Positioning For an Interview Post-COVID-19 - The Time of Great Tension

Tom Kamaliki | 4th May 2020

Positioning For an Interview Post-COVID-19 - The Time of Great Tension

Positioning For an Interview Post-COVID-19 - The Time of Great Tension

Tom Kamaliki | 4th May 2020


When we finally recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19 such as layoffs and companies shutting down their operations, a lot of us will be seeking new employment opportunities. But hold on. Most of us fail to impress the interviewer panels because we fail to invest in preparation. We tend to take the academic approach of cramming notes instead rather than reading in a preparatory way. It is a big plus to fail to get the job due to competitiveness so long as we have impressed the panel. However, its sad to lose in the interview because we failed to entice the panel.

Besides systematic and professional response to questions, personal branding is very key- dressing sharp and hair style create a certain image. Packaging our documents in a descent professional folder is not optional. Ensure you put on a nice smile and greet the panel-either by handshake or verbally depending on the size of the panel. Don’t rush to sit before you are given time to.

Now comes the time the rubber begins to meet the road – Question time. How do we answer these questions that have always caused us shivers?

1. Tell Us About Yourself?

How you respond to this question will create your first impression. Don’t dwell too much on it because more questions around this will be coming. Just prepare an elevator pitch about who you are. Explain 2-3 sentences about your career path and how you ended up in this interview room.

2. Why Do You Want To Work For Us?

First, have knowledge about what the company does, its vision, mission and core values. Read more about the company and get to know some of the outstanding projects or Corporate Social Responsibility programs the company is undertaking. Understand the skills that the company needs as per the JD & specs and align yourself. The interviewer wants to know if you are a round peg in a round hole.

4. Tell Me About Something On Your CV?

All people have something on their CV’s that they’re proud of-either a skill , an achievement or participation in a certain project. Explain how the same helped you grow into the person you are today. 

5.   Tell Us Something About Yourself That’s Not On Your Cv?

The interviewer is interested in knowing about your other qualities that cannot be quantifiable but are key. Talk about them and demonstrate how you have engaged them elsewhere eg being a team player, energetic, supportive, ability to withstand pressure to meet strict deadlines  

6. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

 Focus on your career goals and be realistic. Never talk about a career growth outside the company you are interviewing for even though that could be the reality. If you plan to work at this company for five years, make sure you understand who your supervisor will be and what potential career growth there is.  The interviewers want to know if you are ambitious and career conscious.

7. Tell Me About A Conflict You Faced At Work And How You Dealt With It?

This question is important because it helps an interviewer understand how you deal with conflict. It also helps test how fast you think –so if you prepare ahead of time with a specific example, you’ll avoid being put in a tight corner.  Have a good example in mind, explain what the situation was, what role you played, how you resolved it and how it ended.  The most important thing the interviewer is looking for is the ‘POSITIVE ENDING’. Never explain a conflict that ended on a bad note.

8. What Do You Expect From Your Fellow Employees?

This question aims to test if you are a team player and whether you will be a perfect  cultural fit for the organization . To prepare for this question, make sure you research the company ahead of time. Talk a little about what the company’s culture is like by going through their social media profiles, their websites

 9. How Do You Deal With Stress?

The hiring manager wants to understand your ability to handle stress in a professional and positive manner that helps you continue working or won’t stop you from accomplishing your goals. You may answer by saying you take a 10 -minute break to take a walk outside, take a nap, take a deep breath, or even an afternoon time-off

10. What Do You Intend To Achieve In The First 90 Days Of Hire?

How you answer this question will signal whether you’re the right candidate for the role. The best way to answer this question is to start by saying that your supervisor knows the most important issues to be addressed in the first 90 days. You’ll work closely with them to provide you with specific information which you would need to get started and what would help you effectively transition into the new role. Then focus on your best skills and how you would apply those to role in question

 11. What Is The Biggest Let Down In Your Professional Career?

This is a question that gets most of us off guard. It’s a very simple question. The Hiring manager is testing your honesty. Nothing else. It is not meant to disqualify you from getting the job. Think of a situation that makes you regret in life but how you managed to work out a recovery plan is what the Hiring Manager is keen to hear. Talk of how you missed on great career opportunities because you had not undertaken a professional course to qualify for- may be a promotion at workplace. This made you to enroll for the professional course which has enabled you grow in your career

12 Do You Have Any Question For Us?

This is normally the last question. Please don’t say ‘No. 'That ''You actually covered most of the critical issues I was to ask’. If you answer this way, chances of missing on the opportunity are very high. This is your chance to stand out and show professionalism. Prepare in advance for good professional questions. If its an HR position, ask questions like:  a.     What challenges does your company face that you think I’ll be required to address if I’m hired in this role? In which way do you expect me to help?

b.    Does your company intend to venture into new markets in the near future? If so, how would you like to position the HR role in readiness for this expansion

c.     What’s the future of this organization?

d.     What would you expect me to do in the first three months?

I hope these few tips plus what you also know will help us impress the interview panels.

Stay safe.

The writer is a Senior Human Resource Consultant with over 10 years' experience in senior management.

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