Tips To Prepare Yourself For An Interview In 2021 Interview

The pandemic situation in 2020 made professionals across the world realize the importance of jobs. As people stopped heading out and demand across industries started dropping overnight, several organizations had no alternative but to let go of some of their employees.

Now that things are looking a little better in 2021, new graduates and experienced professionals are willing to secure jobs that suit their skills and qualifications. As the demand for jobs is increasing and the number of positions available in companies is still limited, recruiters have started making the selection process stricter and more specific.

This has increased the importance of interviews in 2021. No matter which industry you are willing to enter, you will have to compete with contemporaries whose skills and qualifications are not too different from yours. In such a situation, the only way of cracking an interview is by putting your best foot forward and winning over the interviewer with your unique personality.

In this blog, we will talk about important interview tips that you need to keep in mind while preparing for your interview meeting. However, before getting to interview preparation tips, let us understand how interviews have changed in 2021.

How Have Interviews Changed In 2021?

2020 witnessed a dynamic change when it came to running businesses and carrying out business processes. While the brick-and-mortar businesses suffered the most, organizations with a digital ecosystem were amongst the least affected ones.

This led to organizations switching to digital alternatives for carrying out almost all business processes, right from marketing and sales to finance and HR. This resulted in the emergence of online interviews.

You must be aware of millions (if not billions!) of professionals across the world switching to online collaborative platforms. Online platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Meet have been helping organizations in creating virtual workspaces for their employees. The culture of working from home, which had already started thriving in many industries, became mandatory for everyone who wanted to keep working during the COVID situation.

Girl in a jacket

For more than a year now, employers across the world have been conducting online interviews on the collaborative platforms mentioned above. This has allowed candidates to appear for job interviews right from their houses and the employers to recruit employees via video calls.

However, apart from the fact that the interview is conducted over a video call, the online interviews are not too different from the offline ones. Right from appearing on time to being dressed formally, the procedure and approach of conducting interviews have remained the same.

Tips To Prepare Yourself For An Interview In 2021

If you have managed to impress the recruiter with your resume and have been shortlisted for a job interview, here are some of the most important interview preparation tips to keep in mind before you go for the meeting, whether online or in person.

Assess The Job Opportunity

Before taking any major preparation step, it is always important to go through the concerned job opportunity and analyze the details mentioned in the same. Many candidates make the mistake of reading only the designation and ignoring the job description.

Whether you have come across the job opportunity through a social media platform, the website of the employer, a recruitment company, or a trusted reference, never forget to read every line of the job description before preparing yourself for the interview.

This will provide you with important details that would help you in making your interview more fruitful, such as the specific skills the employer is looking for, skills preferred by them, the scope of the job opportunity, tentative remuneration, and other relevant details. These details will help you shape your attitude for the interview and prepare relevant questions for the same.

Prepare An Impressive Elevator Pitch

As mentioned earlier, organizations today need to go through a plethora of job applications on a daily basis. If you want to stand out from this clutter of similar-looking applications, it is always advisable to prepare a creative and impressive elevator pitch before appearing for the interview.

An elevator pitch works as a short trailer of your job interview. It allows you to answer questions like the reason for applying for the concerned company, the reason you chose the concerned opportunity, and why you are the best pick for the job. While all resumes are more or less the same, it is your elevator pitch that can act in your favor and make you a memorable candidate.

Always make sure that you keep the pitch as crisp and as creative as possible. If you manage to positively surprise your employer and manage to put your message across in the quirkiest way possible, it is bound to make the employer remember you as a potential candidate.

Prepare Stories Using The STAR Approach

The employer can get all relevant information about your work experience and your qualifications for the job by going through your resume. During the interview, the employer would like to know more about your attitude towards work, your genuine willingness to work, and the way you carry yourself. Telling compelling stories always helps you keep the interviewer engaged and provide them with valuable insights about your previous experiences.

One of the most effective ways of telling your stories is by following the STAR approach. It involves four major elements that help you navigate through your story efficiently:

Situation – Start by giving a brief background of the situation where the event(s) of your story takes place.
Task – Follow the situation up with the task you were performing and the challenge(s) that came your way.
Action – Now, talk about the action you took in response to the concerned challenge for tackling the situation resolving the issue.
Results – End the story by talking about the final outcome and how your skills were instrumental in helping you deal with the problem.
You can also add another element of “Tie” to make it the “START” approach by tying the results and your skills with the job position you are applying for. This will allow the employer to obtain a context to your story and help them connect the dots.

Also Read: A Definitive Guide To Becoming A Better Manager

Prepare Questions For The Interviewer

Gone are the days when an interview merely involved the interviewer asking questions to the candidate and making the selection based on the answers provided by them. In 2021, interviewers like being asked relevant questions by the candidates.

One of the most important interview preparation tips in 2021 would be to prepare a list of post-interview questions to ask your employer. Asking genuine questions makes an interviewer believe that you are genuinely interested in the opportunity you applied for. It ensures a healthy two-way conversation that is likely to increase your chances of getting selected.

Here are some of the most basic yet important questions you can ask your interviewer:

1.What is the best part about this job opportunity?
2.What KPIs do you focus on for measuring the success of your organization?
3.What made you shortlist my resume and qualify me for this interview?
4.What steps does the organization take to ensure a healthy work-life balance for the employees?
5.What factors do you keep in mind for appraisals?

It is always advisable to be as honest as possible while asking such questions to the interviewer. Your honesty and genuine willingness to work will help you rank high on the list of preferences.

