In any particular interview, the employer endeavors to find out what a newly-hired employee will bring on –board, that is the value added to the firm. He or she assess whether the skills possessed by the interviewee such as good communication skills, honesty and reliability meet the set requirements besides academic qualifications and experience. Hence, an interviewee should confidently express these skills in order to successfully vie for the job.
A typical interview is normally scheduled for thirty minutes to an hour. First, the employer generally engages the applicant on a general conversation to ensure he is relaxed and comfortable. He or she then gets to more substantive questions on applicants’ qualifications, behavioral questions and on the applicant’s background which lasts for the greater part of the interview. The last 5-10 minutes are left for the applicant to ask questions that he may have in mind. Therefore, it is imperative for an applicant to be thoroughly prepared about the institution’s background. Normally, before a job offer is made, the applicant attends several interviews and faces different evaluation panels. The key to confidence is adequate preparation. Questions like “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?” should be well anticipated. The interviewee can also give him/herself a pep-talk before the interview. He or she should feel convinced that he is the best candidate and should believe in his or her abilities. Tough questions such as “What made you leave your last job?” should be answered wittingly and positively. The interviewee should not display a negative attitude towards your previous employer but can rather answer “There was limited growth opportunities, and although I greatly enjoyed my job, my ambitions could not be fully achieved.”
Many employers are trained in the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action and Result). Try to deliver the information required in a structured manner to ensure the interviewers are receptive. In the situation and task part, ensure that you describe it concisely, comprehensively and within context. In the action-based questions, demonstrate skills and personal attributes gained on the tested question. Be personal and detailed but avoid any technical jargon. In the result section, explain how you applied various generic skills so as to solve the task and achieve the set goals.
In structuring your resume, ensure that key points such as skills gained and outstanding honor are at the top of each section since the last part normally receives little attention. Choose a common font such as Times New Roman and a size 12 font-size is normally recommended. Section headings should be centrally located and at times bold. This ensures your curriculum vita captures the employer’s eye. Ensure your resume consists of your name, address, phone number and email address at the top. Your academic qualifications should then follow chronologically from the most recent achievements. Your employment history and experience are then clearly written in a chronological way and should also start with your most recent place of employment. Special and noteworthy achievements should be included. Finally, references should be added at the bottom of the resume or if not requested, you can state ‘references available upon request’. This, however, is a basic resume and can be modified to include various elements as the case may be.
The question as on how to negotiate for a good salary is normally very tricky. Ensure that you are well prepared and decided on the minimum salary acceptable. You should not disclose the actual amount desired but rather give a range within which your desired salary lies. However, you should never discuss the salary issue till you have been offered a job. Do not forget to negotiate for other benefits and perks that go along with your salary. Finally, do not say yes to an offer right away without further negotiation. After you agree on the salary, get this agreement into writing.
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