Module 4: My job interview

Course: Job Search Training
Book: Module 4: My job interview
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Date: Saturday, 24 September 2022, 11:23 AM

1. Preparing for the interview

Preparation tips
  • Get       as       much       information       as       you       can       about        the        company (industry, size, type of products or services it provides, its organization and operation, type of qualifications, etc.);

  • Reread your resumé and prepare to deepen some aspects (education, job experience and other life experience);

  • Pay attention to the way you look. Clothes (shoes and accessories), hair, beard, nails must be carefully taken into consideration;

  • Prepare the documents you consider suitable to present during the interview (school diplomas or certificates, internships, papers you delivered, recommendation letters, professional certifications);

  • Check the date , time and place of the interview.Be there on time or a bit earlier. Getting late is a cause for being nervous;

  • Prepare yourself for several types of interview. It may be individual or in a group, it may have one or more interviewers.It may be done in a video conference or live.

IMPORTANT: Prepare yourself for the questions that may be asked by the interviewer/s. Throughout the module you will find the most common questions as well as some challenging questions.

2. Dos and Don'ts

Adequate behaviour tips:

  • present yourself (with a handshake);

  • wait until your asked to sit down;

  • sit down and maintain a proper posture, avoid crossing your arms or slipping on the chair;

  • be careful with fidgeting and constantly manipulating objects;

  • be natural. Give a nice look and good mood (don’t exaggerate!)

  • look straight to the interviewer;

  • show interest and be attentive;

  • don’t interrupt, know how to listen;

  • be clear and objective, don’t digress;

  • answer with a clear voice and assertively, don’t moan;

  • ask for explanation, in a polite manner whenever you aren’t sure of what the question is about;

  • show motivation and interest about the position you’re applyng to;

  • be prudent, if personal topics come to the conversation.Don’t enter in personal details;

  • show that you know the company’s business activity.
  • cutting in when the interviewer is speaking;
  • criticizing your last employer or company you’ve worked in;
  • stating facts that you can’t show proof of;
  • expressions that show doubt or indecision, like “maybe…”, “I’m not sure…”, “I’ve never thought about that…”;
  • evading the issues; 
  • pointing out your weak qualities/characteristics;
  •  continually moving in the chair;
  •  begging the work; 
  •  being arrogant;
  •  self praising; 
  • chewing a gum;
  •  insisting a lot in the salary topic.
If you have little experience

Appreciate your academic and professional qualifications, your positive attitude towards work, your ability to learn and your desire to work for the employer. Show willingness to learn and desire to progress.

In the end

Wait for the interviewer to finish the interview; get up after the interviewer; thank the interview and do not forget that until you leave, you will still be observed.

After the interview

  •  Rejection is part of the job search process, look at it as a learning experience!
  •  Keep a positive attitude and think of the next application as a new opportunity!
  • Analyse the interview and identify more positive and less positive aspects as well as those that could be improved.

Face to face communication

In order to improve your communicative skills you should:

  •  speak clearly and audibly;
  • speak in a not too loud nor too quiet voice;
  • speak in a calm pace, not too quick nor too slow ;
  • concentrate on the message you want to convey;
  • be brief and use simple vocabulary;
  • show interest;
  • smile, be polite.

3. Most common questions

  • Why are you applying to this position?

  • What do you know about it?

  • What do you know about the company and why do you want to work with us?

  • Tell us about your family. Who do you live with? 

  • What are your responsibilities in your household? 

  • Briefly talk about your school path. Why did you choose the course you have taken? 

  • Describe your previous job experience.

  • Why did you decide to change jobs?

  • How do you evaluate your school/formative/ professional performance? 
  • What was your most fulfilling job? Why? 
  • Concerning  your  previous  job  experience,  what  was  your  biggest  difficulty/  most complex situation?What did you do to solve it?
  • In terms of career, which aspects , both positive and negative, do you highlight? 
  • How do you react when someone criticizes you?Give examples. 
  • If you could go back in time, what would you change in your life? What other choices would you have done and why?
  • What are your free time activities? State their importance to your life. 
  • Why do you think you should be selected? 
  • What can the company expect of you if hired? 
  • Why are you unemployed? What measures didi you take to change that situation?
  • Are you able to work under pressure?
  • What are your qualities and defects?
  • Are you a team worker?
  • Where do you want to be in three years time?
  • What are your salary expectations?

4. Challenging questions

What criticisms have you received in the past four years?

The interviewer is trying to understand whether the candidate can identify his weaknesses and show what he is doing to improve them. To answer, you must identify a “defect” that is real, but that will not create obstacles to your hiring. For example, you can say that they criticized you for being late, but that you have improved your punctuality and your colleagues have even praised you for that. Ideally, you should give two or three examples of criticism that are pointed out to you (and the way you are fighting them).  

Where would you like to be in three to five years? And how do you expect to get there?

The recruiter wants to see if he is ambitious and has plans for career advancement. It also seeks to understand what you plan to do to achieve your goals. Avoid vague answers, your answer must be well thought out and well structured. Defining objectives and ways to achieve them is the most correct way to answer the question.

How would you describe your ideal boss type or the one you would least like to work with?

The answer you give will help the recruiter understand if it suits the potential boss. It is best to respond with diplomacy: “I have worked with all types of people and can adapt to different styles. I can handle the pressure of a more controlling boss and the lack of guidance from a more relaxed boss. If I had to define an ideal profile, it would be that of a boss who gave me enough training and guidance to give me autonomy and make tight control over the quality of project execution unnecessary.

