In an interview situation, you should show your best side and promote yourself, at the same time you should be honest and try to feel comfortable in the situation. This is much to handle at once. However, if you are well prepared you will likely feel more comfortable in the interview situation.
How do I prepare?
To make a good impression during a job interview, you need to prepare yourself for different kind of questions. We previously recommended different kind of exercises for how to write a CV and cover letter, as well as how to network and search for a job.
If you want to immerse yourself, you can go through the steps below. You will learn what to consider before the interview, how to handle interview questions, what types of interviews there are and what to do after an interview.
Read about the company's operations and business idea to show your interest, and to be able to answer questions about the company. Prepare your own questions.
Interviews can be held over the phone, as a personal meeting, a meeting with a recruitment agency, by Skype or as a case interview. Some companies even arrange large group interviews.
It is increasingly common for companies to allow recruitment agencies to manage at least the first interview, but this is not always the case. The interviewer could also be a person from the company's human resources department, a middle manager or even the company chief executive. A good way to feel safe in the interview situation is to know beforehand which people you are going to meet. This is something you could ask about when you are contacted for an interview.
Different types of interviews
Here you get to meet one or several persons face to face. It can be a recruiter or a human resource person from the company and/or a manager. You may be called directly to such an interview, or perhaps after an initial telephone interview. The interview time is usually between 1-2 hours and the aim is to get a clearer picture of who you are, how you handle different situations, your personality and your social and verbal skills.
It is not unusual that the first interview in a selection process is a phone interview. This interview determines whether you will be called to a more classic interview. A phone interview is often shorter than a classic interview so you have less time to make a good impression. Since you can't use body language your verbal ability is put to test. Prepare answers to the same questions as in a classic interview but practice extra on your answer to the question; "Can you tell me about yourself?" One advantage with this kind of interview is that you can have CV, letter, the job ad and information about the company at hand as a backup when you answer questions.
Also group interviews may occur in the beginning of the selection process. The company saves time by meeting many candidates in a short time. But it's not always just about saving time. In a group interview it is assessed how you communicate with others, how you listen and interact. Here you will not have the same attention as during an individual interview, so be careful how you formulate your answers once you get the word. Again, practice your verbal skills and prepare yourself. The challenge is often about finding a balance between daring to take place without becoming too dominant.
Practice on Case Case interviews are becoming quite common, especially if you are to work in the consultancy business. In this form of interview you get to solve a real problem or Puzzle game, either on your own or in groups. The aim is to test problem solving, logical thinking, presentation skills and interpersonal skills. You should definitely practice at solving cases before participating in such an interview. You can do this in several ways. Different companies as well as THS (KTH Student Union) frequently organize case-competitions, for example in relation to careers fairs at KTH.
It is a good idea to practice answering interview questions to help you feel secure and comfortable. Be prepared for questions about your future plans, your personality, your competencies and your experiences. You will need actual examples of situations where you, for example, developed or solved a problem.
Practice answering interview questions. You will find examples of common interview questions on our homepage and on recruitment and job sites.
Three common interview questions are:
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
What will be your contribution to our company?
Why do you want to work with us?
An interview is not only about the employer assessing whether you are suitable for the position or not. The purpose also is that you yourself should investigate if this is something for you, so take the opportunity to ask questions yourself. That also shows that you are interested and eager to get the job.
Here are some examples of questions to the employer:
What does a typical workday look like?
How is the distribution between individual work and team work?
Can you tell me more about the company vision, goals and policies?
What policies is there regarding skills development?
How are new employees introduced and trained? (Tutor, mentor?)
What policies are there regarding human resources issues?
What will be the next step in the recruitment process? When will decisions be made?
Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?
Give a short summary of your background both educational and professional. This is also a way for the recruiter to estimate your verbal communication skills.
What do you know about our company?
Show the employer that you are very interested and have done some research.
Why do you want to work with us?
Focus on the position and the company rather than telling them why you are suited for the position.
Why did you apply for this job?
Same as above, but mention something about why you are suited.
What makes you suitable for the position? /What can you offer our company?
Could you describe your last job position/ employment?
Why did you leave your last employment?
If I were to ask your last director about your strengths and weaknesses, what would he/ she say?
What would a friend from KTH say about your strengths and weaknesses?
Which skills mentioned in the ad do you master the most?
What do you need to learn more about?
Have you worked with costumers before?
Explain a situation where you dealt with a customer and made him/her accept your offer/idea.
Describe a situation where you did foresee an upcoming problem and was able to prevent the problem.
Give an example of when you made an important positive decision and the result of it.
Give an example of when you were able to solve a problem in a very creative way.
Give an example of when you handled a person with a very different personality.
What is usually your role in a group?
What can disappoint you?
Give an example of when you managed to build team spirit when the team spirit was low.
Give an example of when you were disappointed in yourself and how you dealt with it.
This position requires that you can speak some Swedish, what you do to learn / improve this language?
Tests are often used as a supplement to an interview. You may have to do a test both before and after an interview. These can involve cognitive tests, personality and skills tests.
Think about who could act as your referees, and prepare them by describing the job you are applying for so that they can provide the best possible reference. Prepare a list of referees with contact details that you can hand over at the end of the interview if asked.
It is often difficult to know how to dress for an interview. An interview can be compared with a more formal meeting e.g. a sales meeting. If possible, find out about the company's dress code.
After the interview you can send an e-mail and thank for the interview. If you do not hear from the employer after a few weeks, do call and ask about the progress of the recruitment process. If they would choose another candidate, it might be a good idea to ask what made them choose this person. Perhaps he or she has more experience in a particular field.