+233(0) 2408 645 27 / +233(0) 5427 31844 hello@claricon.co

Nail That Interview

If you have been called to interview for a position, you are as likely to be hired as everyone else who doesn’t know the boss. Let no one convince you otherwise.

In this article, we share with you tips to land the job once you’ve got the interview. We have crawled around the internet in order to make this post relevant to you by not repeating everything everyone else is saying out there. They’re saying some pretty good stuff, I should add, so in this post, I present frequently overlooked tips for your next interview.

Before the interview:

1. Create a pool of questions—and answers—relevant to the job you’re interviewing for

We all remember the good old interview “question” which comes with no question mark: “Tell us about yourself.” It is asked almost 100% of the time, so to be unprepared for it is to be unprepared for the interview. Since it will most likely also be the first to be asked, this is your chance to kick off on the right foot. One way to wow the panel is to have answers prepared for such general questions—and other role-specific ones, if you guess right. 

Do an internet search with keywords like, “administrative assistant interview questions”, using the role you’re applying for. The internet is replete with such resources. For most of us, that’s where the search ends, but no, go ahead and look for brilliant answers to those questions, customizing them to suit your experience. “How to answer ‘what makes you the best fit for this role?’” is a good template for looking for answers. And don’t just click on the first result that pops up after your search and leave it there. Garner as many smart answers as are available to create your own piece.

Do this for all the frequently asked questions as well as any questions specific to your role. I recommend you type them in a cloud-based word processor like Google Docs, so that you don’t lose significant work done in case your laptop or phone goes berserk. 

2. Memorize some of the answers

No, I’m not asking you to be a click-here-for-answers robot. What I’m asking you to do is master the answers, at least to the “tell us about yourself”, “why are you here?”, “do you have any questions for us?”, and “what makes you the best fit for this role?” parts. If you have a pool of questions with smart answers like I have recommended earlier, memorizing them will be easy, and you will be in control of your answers during the interview. This technique has worked for everyone we have prepped, and I believe it will work for you, too.

3. Have someone prep you in a role play

Do you have a friend or relative who can spare some time to help you with this? Use their help. Share your Google Docs file of questions and answers with them and engage in a role play—they will be the interviewer and you, the interviewee. This is a great way to check how well you have mastered your answers. Your friend or relative can also tell you if you’re answering like you’re reading. 

If none of your friends or relatives are available at the time of your preparation, you can record yourself while you’re trying to answer the questions. Listening to yourself is another great way to know how you sound, and it will help you to improve your answers after every try to make sure you’re conveying what you intend to. You will finally have an outstanding recording which you can keep on replay until the day of the interview.

During the interview:

4. Tell them you’re actively searching

Assuming you have impressed them to the point of wanting to hire you, knowing that you’re actively searching will make some recruiters hasten the process and loop back to you quickly to let you know you have the job, just to net you with them, so find an appropriate part of the interview to let them know you’re searching. However, don’t come across as desperate, as this can make some employers bilk you of money you deserve. Here’s a subtle way to go about it:

Interviewer: Why are you leaving your current role?
You: I have been with ABC company for five years. It’s been an exciting journey with lots of new things to learn. I have developed the M&E framework for the project, set up project interfaces for project officers, and prepared monitoring analytics for the project for the next three years. I think I am ready to take up more challenging tasks, so I’m currently actively searching for such an opportunity to do more.

5. Ask them one or two intelligent questions when you’re given the chance to

“Do you have any questions for us?” This is where most of us get gagged. I get it, better safe than sorry, right? Okay. But a question well posed leaves an impression well inscribed. 

“How is an employee’s success determined in this company?”, “Is there room for progression to higher roles?”, “When should I expect to hear from you?” are relevant questions to ask a potential employer. 

Asking them a question or two presents you as confident, well read, and interested in joining their team. With their answers, you can also determine whether this will be a serious company or a fruitless undertaking. Again, this is another reason why it is good to prepare answers beforehand, because in the spur of the moment, most of us can’t think of anything to ask! But be smart—don’t ask a question if it has been answered during the course of the interview. That will suggest you’re inattentive. We don’t want that, do we?

6. Compliment their work and offer them pertinent suggestions to make it better

After asking your relevant questions, compliment them on something you have observed about their website, their email system, calendar sharing, etc. This can be tricky, so don’t force it if there’s nothing to wax lyrical about. Again, if you have recommendations on how something can be made better, let them know. Here’s an example:

I observed that your website is very mobile-responsive. Kudos to the team for not penalizing mobile users. I was curious about the accessibility of the site, too, so I ran it through webaim, and a few issues came up, which I believe can be fixed with webaim’s very useful feedback. Your calendar sharing platform is user-friendly, too. I found it really easy maneuvering my way around it. 

Do you realize how this sounds like someone who is genuinely interested in the company? I do, too. But be careful! No one wants to work with a critic who only sees the bad in other people’s work, so don’t present yourself as one. If you can’t tactfully do this, don’t try it at all!

After the interview:

7. Send them an appreciation email

By now, you know whom to address your follow-up emails to. After the interview, send them an email like the example below:

Dear Jason,
Thank you and the rest of the team for your time today. I am excited about the opportunity at XYZ company, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

I recommend you send this email within six hours after the interview.

In the last few years, we have helped friends get jobs by assisting them to effectively prepare for their interviews. We have learned that the key to snapping out of the fear of interviews is this: be willing to do the legwork before the interview. Besides, the job ad said the company wants a hardworking professional, and that’s what your resume says you are, no?

Read More

Related Posts

The Interview-winning Cover Letter

The Interview-winning Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a document (usually one-page) which you submit as part of your job application. It is where you underscore the work experiences listed in your CV/resume....

Join the conversation

Leave a Comment


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *