Interview Preparation

Getting a job in Nigeria can be a very daunting as well as engaging task, while it comes easy for some, it is the other story for another group of people, from the process of searching for a job in Nigeria, to the phase of applying for a job to the interview stage; adding to this endless process the large turnout of unemployed Nigerian youths, graduates who applies for a particular job outweighs in multiple times the required number which the recruiting firm aims to eventually employ. For every Nigerian job, there are over a hundred candidates who are applying or who will apply for it.

No doubt that with the aforementioned job opportunities in Nigeria are limited and by implication, the process of searching or hunting for jobs as most Nigeria would use is a phase that needs and requires an intentional commitment and strategic working where you must  take all the phases involved serious.

One of the major part of getting a job which many people believe that is the most daunting process is the job interview process. Many job seekers believe that acing an interview is actually difficult as it not only depend on one’s ability to answer the top interview questions but also in handling interview pressure. While interview committee or recruiting firms always seek to make their applicant go through various intellectual as well as mental draining process in other to pick out the best candidate, one whose skill set and personality identifies well with the tenets and ideals of the organization, it now rest on the applicant to ensure that they are well prepared for the interview process.

By definition, a job interview is a strategic conversation between a job seeker and either an HR professional or a representative(s) of the recruiting company. It is used to assess a candidate for a particular job opening within the organization. Job interviews remain one of the most popular tools used in recruitment exercises by employers.

With the advent of the internet and technological advancement, interviews are no longer restricted to face-to-face conversations. They have morphed into more advanced forms. Some of which include telephone interviews, online chats and video calls between employers and potential employees.

To have the best of interview processes or sessions, it is quite important for you to ensure that you understand the various metrics involved in preparing well for your interview process.  A common saying goes thus, ‘he who fails to plan, plans to fail’ this statement lays much emphasis on the need for job applicants to be fully prepared before stepping their foot into their various interview sessions.

However before we proceed it is quite important for job seekers to know that there are various types of interview sessions.  Against the traditional way of conducting interview which most of us are used to where applicants are made to sit in front of stern looking officials with a stack of documents in front of them, interviews processes have evolved over the years as it has been simplified to suit various purposes as well as the job description.

Listed below are the various type of job interviews which exist in the corporate world. This will enable you understand what type of interview that you are preparing for and how you should be prepared for them.

Types of Job Interviews:

  1. Phone Interview

For most employers, this is the first type of job interview they’ll conduct in their process.

The goal of the phone screen is to determine if you can speak to the resume they have in front of them, particularly in terms of background, experience and qualifications for the role at hand

While it’s always important to remain friendly, facts are key in this initial screen. Remember to answer the call from a quiet place, and be ready with areas of your resume that are perfectly aligned with the needs of the role and the company.

Along with questions about your qualifications and experience, you should also expect questions about your job search, what you’re looking for, reasons for wanting a new job, etc. Overall, expect questions about why you’re job hunting and what you want in your next job. Many employers also ask about your desired salary, too, so be ready for that!

Make sure to look on LinkedIn to see who your phone interview is with, also. If it’s an HR person or recruiter, expect more general questions (about your job search, motivation, etc.)If it’s a hiring manager or more technical person, prepare for that type of question heavily as well!

  1. Face-to-Face Interview

The face-to-face interview typically comes after the phone screen.

This is where the employer gauges if you are a cultural fit for the company, while also asking questions to confirm the phone screen findings. (Whether your skills and experience are a match, etc.) Your end goal? Build rapport, show them you are a great culture fit and that you understand their pain loud and clear. Your best chance at success lies in remaining focused, responding to their questions, and not getting sidetracked.

Along with practicing great interview answers, make sure you’ve also worked on your body language and confidence.

  1. Video Interview

This next type of job interview is sometimes conducted instead of a phone interview.

It’s also sometimes done after you pass your phone interview… instead of a face-to-face interview if you’re looking for a job in a new city or state.

They’ll still want to meet you face-to-face eventually in most cases, but they might do a phone interview followed by a video interview before deciding whether to fly you out for the final round.

In this type of job interview, the interviewer wants to evaluate if you are a good fit, and double check that you have the skills, experience and qualifications to perform well in the role.

From a content perspective, treat this like a face-to-face interview. Aim for a setting with good lighting (make sure your face isn’t drowned out) and a clean background (no clutter) and make sure the volume is working and is not too loud or too soft.

Practice looking at the camera (not the screen) so that it looks as if you are making eye contact, and be sure to close any applications and put your bells and whistles on mute so they don’t inadvertently go off during the conversation.

Practice your overall body language, too, just like you would for an in-person interview.

Lastly, prepare for worst case scenario (technical difficulties) by keeping your phone on hand in case you need to call should the video connection fail.

  1. 4. Group Interview

Group or panel interviews can be stressful because you are often interviewed simultaneously by several members of the company.

It’s not easy, but try to maintain eye contact with whichever person is firing the question. However, when it comes to responding or returning with a question of your own, make eye contact with everyone, just like you might do while giving a presentation to a crowd.

Overall, treat this like any face-to-face interview but prepare more questions to ask, since you’ll be meeting with multiple people at the same time.

Panel interviews are a great time-saver and can allow a company to conduct more interview and less time. They’re becoming more and more common, so make sure you’re ready for this interview format.

As a final tip – before you leave the panel interview, ask for business cards from ALL so you can draft those thank you letters. Having business cards will also come in handy if you don’t hear feedback for a week or two and need to follow-up with the employer.

  1. One-Way Software Interview

This is relatively new compared with other types of job interviews.

