What should you expect from a job interview? Find out here 


Nothing can be more exciting than finally receiving a call for a job you had applied for, perhaps after making several applications. As your prospective employer or their secretary invites you for an interview, it is not unusual to put everything else aside and jump in celebration.

However, getting an interview invitation doesn’t really mean you got the position. Rather, it is merely a roadmap to securing a job that you’ve perhaps dreamt of or eyed for a while. This is why you need to prepare adequately for your interview, which partially means knowing what to expect. Especially when applying for a junior position after school, here is a list of several things to expect from a job interview so you can ace it:

laptop, notepad (©Nick Morrison)
laptop, notepad (©Nick Morrison)

1. It’s a multistep process.

Well, this one is quite self-explanatory. Job interviews are often a process with multiple stages. Once you come across a job post and apply for a position, the prospective employer or hiring managers go through your resume, cover letter, and resume so they can get a glimpse of your academic qualifications and experience. They peruse and compare these aspects from a huge pool of applicants, inviting you for an interview if you’re competent enough. Here’s a brief summary of the multistep process:

Pre-communication before the interview

As earlier mentioned, hiring managers or recruiters will communicate with you before your interview. Here, they will provide details about your interview date, time, and venue, letting you know if you need to avail additional documents or supporting materials. Most companies communicate to successful candidates via phone calls, even though SMS and email communication are also popular.

Psychometric tests 

While some recruiters conduct preliminary interviews first, others like to start the hiring process using psychometric testing. These tests are generally used to assess the mental skills and capabilities of job candidates for a particular role. This means that your chances of proceeding to the next level of the interviewing will depend on how well prepared you are before taking the tests.

Thankfully, psychometric test problems tend to recur a lot; most of them being timed SHL-style tests covering multiple-choice questions. This is one of the reasons many job seekers seek SHL practice tests with answers when preparing for an interview. These practice tests can help sharpen your aptitude, cognitive abilities, and even personality characteristics ahead of your interview.

Oral interviews 

Oral interviews are a critical step in the process because they allow the recruiter to know more about you than your resume or cover letter can tell. Here, the job candidate faces one or several interviewers in a one-on-one conversation. You can expect a wide range of common interview questions, some of which could be general knowledge or related to your field of study. Some might be specifically geared to reveal certain personalities, cognitive skills, or behaviors. The following are some of the most popular questions you can expect in an oral job interview.

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • What’s your ideal work environment?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Tell me a bit about our company and why you want to work for us?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What sets you apart from the other applicants?
  • What questions do you have about the job or our company?

While not every interviewer may use these questions as a script, you can be assured to expect one or two questions from the above list. The biggest trick in the book is to answer each question with as much clarity as you can.


­2. Early arrival is crucial.

Nothing can be a deal-breaker than arriving late for an interview. Recruiters expect you to get there early ahead of the scheduled time, or communicate promptly in case you cannot make it. Getting lost or stuck in traffic are some of the lamest excuses you can give for running late for an interview. This makes it crucial to prepare early and manage your time wisely depending on the interview venue.


3. Patience is part of the process.

Once you get to the interview venue, you will want to let your presence known at the reception desk. Provide your personal details alongside the position you are interviewing for, so the secretary can slot you in. While at the waiting area, be sure to sit patiently as you await further instructions. You will also want to be patient after the interview, waiting to hear back from the recruiter. While a simple thank you email can do wonders, avoid spamming the company with emails every other day asking how you performed.


4. You need to dress the part.

The outfit you choose for your interview can say a lot about you. While you don’t always have to invest in expensive attire, make sure to dress appropriately for the position you’re interviewing for. Having some knowledge of the company’s dress code beforehand can go a long way.

Yes, interviews can be scary, nerve-wracking, and even stressful. However, this might not be the case if you come properly prepared. It gets easier if you know what to expect.

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