Job Interview Tips – Preparation

Learn about preparing for your job interview in Belgium. Preparing for your interview requires research. Find out as much about the company you want to join as you possibly can.

Tip *
Remember to take notes when you do your research.

So what should you learn about a company in advance? Just how do you go about impressing your interviewer? Here’s the job interview preparation.

  • First, find out about the industry the company operates in. Is it banking, telecommunications, energy, retail clothing, or the restaurant business? Learn a little about what’s going on in the industry. Is it a growth industry? Are companies in the industry hiring or are they cutting back?
  • What’s the company’s #1 product or service that brings them most of their revenue? Are they developing a product or service that has the potential to be a game changer? Think iPhone, Kindle or Android.
  • Don’t go into an interview cold. Bone up on the company’s history. When was it founded? How many employees does it have? Where is its corporate headquarters? Do they have subsidiaries?
  • Who are its competitors and how does it stack up against them?
  • Who is the CEO?  Check out the bio on the company’s website and then see what other informed sources are saying about him or her. A CEO’s reputation, experience and press coverage can often tell you a great deal about a company’s values and future prospects.

Something else to keep in mind: Just like nations who have their individual cultures, well so do companies. It’s essential to have a solid understanding of the company’s culture. The most effective way of doing this is to find out what its mission and values are. You can usually find this information in the job section on their corporate website.

FOR EXAMPLE, a company like Google talks a lot about hiring smart, creative people who are up for any challenge and are excited about what they do. Obviously Google values creativity, thinking out of the box and passionate people.

Here is a quick checklist of questions that interviewers use in the Resume/CV selection process:

  • Does this CV match the job description?
  • Has the candidate performed a majority of the tasks and responsibilities required for this job?
  • Does the candidate have the educational pre-requisites or technical skills?
  • Has the candidate performed this job in the past and for how long?
  • Does the candidate’s objective match the purpose of the job and the mission of the company?
  • Does the candidate speak foreign languages required for the job if any?
  • Has the candidate demonstrated stability in his or her career? Or did he or she jump frequently? (Changing jobs a lot at the beginning of the career isn’t going to be held against you so long as you have shown that you are able to hold a job for an extended period later on.) Has the candidate evolved and been promoted or has he or she seemed to stagnate? And if so, why?
  • Does this person have potential to do this job? Do they have AMP?

AMP

Attitude (cultural fit)
Motivation (committed)
Potential (capable)

What is an Informational Interview?

You research your network and find a person working in the job in which you are targeting.
Ask them for 30 minutes of their time, introduce your self as a student. Can you help me?
What are the top 3 things that you do most in your job? How do you spend the majority of your time in the day?
Which competencies/soft skills are most valuable to succeed in this role?
What do like most about your role?
What do you dislike most about your role?
If you could give me a few tips or pieces of advice to succeed in this job, what would it be?
Who are your main contacts?

How to discuss your weaknesses?

It’s no longer acceptable to come up with negative things which can be turned into the positive, such as, “I am a perfectionist” This was used in the 90’s.

Now, recruiters are looking for maturity. We want to see that you have self-awareness. We all have weaknesses so what’s critical is that you are aware of them, it’s called self-awareness. This is part of leadership. It’s being taught to CEO’s at Harvard. Next, recruiters want to know is what you learned from your mistake. Finally, they want to know what steps you are taking so it doesn’t happen again.

Interview Models : Competency based Interviewing / STAR and Situational Style Interviewing.

Competency Based Interviewing. This is common model used today in global multinational corporations. It’s used to test your soft skills (for example: logic, planning, stress resistance, flexibility, team working+collaboration). The reasoning behind this model is: “What you did in the past, predicts your ability to do it again in the future.” So, HR managers and recruiters will be asking you to provide examples in your past which is evidence that you indeed have that required soft skill competency.

