confident is not about being suave, rather it is about possessing all the information you need about the company, the pertinent job description and a strong grip on the subject matter.
  • Be prepared to answer situational questions – behavioural questions are an important feature of an interview process for which unfortunately the majority of the job applicants are not prepared.  Now, companies have come up with a more tailored set of situational questions, that they use to check if you would be a great fit for their environment and if you somehow share the same values they do.
  • Know about the company you are applying for – It is  important to know about the company you are applying for, their core values, and  of course the details and scope of the job position you are aiming to fill. 


How to do research about the company or the job description you are applying for?

A study from JDP reports that applicants spend up to seven hours researching the company before their interview. Many candidates (64%) also research their interviewer. Because interviewing is often stressful, 70% of those surveyed practice their responses out loud, and 62% prepare anecdotes to share with the interviewer.

  • Start by gathering some generic information about the company.
  • Try to get a grasp of the trends in the industry that the company is operating in, and how the company is faring as compared to peers. Go through the news and resources section of the company.
  • While skimming through the blogs and resources of the company, try to understand the prevalent corporate culture in the company – often the company blogs will paint a close-to-accurate picture of the company.

Learn about the company’s vision – by going through the founder’s personal blog (which is usually linked in their company websites, especially Japanese startups)  and reading about their passion projects or their ideas you can get clarity on how they express their ideas and a possible execution pathway. 


What to do in case the companies put their info in Japanese while doing Research?

If you are a foreigner looking for a job in Japan, there might be instances when you come across a Japanese job description every now and then. Don’t get tense about this. A few tools here and there and a little help from the people around you will let you overcome your hurdle.

  • Use Google Translate – you can use all kinds of tools to solve this, however the most commonly used tool is Google Translate for simple word-to-word translation requirements. 
  • Understand the core of the job description – it is very important to decipher the job description in a way that it was meant to, vis-a-vis understanding the core of the message.
  • If you are applying through a recruitment firm, consultants in that firm will  always help you understand the job description better and clearer. 


How to prepare for an online interview?

With the COVID-19 pandemic reeling havoc across the globe, companies are changing the way they operate and every now and then you might have to appear for an interview which is being conducted virtually.

  • Treat an online interview the same as how you would treat a face to face interview, prepared, well groomed and on time.
  • Interview is not going to be easy – don’t assume a virtual interview means an easier interview, rather be prepared for a slightly difficult interview. In a pre-COVID world where body language used to be a measure of how impressionable you are, the virtual interview panel might not be a position to notice all that, hence making the process of forming a connection a tad more difficult.
  • How you dress yourself is going to be very important – The first impression that the panel will form will be from your on-screen presentation
  • What Your Video Interview Background Reveals – The setting you choose for your online video interview should be professional and uncluttered. What you display in the background could take away from what you’re saying—and that’s where the real focus should be. Anything you add to, or take away from, your video background should support your interview answers and overall candidacy. And keep in mind that what’s appropriate for more traditional career fields is different than what’s appropriate for more casual or creative fields, so use your best judgment based on your knowledge of the profession.

Test the tech – video interviews can be intimidating for someone who’s unfamiliar with Zoom or the technology involved. A good practice is to do a test run with a friend. Remember to test your equipment such as your mic, camera, and be mindful of having a stable internet connection or signal to avoid disruptions and disconnections during the interview.

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