Digital interviewing allows a company to select questions and have voice-recognition software read them to the candidate, who sits in front of a camera recording the whole thing. A very high-tech format — data and cognitive fit analytics are also brought into the mix and are used to score the candidate.

In addition to freeing up recruiter and hiring manager time, digital interviewing is heralded by many as a tool that levels the playing field and eliminates human bias when it comes to diversity, inclusiveness and fairness.

To prepare for this type of interview, make sure to place the camera slightly above your face so you are looking up to avoid the appearance of having 2 chins. Just like the online interview, pick an area that is free of distractions and clutter. Stick with short answers, and be sure to appear enthusiastic – not flat – by fluctuating your tone, and by smiling.

Different interview types call for different game plans – from the types and length of your responses to your level of preparation. Understanding the reasoning or end goal behind each format, and preparing accordingly, will give you your best chance at interview success.

  1. Coffee Meeting

Coffee pull ups in many instances have taken the place of the first formal, in-office meeting. Chatting over coffee is not uncommon with recruiters juggling many open roles, or hiring managers what no they have a gap to fill but haven’t gotten around to an official job description or posting just yet.

Preparing for Interviews

In Preparing for any interview session, there are certain things which are quite important for you to do as they form quite an essential factor in determining how prepared you are for the interview.

  1. Be mentally Ready– it is quite important for you to be mentally ready and prepared for any interview irrespective of the factors involved. The first battle which you need to win is against yourself as you have to overcome self- doubt. When you are mentally ready and prepared you will definitely have a good mindset and disposition towards the process. There are many individuals who think that because of the large numbers of applicants who applied for the same role which he is applying for, his chances are slim, or because some other applicant possesses some qualification which he does not have or because some of the applicants have the right connection which he feels might play to his disadvantages. It is very important that in an ideal setting, every applicant stands an equal chance to getting picked.
  2. Perform research on the company and role

Researching the company you’re applying to is an important part of preparing for an interview. Not only will it help provide context for your interview conversations, but it will also help you when preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers.

Researching the company and role as much as possible will give you an edge over the competition. Not only that, but fully preparing for an interview will help you remain calm so that you can be at your best. Here are a few things you should know before you walk into your interview:

  1. Research the product or service

Even if the role isn’t directly related to the company’s product or service, you’re still looking to be part of the team. It’s important to learn all you can about the product or service the company produces and promotes. You don’t necessarily need to understand each and every detail, especially if it’s a technical product, and you’re interviewing for a non-technical position, but you should have a basic understanding of the main products or services the company offers. If possible, request a sample of the product to familiarize yourself with the customer’s perspective. The more you can tell them about the product from a company and customer standpoint, the better you’ll perform in your interview.

  1. Research the role

It’s important to read the job description carefully and make sure that you understand all the requirements and responsibilities that go along with it. This will not only prepare you with thoughtful, targeted questions about the position during the interview, but it will ensure that you’re truly qualified and prepared to tackle the responsibilities if you get the job. If possible, research similar positions and read reviews from individuals in those positions, so you can get an idea of what the day-to-day activities will be. During the interview, ask for clarification or details about the role, so you can be sure you’re ready should you receive a job offer. Researching the role before an interview will also help you to decide whether or not the position is right for you.

  1. Research the company culture

Modern companies usually have social media accounts and blogs that discuss their company culture and industry. This information can give you an impression of the tone and personality of the company, as well as what they value. No matter how good a job seems, it’s important that you fit within the company culture and share a similar personality and values.

If you have questions about the workplace environment, culture, personality or values, be sure to ask during the interview. These questions can range from the software and tools used by the company, to their policies on vacation and sick time. Remember that the interview is just as much about you finding a good fit for your own work environment as it is about the company finding a good fit for the role. Knowing that your values align with the company ensures a happy professional life. This is also the perfect opportunity to find out more about the company and show the interviewer how you’ll fit.

  1. Talk to Insiders

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to find people who have worked for the company in the past or are currently working. Strike up a conversation with them or drop them an email. You can find out a lot about the organization from alumni and current employees. Most people are happy to help out when asked for advice.

  1. Prepare to Ask Some Questions Too

An interview is not just a chance for the interviewer to find out more about your fit with the company. It’s also a chance for you to find out how well you fit in with the company culture. In the process, you’ll come across as motivated, which is a bonus. Prepare your questions carefully to this end. But frame your questions carefully, or you could end up sending the wrong message. If you ask about the company’s turnover, it can seem like you haven’t done your research. At the same time, avoid controversial topics that may have made the news. An interest in controversy can come across as frivolous.

  1. Prepare your Documents– while preparing for any interview session, do well to ensure that you have at hand all the necessary documentation which is required of you to present during the interview session. Ensure that in writing your curriculum vitae, ensure that it is well prepared, and check online platforms like on how you can prepare a well detailed curriculum vitae, motivational letter, resume etc. while at this ensure that you have printed copies of all these documents. Have a glance at them to check for any typos before the interview day.
  2. Practice Interview Questions– there are various questions about your person, why you are applying for the position, how you think you fit into the organization’s structure, what makes you qualify for the stated role among other questions. It is quite important that you go through these questions and conduct a mock interview for yourself. We have prepared a list of top interview questions which you are most likely going to be asked during your interview sessions
  3. Pick a formal Outfit– this is quite important as you also be evaluated based on your appearance. Thus it is important that you take your time to master the position you applied for, get a suitable dress which fits this said role and avoid extravagant outfit.

Finally, a general advise is to follow career blogs. It is unfortunate that there are far less career blogs than Nigerian Politics blog and entertainment blogs, but you should take advantage of the few ones available and learn from them.

By Marcus Amudipe

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