For Alumni by Alumni: Interview Tips
Global Alumni Relations caught up with Nicolás Fernández, a Spanish BBA graduate who developed the following list when he prepared for his interviews. His preparation was very beneficial as it led to him getting a job at Nike and P&G.
Nicolas shared his best tips when preparing for an interview in order to help other students and alumni who are about to embark on the interview process . His hope is to provide readers with practical advice that is needed to succeed.
1) Do your background research: Know the specifics of the company: Founders, History, CEO, values, Mission & Vision statements, revenue, profit, share of the market, biggest challenges, biggest opportunities you see, and everything you can do your research about.
2) Use your network connections: Reach out to people that are already working for the company that came from IE University / Business School and ask them questions you might have and share tips if they have any.
3) There are a few questions that you might get asked while in an interview. Some of them are the following: Why do you want to work in this specific company, and more importantly in this role? There are thousands of positions to apply, why this one? – Please, have a prepared answer and focus on company values and the skills that you have and that will create value for the company.
4) Remember to always bring a notebook and a pen for notes you might want to take. Calculations without a calculator are very common, you might need to write several numbers in order to arrive to the result. Moreover, some questions might require a structured answer with different points. Your notes will help you with it.
5) Managers are interviewing a great pool of people, most of them are really prepared. Your attitude and motivation make the difference.
6) Eye contact is KEY. Look at the interviewer in the eyes. It portrays confidence and shows the interviewer that you are focused.
7) Your words are not enough, express yourself mostly with your body, especially with your hands (even if it is online).
8) Sitting position is key. Keep a straight back, it gives a better impression, and again, shows confidence.
9) You will be asked about your past. Know your CV and be prepared to give examples of projects you have worked on and the skills you have gained. The STAR method will give you a great structure to follow. Practice!
10) Put yourself in the interviewer’s position and try to think what type of questions your project arises. Practice how you would answer those questions giving detailed explanations. Online research might help you find similar questions that might arise during the interview process and your colleagues can help you practice and give you feedback.
11) Stressful environments tend to blind our minds and one can forget some answers. If you do not know an answer, please do not make something up. Always be honest and if you need to take your time to answer, communicate your thinking process. It will allow the interview to know how you are structuring the answer.
12) Try to connect on a personal level throughout the interview. The best way to do this is by being yourself, do not pretend to be someone you are not, be natural.
13) Show emotion! Smile! People prefer someone that they can connect with, someone that looks approachable, rather than someone that does not show any emotion.
14) If they ask you a challenging question, do not remain silent. Ask them to repeat the question and explain your thought process. One can be silent because they are thinking, not because they do not know the answer. Indirectly, let your interviewer know that.
15) Whenever they ask you a question like: “Tell me about your weaknesses”, managers expect from you more than just key words. When stating your weaknesses, focus on how you have been improving them and how are you planning to continue to improve them.
16) The interviewer will appreciate if you are interested in what they do. You can ask about his / her experiences, as well as what their day to day is like. They might give you valuable insight about the company that you can also use to see if you are a good fit and link it to your own values.
17) Interviews have a few minutes at the end for you to ask questions. Always have a question prepared. Some examples can be: What are the main challenges of the job? Could you please explain the day to day responsibilities this job entitles? How do you see the company’s culture in your day at work?
18) It is important to send a well composed thank you email, not just thanking the interviewers, but also your HR contact that has helped you throughout the process. You should have a brief paragraph stating how after the interview you have reassured yourself you are a great fit (and briefly state why).
19) HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ABILITIES. If you believe you deserve the position and you believe in yourself, your chances to get the job will increase. Don’t be cocky, be confident. Believe in yourself, trust your knowledge and you will rock it!
Nicolas’ tips provides students and alumni with the advice needed to successfully prepare for an interview – always keeping in mind that the number one key to survival will always be believing in one’s self.