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6 Steps for a Successful Job Interview

Marina Valo, HR Manager

7 min readMar 04, 2021.

A job interview is not a test of your intelligence, but of the ability to use your intellect at the right time. Therefore, regardless of the type of interview you’ll attend - whether it’s a technical, a group, or a classic HR interview - your interlocutors will want to know how you cope with difficult situations through solving both business and everyday problems. So, before each interview, try to remember what skills you have enlisted in your CV, and be ready to present them through work or life situations.

two girls laughing at looking at their laptops

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before coming to the interview, find out everything you can about the company. Who the founders are, what projects are being worked on, what technologies they use, what it looks like to be employed in that company, and some other similar things that you can surely find out on the Internet or by asking a mutual acquaintance. And while most companies try to control information about them on social media and the internet in general, it won’t be that difficult to find exactly what you need and what interests you.

Step 2: Look for Synergy

What’s not written in your CV is the energy you bring with you to the interview. It can sometimes happen that you are well-versed in what you do, but that company actually values your energy and proactivity more. So, if you really want the job you applied for, make sure your interviewers know it. The people who interview you know their team best. And they need to make sure that you are their best option. After all, even if you don't get the job, you will learn something from that conversation, and maybe your motivation or energy will be recognized, which will eventually lead to some great things, such as a job recommendation for another position or another company.

Step 3: Sell Yourself Effectively

Whatever skills, knowledge, and experience you possess, don’t be ashamed to mention them. Your potential employer wants to meet you, to understand what you can bring to the company and whether you are what they are looking for - a good match for the company values. Selling yourself effectively is one of the biggest challenges, however, it’s something that will set you apart from other candidates.

Two people sitting at a desk talking and laughing

Step 4: It’s Not a Monologue

It is quite natural for us to be overwhelmed by stress at a job interview. Very often, we focus only on the answers we have previously come up with. And then we completely forget to listen to the question from the interlocutor. Eventually, such a conversation becomes boring and exhausting, both for the candidate and for the recruiter. The recruiter then receives partial answers, tries to squeeze the words out of the candidates, and gets only rehearsed answers. And we all know that’s not the best way to make a good first impression. So, listen carefully, behave as you normally would, and feel free to ask questions openly. It is better to say more there and then than to think later about what you could have said.

Step 5: Arrive at the Interview on Time

Find the company location in advance. If you plan to drive there, ensure you know where the parking space is and how long it will take you to reach it, even if the traffic is a bit hectic. Also, save the recruiter’s contact. Even though you have planned to arrive on time, some unforeseen things can happen and delay your arrival. If that happens to be the case, just make sure that the recruiter is informed, and don’t worry, he or she will be full of understanding. The worst thing you can do is be late and not notify the recruiter.

Step 6: How to Prepare for Online Interviews

During the last year, interviews have mostly been held online. And it showed us that the candidates feel much more comfortable attending the interview from their comfortable armchairs. The relaxing atmosphere is what makes the conversation pleasant, and that’s something that both candidates and recruiters try to create. However, before you join the online interview, you’ll still have to check your equipment - your microphone, camera, turn off your phone, etc. And even if your phone starts ringing or some technical difficulties occur, it's not a problem, but as a recruiter, I think it’s nice to know that your interviewee is completely focused on the people from the company he or she is applying for.

Girl sitting near the window and working on her laptop

Some extra interview tips

Driven by the idea of changing their jobs quickly, candidates often show too much enthusiasm about everything you say or offer as a benefit of working in your company, especially in the IT industry. And that might send the wrong message. Perks of the jobs are just perks, not the essence of the job you will be doing. So try to be natural, and look at it this way – it’s not a job interview, it a coffee break with an old friend and you have a lot of catching up to do.

On the other hand, it often happens that candidates do not have questions for recruiters and other representatives of the company. The interview is not a one-way street. Just as the company has to like you, you have to like it back. So, ask what your workday will look like, what kind of people you will work with, what and who you will be responsible for, etc. In short, find out as much as you can about your new workplace. And do not hesitate, you have the right to inquire about the environment in which you will spend a third of your day.

Girl holding a pen in her hand and talking to a coworker

Salary Expectations

Most recruiters will ask you about the amount of money you expect to get. Learn the difference between gross and net income. It is necessary, not only for the interview but also for everyday life – and it doesn’t matter if you are a developer, a designer, a QA, a copywriter, or a manager. Call around and learn more about the salary range for your and a similar position.

Also, questions about earnings are usually left for the end of the interview. Then it often happens that the candidates have a problem with stating the figure, and they are not sure what to answer, so they opt for the safest solution and say: "I don't care about money, but the environment and the projects I will be working on." And although this kind of attitude is welcomed, don't underestimate yourself because it casts doubt on your expertise. Also, if you overestimate yourself, the expectations from the employer will likely be similar. This does not mean that you cannot live up to that expectations, just that it may be difficult to accomplish as much, or as fast as you are expected to.

Tatood girl looking at her computer

At the end of the interview, feel free to round up the conversation by asking your interlocutors about your performance. This way you will surely get feedback, and you will know if you got the job even before the end of the selection.