How to structure your interview

Interrogatory interview

An interview can feel like an interrogation. This article will help you prepare yourself, so you can give an excellent interview!

How to structure your interview

Imagine: You’re in a job interview, and the interviewer asks you to tell something about yourself.

Panic arises. What do you tell? The stereotypical issues can arise, like “I’m a good teamplayer” and “I have excellent IT skills”, but those are way too common and not impressive or memorable at all.

On the other hand, “I can juggle three tennis balls in the air while riding a unicycle” is pretty useless if you want a real shot at the job. So how do you give someone a good impression of who you are and what you can do, in a limited timeframe?

 

Answer the basic questions:

Wherever you do an interview, in whatever line of work, the same basic questions need to be answered: Who are you, what can you do, what are your interests and what would you add to the company? Make sure that you prepare the answers to these questions before the interview is conducted. Use examples from your career to exemplify what you mean. In short: Prove your statements by providing successes from your past.

 

Structuring your answers

To make sure you deliver an excellent response to an interviewer’s questions, you should try to structurize your talk. What defines you? What is your specific added value? In what aspects are you a vital part of this company? Try to write out a pitch, building from brainstorming these kinds of questions. Create a nice, inspirational story out of it, remove the parts that add little to your pitch and practice it out loud multiple times. Watch out that your story doesn’t get too long, boring or monotonous.

 

Enthusiasm

A sales pitch selling yourself can be pretty boring as well. Make sure to alternate between selling yourself and telling your story. Your interests and hobbies tell a lot about who you are as a person.

Having backpacked in India indicates that you are adventurous, being in a theatre club shows that you are eccentric, even being fluent in a fictional language could be worth mentioning as it shows flexibility, perseverance and a knack for languages. Talking about these subjects provides your character with an extra layer, and it is a subject about which you are able to talk enthusiastically (usually!). Every character trait you possess can be viewed as being a positive one, it all depends on how you bring it!

 

Question time

“”—and I am great at communicating and teamworking.”

Silence.

Silence is the worst thing that could happen during an interview. It is an awkward situation that can be prevented, if you are prepared for it. Whenever finishing your sentence, finish it with a question. Whenever you finish with a question, you leave a window of opportunity for your interviewer. This keeps the conversation going with relevant questions. If you have just been talking about your fascination for learning new things, ask a question about the educational programs provided by the employer. In this way, you have an excellent ending to your pitch and get to know things which are relevant for you as well.

Workshops

If you want to know more about selling yourself or other relevant skills, make sure to visit some workshops during the upcoming Graduate School Week (19th-23th September).

See what workshops we provide, and subscribe!

 (Based on this article by Brunel. Article is in Dutch.)