Gearing up for an Interview – The Checklist

While we’re all well aware of the importance of preparing for school and university exams, an interview preparation takes on a different flavor. It’s more like a football or cricket match, in spite of all the preparation and practice; you never know what your opposition can throw at you. Interestingly, like sports, interviews also have a certain boundary within which they will occur and so, it becomes even more important for one to be prepared.

The Checklist below should guide you through your preparation in addition to your domain and subject knowledge.

Know your Strengths

Attend each interview knowing the objectives of the position you applied for and how your strengths fit in.

Remain confident throughout the interview and know what will help differentiate you from the rest.

Convey your core values through examples. It could be your collaborative nature, leadership skills, creativity, process-orientation, punctuality among others. What is important here is to highlight those strengths that are genuinely yours and those that you can show on the job from Day 1.

Communicate what value you can add to the organization through your subject knowledge and your strengths. Be specific when you want to show you are the best for the job and your explanation must fit the needs of the job. It’s good to ask why this position came forth within the company.

Be honest if there are any gaps in your resume. Present it honestly, but positively. Be it for family reasons or even a career change. In case you were between jobs, show how you used that time productively. Some are known to use this lapse period for attaining certifications.

Make sure you don’t go on a verbal diarrhea and bore your interviewer. Keep it concise and effective.

Find your Weakness

Your employers don’t expect be you to be perfect. Therefore, it is perfectly fine to communicate your weakness to your employers. It might be that you are short-tempered, or get frustrated with complex activities, perhaps a bit bad with numbers or may just not too good with technology or people. These are common traits and nothing to worry about.

Say, you are don’t like going into details, then present yourself as an idea or strategy person who can work well with the team that executes the details while you can lead. Being emotional can be presented as being empathetic and kind. A perfectionist can present oneself as someone who continuously strives for excellence by aiming for perfection. Finally, if you like to be left alone be sure to present yourself as a research-oriented, self-motivated individual who doesn’t need much help with the work.

And as there is always light at the end of the tunnel, you can always put these weaknesses across in a more positive light.

It might be that your portfolio also lacks in some of the skills expected for the job, however, let this not deter you from trying. If you are genuine, you can always show plans and aspirations for continuing further education to harness and acquire those skills.

Research your Employer

The last thing you want is to show that you only know the name and the address of your employer. Every employer loves to know that their candidate has come prepared and know sufficient information about their company. And the more you know, the better you will be.

Research on the job and the company you are applying. Quite a bit of information can be acquired from the local media, industry publications and the company website. However, don’t stop at that, it’s also good to know how their competition is and the market they are doing their business in.

If you can find someone who works there or has worked there, inside information can help you too.

Get a job description if you can and understand as much as you can about the job. Comparing with similar job descriptions can also be helpful.

All this won’t stand a chance, if you are not up to date with the subject matter related to the job. Keeping yourself updated on the latest terminologies and trends will show that you are active in the subject.

Above all, this will help you know if the job and the company are suitable for you.

Prepare your Documentation

There is no need to mention the importance of carrying a copy of your resume in hand, even if, you may have submitted it before. Some organizations may require you to fill their application form on arrival and having your resume in hand can help you with it accurately and quickly. Some companies also ask for a copy of the resume again when you land for the interview.

In addition to the resume, it is prudent to carry with you a few more documentation, especially in the UAE.  Some of the key documents to have handy are:

  1. Educational Degrees and Certificates
  2. Training and other Certificates
  3. Passport and Visa Copy
  4. Passport photos (UAE Specification)
  5. Experience Letters (if issued by your previous employers)
  6. Reference Letters (if you have any, and if not, Reference Contact Details)

Map the Location

While Dubai has a good Metro, Bus and Taxi system, it still does not cover the entire city. Other Emirates in the UAE have even weaker public transportation. Do not assume cab drivers to be aware of every nook and corner also.

As UAE is still a fast developing country and infrastructure keeps changing, do not assume the GPS will be up to date and accurate.

Hence, it is advised that you find out the location of the interview well in advance and if time permits, it would also be a good idea to scout the location beforehand to ensure that you arrive well on time.

Being a hot and humid country, arriving a little early will give you the time to freshen up and look spic and span for the interview.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Nothing beats practice. That’s exactly why sportsmen practice all the time. While there are no hard and fast rules on how an interview will be conducted, it would be good to practice so that you don’t end up hunting for the right words at the interview.

Practice with a friend or family. Practice in the mirror or even take a video if you like. Finally, make sure you are confident of your preparation and that you are ready with polished, concise and clear responses for your interview.

Best of Luck.



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