After job searching for god knowns how long, you’ve finally landed an interview with the employer of your dreams. It’s all up to you now, #NoPressure! Before you even step foot in the panic room, however, here are some top tips for preparing for an all-important interview.
Do Your Research
Spending even just a bit of time researching your potential employer will make a huge difference in the interview, and the more you do the better. Read the website so you fully understand the company’s function and voice; scourer their social media so you know their culture and promotional strategy; and read news articles about them so you know their recent history.
If possible, also do some research on your interviewer. What role do they have? How long have they been with the company? And, crucially, what’s their name?! If you use their name a couple of times in the interview (title and family name in China, please) they’ll feel valued and an immediate rapport with you.
Get Your Answers Ready
Learning the answers to typical interview questions by rote can look over-rehearsed and wooden, but it’s worth thinking about what an interviewer may ask you and how best to respond. A good starting point is to look at the job advert and try to relate a role or experience you’ve had to every one of the job requirements. If you can’t match a requirement, research it so you at least have a base knowledge of what it entails.
When researching the company (see above), make some notes on what you like and what you think could be done better. Also be sure to check out their competitors in case questions about the industry in general come up. Finally, make a mental note of some challenges you faced, how you overcame them and your weaknesses. Don’t go overboard on your weaknesses, obviously, but employers love to ask about these and modesty is highly valued in China.
Get Your Outfit Ready Beforehand
Nothing is more stressful than rushing to get ready for an interview when you suddenly realize the shirt you were planning to wear is covered in Kung Pao Chicken. If you’re actively job seeking, try and have one good interview outfit ready to go at all times. You never know when you’re going to get that call.
Get Your Bag Together
Print out a couple of extra copies of your latest CV, ready to hand out to your interviewers. If you’ve got a portfolio, bring that as well. Never fail to bring plenty of pens and a notebook, too. Taking notes during the interview will make you look organized and eager.
Plan Your Route
First impressions are everything in an interview, so if you turn up late you’re automatically docked a few points, if not discounted altogether. Plan your route carefully allowing plenty of time for all eventualities, such as your taxi getting lost or your Ofo getting a flat. If possible do a test run beforehand. Just because it looks simple on Baidu maps doesn’t mean you’re not going to spend 20 minutes walking around a business park until you find the entrance.
Don’t Sweat It
In the days and hours leading up to the interview for your dream job, try not to think about it in such lofty terms. Nerves can make people say and do weird things, so the calmer you remain, the better. Try to think of the interview as just good practice rather than a life and death situation. If you’re really struggling, repeat positive affirmations such as, “I am calm and confident”, constantly in your head, right until you walk into the interview room.
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