9 Tips for Preparing for an Interview

Getting prepared for an interview can be daunting, here’s some tips to help you get prepared.

** The following list is not the exhaustive, there’s lots of great advice available on how to prepare for an interview, but these are things that we think are important (and which candidates often fail to do)

#1 Get to know the employer

We’ve heard stories of candidates being surprised in an interview when they heard (from the interviewer) what the company’s main business was or their pricing structure or key selling points.  Those candidates never get the job.

11 Tips for a Winning CV

Will your CV help you get you an interview for that dream job?

We see a lot of great candidates with interesting and relevant skills and experiences but unfortunately many have poor or even terrible CV’s.

Maybe they’re thinking that the CV doesn’t matter too much because when they get the interview they’ll be able to prove themselves to the interviewer.

Unfortunately, most don’t even get the chance to interview.

The CV is the very first impression you give to the interviewer who will probably take 5-6 seconds to scan your CV for key words that they’re looking for.

If your CV is poorly formatted, hard to read and confusing then they won’t see those key words and you’ll be eliminated before you even got a chance to interview.

Here’s some tips to follow to ensure you give yourself the best chance.

How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview

“So tell us a bit about yourself”

This is often the first question candidates will face in an interview and we guess that many candidates think this is an invitation to describe exactly what is on their CV, starting from the bottom and working up to the top.

We wish they wouldn’t – here’s why:

Not only is this approach incredibly boring for the interviewer (not a good impression) but it’s likely that when they finish the interviewer will still have no idea who the candidate is, which will force them to think, “Gee, I’ll need to find another way to ask that question.”

So if you take this approach not only are you wasting the interviewer’s time but you’re wasting your own opportunity to make a good initial impression.

How then should you introduce yourself?

3 Signs You’ve Had a Successful Interview

How do we know when a candidate has done well in an interview?

We know it when we hear something like this back from our client:

She’s got a great track record in this type of work and we can really see her fitting in with our team and being driven to succeed in this job.  She was really just the obvious choice and we knew it after 5 minutes.

The two key words in this sentence are ‘see’ and ‘feel’ because the candidate managed to:

  1. Demonstrate relevant skills and experience, as well as a track record of success (this was in her CV but she backed it up in the interview)
  2. Create an image of a person who would fit in well with the people in the organisation, especially the interviewers
  3. Make them feel that she would be highly motivated in this role

Generally speaking, anyone who achieves these three things in an interview will get the job.

But this is easier said that done, especially for those of us who are not ‘natural performers’ (an interview is often just more like a performance than a true measure of how you work, so it favours those who are good at performing).

But here’s some things to think about as you prepare for the interview.

Time to Ask for a Raise?

At Chinesys, we’re often approached by education marketing professionals seeking new job opportunities and when we ask them why they’re thinking of leaving their employer they sometimes say:

“I’ve been working for them for 3 years but never got a raise in my salary”

We understand that can happen and especially understand that it is disappointing, not just because of the financial pressure it brings, but because it makes an employee feel unappreciated.

But then sometimes the story is even worse:

“And then my colleague got a raise and he’s only been there for 1 year!”

This all seems pretty unfair and can cause good employees to start looking for new opportunities elsewhere.

But there is something you can do before it gets to that stage and it’s something that is completely within your power to control:

You can ask.

Report Writing and Your Personal Brand

Reports are a part of life for university reps in China but what is sometimes overlooked is that it is an important opportunity to build your personal brand.

You might think that the reports you write for your manager and other members of senior management don’t affect you or your career too much.

After all, it’s just an update on your work in the past week, month, quarter or year and mostly they know about it already because they asked you to do it.

And because it doesn’t seem that important, you might just list the things you’ve done in a very passive, disconnected way and in no particular order or without emphasis:

  • Last week a meeting was held with Mr Xu from XYZ University to discuss partnerships.
  • This month 4 education fairs were attended with close agent partners.

However, there are two career-limiting problems with this approach:

Job Hunting? Find the Right Boss.

You’re about to head into an interview; you’re nervous but prepared, you think you can do the role and you think that you’ve got the qualities that the company needs.

But what about your needs?

Sure, you’ve thought about it and decided the role is one you would enjoy.

And you know that working for that company will help you build your career and improve your CV.

And the extra money would be handy too; maybe you’ve thought about that!

However, what’s often overlooked by job hunters is assessing their future manager.