Prepare Yourself For Making A Good First Impression

The last thing you would want is to do or say something right at the beginning of the interview that puts the employer off and reduces your chances of getting selected.

It is very likely that the interviewer you are meeting has already met multiple candidates and is about to meet many more the same day after you are done. They are very likely to be exhausted and nonchalant when it comes to dealing with several candidates. This makes it extremely important for a candidate to set a progressive tone of the interview right from the beginning.

It is advisable to prepare a greeting or an opening statement that helps you make a good first impression of the interview. Instead of getting directly to the point of the interview (which the interview must have heard several times during the day), start by asking about the health of the interviewer. Spending the first 10-20 seconds in getting comfortable with the interview would never hurt anyone.

Such attitude is always welcome by interviewers as it allows your innate personality to come out instead of a mechanical candidate whose only concern is to get the interview done and land the job.

Research The Employer

Before you appear for the interview, it is advisable to conduct brief research about the employer you are going to be associated with. You can Google the employer, visit the company’s official website, have a look at the services they provide, the team structure they have, the clients they cater to, and other relevant information.

You can also make a quick LinkedIn search to look at the connections the employer has, the skills they are looking for, their areas of interest, and their experience in making recruitments. All these details will help you adopt a specific approach for the interview; ascertain the aspects you should highlight, and the questions you would ask the employer.

Decide On The Skills And Abilities To Highlight

Even if you are applying for the same role, the requirements for every interviewer will be different. Every interviewer will be looking for a few specific skills and abilities in a candidate that suits their organization. As an applicant, it is always advisable to be aware of the skills and abilities you need to highlight for a specific interview.

In most cases, you will get this idea by going through the job description itself. Most employers clearly mention the skill-set they are expecting from the ideal candidates. You can also ascertain the skills to be highlighted from having a look at the employer’s social media presence.

However, if you are not able to decide on the qualities you need to stress upon before the interview, always be prepared to make this assessment during the interview and focus on the most suitable areas by judging the tone of the interview.

Calm Yourself Before The Interview

No matter how skilled, qualified, and prepared you are for the interview, you are likely to mess everything up if you get increasingly nervous and anxious before the interview. Always make sure you are calm and composes before the meeting starts.

Excessive nervousness often results in candidates forgetting important answers and not being able to carry themselves properly over the course of the interview. This may lead to an otherwise qualified candidate getting rejected.

Leave all the preparations aside and stop thinking about the outcome of the interview a few minutes before the meeting starts. A little breathing exercise and meditation should help you calm your nerves and feel a little more confident for the interview.

Now that you are well-versed with the important interview tips to keep in mind while preparing for an interview, let us go through a few tips that will help you appear for a fulfilling online interview.

Tips To Keep In Mind For An Online Interview

 Online interviews are the need of the hour. All major interviews in the biggest enterprises are conducted through a video call on an online collaborative platform.

Here are some of the most important interview tips to keep in mind while appearing for an online interview:

Never Be Too Early For The Interview

Owing to the need to conduct multiple interviews in a day, most employers use the same meeting room for conducting all the interviews. It is, therefore, never advisable to enter the meeting way too early or you would crash someone else’s interview.

Ideally, a candidate should either be exactly on time or two minutes before the scheduled time for the interview to begin smoothly.

Make Sure You Are Dressed Well

One of the most common mistakes committed by candidates during an online interview is not sticking to the formal dress code. Although you are appearing for the interview from your house, never take your appearance for granted. It is always advisable to treat an online interview like a normal office interview and be dressed in formals while appearing for the same.

Choose A Spot With No Distractions

One of the major drawbacks of an online interview is that it cannot be conducted within a controlled environment and inside an air-conditioned cabin. Both you and your interviewer would be sitting in your respective houses during the meeting.

In such a situation, always make sure that you choose a spot with no distractions that may hamper the flow of your interview. Be in a room by yourself, lock it, and make sure there is little to no noise around you while the interview is going on.

Also, video calls make it really easy to spot visual distractions during the interview. To make sure that the interviewer is not distracted by anything, it is always beneficial to choose a plain background while you are giving your interview. A background too loud and distracting can spoil an otherwise great interview.

Be Loud And Clear While You Speak

There are high chances of internet fluctuations and connectivity issues while the interview is going. This might lead to some important information getting missed or misunderstood by you or the interview. It is, therefore, advisable to be loud and clear whenever you speak.

Have a slow and even space while you are talking to the interview. If you feel something important that you said was not caught by the interviewer, confirm the same and repeat the line again to make things clear. Also, never hesitate to ask the interviewer to repeat what they said if you couldn’t understand what they said in the first go.

Focus On Your Body Language

When you are conversing with an interviewer over a video call, it is fairly easy for them to notice your body language as they need to focus on the screen the entire time. Many candidates tend to get a bit too comfortable with the environment of their home, which reflects in their body language.

Never make the mistake of slouching, yawning, clenching your teeth, clicking your tongue, stretching, or making any move that sends a wring signal to the interviewer. Always behave as if you are sitting in the same cabin as the interviewer.

The Final Word

No one had envisioned such a dynamic change in the way interviews will be conducted in 2021. Looking at the way online collaborative platforms and virtual workspaces are gaining popularity, it is safe to say that practices like online interviews are here to stay.

Anyway, whether you are appearing for an online interview or an office interview, the keys to a successful interview in 2021 are thorough knowledge of the domain, a confident personality, and a genuine motivation to occupy the concerned position.