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Job interview: Five pieces of advice for your preparation

When you are invited to a job interview, the company is interested in you in particular as a possible candidate for the job. That is why it is important that you are well prepared so that you can convince the company’s employees that you should be their new colleague.

1. Make a good first impression

Your performance during the interview is the first real impression the company will have of you as a person. Therefore, think about what you will wear and how you will start the interview beforehand. Check how the company presents itself on its website – whether it is a relaxed or more formal style that is needed – and adjust your clothing style accordingly.

»You must dress in clothing that suits the job. If you are seeking a job as a biologist in a municipality, of course you should not wear a tie, or as a woman, have bright nail polish. Wear a presentable outfit, because you respect that being interviewed is a serious matter,« says career counsellor Kim Knudsen in IDA’s management, career and competence area. He provides a lot of advice about how to prepare yourself in the best way for an interview in a company in which you have applied for a job.

2. Find out what your place in the company is 

Kim Knudsen, of IDA’s Career Counselling, recommends that you re-read the vacancy notice, your application and CV thoroughly before you go to the job interview.

»You must prepare yourself to tell about your professional and personal competences and how they meet the needs of the company. You can read about the requirements in the vacancy notice and, during the job interview, you must convince the company that you can fulfil them« he says.

It would be an advantage to divide your competences into professional, personal and private ones. It would be good to clearly tell about how you can participate in professional areas, and how you will use your previous experience in the job you are seeking.

On a personal level, what you say can be based on the vacancy notice’s requirements regarding personality. You might supplement this with mentioning other, relevant personal competences. You can find inspiration for this by, for example, taking the Strength Test. Remember to make use of examples from your life - preferably from previous jobs in which you have used these competences.

3. Become familiar with the company

As an applicant, you can be fairly confident that the following question will be asked during the interview: What do you know about us?

»Therefore, it is important that you do your research well so you know their reality. You can get help in the job vacancy notice, the company’s website, news about the company and, maybe, if someone in your network works for the company, you can call and hear a bit about the workplace and culture. It is important for the company to hear about why you have applied for a job with them in particular, and they would like to hear that you truly are interested in them,« says Kim Knudsen.

4. They have to feel your motivation 

It is very important that the people you meet during the interview can tell that you are motivated. Therefore, you should also practice telling about it.

»They can feel your motivation if you can tell them in concrete terms about why this job is simply the right one for you. They have to be able to feel that you really do want this job and that it isn’t just a matter of wanting to leave your current job. You must be able to explain in detail why the tasks and the job mean something to you and that you agree with their vision – whether it is due to your previous experiences or special interest in the company, or a combination,« Kim Knudsen points out.

5. Your elevator pitch must be ready

At the end of many interviews, you will be given two minutes to convince the company that they should hire you.

An elevator pitch is a short presentation of yourself, your competences and your ambitions. The concept has come about because you need to imagine that you are employed in a major company and enter the elevator, where you stand next to the busy CEO. You now have 30 seconds to present yourself in the best possible way. In a job interview, an elevator pitch may take a couple of minutes.

»In two minutes, you must convince those who are interviewing you why they need to employ you. You must tell about what you stand for and what motivates you quickly and accurately. What relevant experience do you have with regard to the specific job? What can you contribute in terms of personal competences? What are your most important professional competences? What results will you provide – and how will you contribute to the esprit de corps?« says Kim Knudsen.

At the end of the elevator pitch, you can say that you think it has been a really good interview and you are now even more interested in the job.