What I Learnt From Job Interviews

As a serial job jumper and having gone through a quite number of jobs before the age of 30, I had some mixed feelings as I reflected on all the job interviews I have attended at one point or the other. For example, the first job interview that landed my first ever job was a real eye-opener and I wish I knew a small fraction of what I know today..

I just turned 16 at that time and as I went into the office of the owner of a small gift shop in London, I was slightly nervous but was determined to get the job no matter what. I cannot give the exact account of our conversation, as I was unexperienced and not interested in all those details at that moment except what he wished to pay me as my salary. Immediately he asked me that, I smiled and replied, “Four Pound.” Little did I know that he had hit the jackpot as I had placed myself far below the minimum wage. Lesson learnt. Never again, I thought. I will always wait for them to make their first offer and counter it until we both agree on something suitable for both parties.

After that major experience, I gradually found myself doing better in other job interviews. I made sure I prepared every time: researched the company, the role, what I could offer them, and of course the all-important compensation I was expecting to get. No matter the job you are going for, always prepare; not only is it a waste of time for both parties if you walk in clueless, but it will also knock you out of the confidence you need to impress the interviewer. You need to be proactive and ask questions to show that you really have interest in the job and ultimately see if you really want the job. An interview works both ways: they want to see if you are a good fit for the job and vice versa.

When you get to the venue of the interview, check-in with the reception. For bigger companies, there may be a conference room schedule display with details of the meeting shown on a screen and outside the meeting room. This will really help you if it’s your first time in the building and even more useful as it will boost your confidence if you are a bit nervous. While waiting, because you should arrive earlier than the scheduled time, relax and go over the vital details about the job, note the questions you might have, and questions you think they might ask you. Try to take some inspiration from that venue as there may be signs of the company’s history, board members and so on, on the walls that may give you an idea of what you should know.

During the interview, be lively and show some appreciation to the interviewer for giving you the opportunity to attend the interview and be enthusiastic in the way you approach all the questions asked.. Being alert and showing serious interest in the whole process will positively boost your performance. Some studies show that the interviewers would have already made up their mind within the first five minutes of the interview, so the remaining time is just to confirm if you are really the right person for the job. My advice: stay focused and avoid distractions throughout the whole thing.