If you are contacted for an interview, you probably meet the formal requirements for the job. During the interview, the employer wants to get to know more about you and your skills in order to decide whether you are right for the position. The interview is also an opportunity for you to ask questions, make an opinion of the workplace and the job you are applying for.
A job interview can be nerve-wracking. It is not often that you will feel as scrutinized as during an interview. At the same time, you must present your best side and answer questions about yourself and your experience in a way that is a balance between boasting and being humble.
Before the interview, you should learn some about the employer. Such information can be the status of the company in the market and the projects it is running. Visit the employer's website. Being well prepared makes it easier to relax during the interview, which makes it easier for you to make a good impression.
Contact your references before the interview, in order to make sure they are prepared when the employer calls.
Be aware of your body language during the interview and make sure you greet everyone involved in the interview. Keep in mind that it is common to shake hands in Sweden and that anyone who does not shake hands when meeting another person may be perceived as impolite. When speaking, make sure that you direct what you are saying to everyone sitting in the room during the interview. It is important that no one feels like he or she was ignored.
When you are nervous, it is easy to become passive. Try to overcome this and show your interest in the job by asking questions about the job and the company. Do not be afraid to ask about something you do not understand or to take an extra moment to think if you cannot answer immediately. This simply shows that you are serious about the job and are interested.
Many interviews start with the employer talking about the company and the position for a little while before starting to ask you questions. This is a way to get some of the nerves to calm down and for the employer to see how interested you are in the company and the position. Feel free to ask questions during this time, not only to show your interest but also to test your voice.
Another way to feel more comfortable during an interview is to have thought about and prepared answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Expect to be asked some of the following questions:
- Tell us a little about yourself
- Briefly present yourself for a few minutes.
- Describe previous jobs and what you learned from them.
- Why do you want this job in particular?
- Where do you want to be in 5 years?
When presenting yourself, emphasize your experience during the most recent years. Talk about things that are relevant to the job, such as commissions of trust, good characteristics, etc. Think about the requirements and recommendations listed in the job ad. It is also a good idea to read through the cover letter you sent when you applied for the job. Explain how your characteristics and experiences fulfill their desires. Show your commitment and enthusiasm!
Answer questions about your plans for the future honestly. The employer wants to know how long you will be interested in being with the company and how goal-oriented you are.
It is your desicion what is to be discussed during the job interview. You are not obliged to disclose your religious or political beliefs, neither your sexual orientation, or if you are planning to have children. Only topics relevant for the job need to be brought up.
Before meeting with the employer for the interview, you may be asked to take a personality and/or knowledge test. The aim with the test to quickly get to know you and see if you are a good fit for the job. Areas that can be tested include language, analytical ability, logic and values. The results of the test are then discussed during the interview and you are given a chance to comment on them. If you are not given this opportunity, you should ask about the results and how they will be used.
When coming home after the interview, you should think through your experiences during the interview. What questions were you asked and how did the employer respond to your questions? What went well and what could be improved? You should also consider if you are still interested in the job. If it does not feel right, you should be honest with yourself. Ending up at the wrong place is not good for you nor for the company.
Your union can help you prepare for the interview through methods such as holding a mock job interview. Practicing the interview situation is a good way to succeed when it really matters. Contact your Saco-affiliated union to find out what applies for you. Read more about Saco-affiliated unions here.