How to make a strong case for yourself at a job interview

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ESL Tate
I have been an ESL Teacher for more than 15 years and a Teacher trainer for the last three. Now I help new teachers start their journey traveling and teaching English abroad.
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A job interview is a chance where one is allowed to highlight further the information on their resume and illustrate to an employer that they have the experience and skills necessary to do the job. It is a time to shine and make a strong case for yourself of deserving the job.

Preparing for an interview is the first time in impressing the employer. Various ideas and tips can be beneficial for making a great first impression and making sure that one passes the job interview with ease. Follow these tips and you will do well.

They might seem trivial but you would be surprised how many employers pay attention to the following tips.

1. Do your research on the company and the job

One should always ensure they are aware of the company, its values, mission, and what is supposed to be done in the department that one is applying for.

One should also aim to demonstrate to the interviewer that they understand not only the company but also the industry it operates in and some knowledge of its direction.

Show the interviewer how your experience and skill would be of benefit as far as achieving the company goals is concerned.

One can always look for the interviewer’s name on professional networking platforms as well as the company’s staff pages to have a clear understanding of their background and the influence it may have on the hiring decision.

Knowing who is interviewing you gives you a leg up because you can bring up a hobby that you may share with them. This little connection can go a long way in putting you ahead of the competition.

take notes

2. Come with a notebook and a pen

One should always go to an interview with a pen and a notebook. The notebook should have some important points on one’s skills.  It will also help in taking notes on important issues that may come up in the conversation.

It doesn’t matter if the interview is online or face to face. It is important to keep this in mind because it also shows your interest in the company.

This will help show the employer that you are organized and detail-oriented. It is, however, important to note that as one takes notes, they remain engaged with the interviewer and always maintain eye contact when speaking and listening.

Making eye contact builds trust, shows respect and engagement. The interview will feel good about you as a candidate.

3. Dress appropriately for the interview 

What one wears is the first impression that will help shape the panel on one’s suitability or professionalism in their workplace.

Always go for the outfit that is comfortable and professional to ensure that you’re confident during the interview. It is prudent to go for the clothing that is near the standard dress code of the organization.

When you are researching the company, always search for images of their employees to have an idea of their dress code. For instance, if you find out that the company workplace chooses business casual, the outfit for the interview should be a business professional.

4. Take your time

While you may be confident that you have all the qualifications that the job requires, it is always wise to relax and organize one’s thoughts to demonstrate discipline and thoughtfulness during the interview.

Ensure that you listen to every question carefully and promptly. While giving your reply, always make sure that you discuss only the qualifications that are most relevant for a particular question to ensure concise answers.

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Include at least one or two experiences and skills to ensure that the interviewer comprehends your skills. More so, if you find that you don’t understand a question, you are always free to ask for clarification before you answer the questions.

To demonstrate your achievements, use facts and figures.
While giving answers to questions on your past roles achievements, use data to prove your statements.

For example, if your specialty is sales explain why you think you will be able to increase sales by a certain percentage. You can give details on how you have had positive feedback from your previous clients.

5. Be prepared for inquisitive questions

This is a step aimed at ensuring that you are confident throughout the interview and that you anticipate the questions the panel might be having for you. Review some of the common and tough questions that you have been asked in past interviews.

Consult widely among colleagues for questions they have been asked in former interviews. This will ensure you have quality answers. Some tough questions include; what is your biggest weakness?

With such a question, one should aim to identify a professional weakness and explain how you worked or will improve on it. Other questions such as tell us about yourself should be answered by focusing on showcasing one’s most appropriate personal qualities and highlight why you are a strong candidate for the role.

Another important way to answer questions is by identifying an obstacle you once had at work and state the actions you took to overcome the challenge. The reason why one is leaving their current job is a question that is often asked, ensure the answer you give is as honest as possible but still reflects your employer positively and also shows that you still have passion for work.

Lastly, one must prepare some questions. It is common for interviewers to ask if one has any questions at the end of the interview. It is wise if one has some relevant questions that will help them learn more about the company. It demonstrates to the panel that one is carefully considering the role.

Final thoughts

An interview is a chance to defend your resume. It is a time to shine and really talk about how you are going to benefit a company. That’s it. Everything that comes out of your mouth at an interview should be to further that goal.

Being prepared and knowing what you want to accomplish makes the accomplishment attainable. Like the say, success is when preparation meets opportunity. Be prepared and you will achieve not just getting the job you seek, but anything in life.

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