What tasks do you like to perform the most?

This is an indirect way of detecting weaknesses in the candidate. In the middle of his speech, the interviewer will be looking for "I'm not so good at ..." or "I don't like A very much ... I like doing B ..." more. Be careful not to show weaknesses when asked to talk about something positive. When answering, remember that by saying what you like to do, you are also revealing the opposite - what you like least to do. Think carefully about the answer before saying something that might harm you.

Do you think you give enough praise to others?

The psychological attitude towards compliments indicates interest and the ability to motivate. If he reveals that he often congratulates his colleagues for the good work, he is also revealing that he is a confident and confident worker of his worth. You can say that you love receiving compliments, so I love giving them too.

What would you do if you found out that a colleague was falsifying expense records?

The question aims to assess its ethical and moral sense. Saying "It doesn't concern me" demonstrates that you don't care about the company's interests and it's the right way to not be hired. The answers can be "would confront the person and persuaded him to correct the error" or "present a formal complaint".

What would you do if you were given three thousand euros to spend during the first year in the new company?

If you do not answer something related to the work, you will show that you are not 100% dedicated to helping the company grow. If you answer something that doesn't benefit you, it sounds dishonest. The suggestion may be, training”, since you are enjoying the money for yourself but also benefiting the company.

Give three examples of situations where you were unsuccessful and why?

The objectives of this question are to understand if the candidate admits his mistakes, to know if he blames others for the failure; whether you learned from your mistakes and how you got over situations. Your examples of failures must be carefully thought through and show what you have learned from these situations (be better prepared next time, do not allow defeat to discourage you, etc.).

5. First impression

Choosing what to wear in an interview seems a futile issue, but it is not. Dressing appropriately is crucial to make a good “first impression” and thus contribute to building a positive relationship with the interviewer.

1-Knowing the company’s profile

You should look for information regarding the organizational culture of the company, namely if it assumes a creative profile and allows the use of more informal clothing, such as jeans or if there is a stricter standard, such as uniforms or something more formal. It may be necessary to speak to an employee, observe or look for information on the company's website.

2-Knowing the job position

The choice of clothing may differ depending on the position and / or sector, so you should know your duties well. Here are some tips for each style:


  • shirt and tie;
  • blazer;
  • formal shirt and trousers;
  • adequate length dress ;
  • adequate length skirt.


  • jeans;
  • shirt;
  • polo shirt;
  • adequate length dress.

Getting to basics

If it is impossible to discover the style of the company or if there are any doubts, there are basic tips to adapt to any situation.

It is recommended:
  • to use soft or neutral tones (white, beige, gray, black and navy blue);
  • more classic clothes (blazer, shirt, dress pants);
  • dark coloured shoes;
  • shoes without heels or median height;
  • simple and light makeup.
  • very strong colours;
  • exaggerated printed fabrics;
  • deep necklines;
  • excessive jewellery or trinkets;
  • very short clothes;
  • very tall shoes;
  •  heavy makeup.
Appearance and personal hygiene

The importance of clothing was mentioned, which must be accompanied by care for appearance and personal hygiene. It is important to appear at the job interview with your hair combed; clean nails; a good beard length (if the company has no restrictions on that level); clothes without stains or holes, well ironed and shoes in good condition. Try to take a good shower just before the interview, because in addition to taking care of your appearance, it helps you relax.

The use of perfume should be milder.

In short, we all like to feel good and comfortable clothes that give us security also provide us with greater confidence, this attitude can make a difference. And don't forget that what we choose to wear is also a way of communicating with each other, so if the goal is to enter the job market, wear appropriate clothes for the job interview.

6. Controlling anxiety

Anxiety before a job interview is common and almost inevitable, so it is necessary to accept it and use it to your advantage. If, on the one hand, anxiety in these situations reveals responsibility and leaves the candidate on the alert, on the other hand, excessive anxiety can bring the opposite result, leaving the professional vulnerable and even unable to manage their responses and emotions, which can lead to the failure of the interview.

IMPORTANT: A great tool is self-knowledge, that is, if you know yourself well, you will understand your limitations and even the appeals that need to be improved, which greatly facilitates the interview for revealing transparency.

  • Maintaining high self-esteem, as the simple fact of being called for the interview already reveals that a first phase of curriculum analysis has already been overcome! You should value all your learning so far, since everything can be an opportunity to learn, travel, volunteering, participation in the community, and even the job interview itself. So try to think of it as an opportunity to get to know the job market and to know what recruiters expect from candidates. It helps to know your strengths and those that need improvement.
  • You can make a list of your skills and points that you need to improve before participating in the interview, this way you avoid surprise questions that you do not know how to answer. Be sincere / honest, do not invent skills that you do not have or professional experiences that you have not acquired. Lying in the selection process can hurt in the future, making you even more  anxious,  especially  if  you  are  going  to  occupy  a  position  for  which  you  have  no qualifications. Avoid talking too much about more personal issues as you can report irrelevant information and take the focus off the interview, as well as the possibility of creating an image of self-centeredness. Control expectations, if it doesn't work out, know that there are still countless possibilities and if you keep calm and positive thinking, this will bring you closer to your goal.
  • Breathing  is  great  for  keeping  your  brain  active  and  balancing.  While  waiting  for  your interview, take deep breaths, it will be good to keep professional behavior adjusted and to give you time to think about an appropriate attitude. Breathing consciously helps to improve your focus.