Here are some guidelines to help you practice behavioral interviewing:

  • 1. Identify which competencies or ‘behaviors’ are listed in the description of the job you’re applying for. Often you’ll find that each job description lists several skills the company would like to see in a candidate such as “superb negotiation and communication skills, analytical, flexible, goal oriented.” If you see a list like that you should be prepared for an interview where you’ll be questioned about your soft skills.
  • 2. If you believe that you fit the criteria a company is looking for, think back to when you demonstrated such skills in the work you’ve done. If you believe you’re an excellent communicator, for instance, you must have a reason for that conviction. Maybe you had an idea that you pitched – and it wowed your boss and colleagues. (Presumably you can do the same in your interview.) Or did a situation arise where you were asked to mediate or settle differences between colleagues or departments? If you think you have good negotiating skills you should have some basis for it. So what happened? Can you make a convincing case to the interviewer that you do in fact possess such skills? Put yourself in a manager’s shoes. What would you like to hear from a candidate? What would convince you that this person can do what they say? Your answer must be concrete, detailed and precise.
  • 3. Prepare to answer these questions following the model STAR. This is a very common interviewing model widely used by multinational companies. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Interviewers who use STAR generally follow a formula.

Read definition of competency (found on eBook or Amazon.com, “Interviewing in the Global Economy, How to get hired by a multinational, Erica Elias)

Find examples in your life when you exhibited those competencies
Use STAR to structure your response

STAR, Situation, Task, Action, Results

S
ituation
or
T
ask
Describe the situation that you were in (general context of the project or your department and the goal and purpose). Then, explain the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific role or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
A
ction
you took Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.
R
esults you achieved
What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

Networking: most powerful source today

Only 30% of real jobs are publicly advertised. The other 70% are filled by internal networks. Networking helps you not only to find a job but to also maintain your position and reputation.

Networking is a group of people who develop and maintain contact to exchange information (usually about a shared interest)

Networks help to:

  • Expand the interest of employees;
  • Keep others informed about new technical developments;
  • Make you more visible to others;
  • Networks help employees learn who knows what and even who knows those who know;
  • Understand for yourself what your personal resources are and what you can offer to others;
  • Clarify your purpose for joining a network;
  • Join community organizations and contribute to them;
  • Initiate contacts with people whenever you can find a reason;
  • Share news/information and ideas with others, thereby creating an obligation to reciprocate;
  • Seek out responsibilities that will bring you into contact with key people;
  • Demonstrate to other people and networks that you can be trusted with confidential information;
  • Identify the key members of your network-those who have most influence + willingness to help;
  • Don’t hesitate to tap into your network for general advice, career contacts, other useful information;
  • Find ways that you can help your network satisfy their needs too!;

Sources: Where do you find a job?

www.jobscareer.be | For Belgian companies.
www.jobsinbrussels.com | For English speaking, International environment.
www.indeed.com | General, high quality international job portal.
www.linkedin.com | Professional social network.
www.actiris.be | For Belgian companies and public sector.
www.monster.be | For Belgian or multinational corporate environments. Mmanagement and executive level positions.
www.stepstone.be | For the Benelux. Also blue collar functions and internships. sp
www.vacature.be | Flemish job board: online and in print.
www.references.be | Belgian, French speaking job board.
www.optioncarriere.be | French speaking job portal.
www. careerjet.be | General Belgian job portal.
Newspapers | Le Soir, Le Vacature, Data News (IT), Metro, …
www.experteer.com | International job portal for executive positions.
eures.europa.eu | For European jobs.
www.ictjob.be | For ICT jobs in Belgium and Luxembourg.
www.vdab.be | Belgian, Flemish speaking job board.
www.forem.be | Belgian, French speaking job board.
www.brusselsjobs.com and www.eurobrussels.com | For international experts in law and political affairs, Benelux.
www.vlan.be | For lower level jobs in the Benelux.
www.efinancialcareer.be | For jobs in the Benelux in finance, banking and insurance.
www.itjobboard.be | For IT jobs in Belgium.
www.jobat.be | Dutch and French speaking job portal for all industries.
www.it-jobbank.be | For IT engineers, programmers and analysts.

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