Things to expect during a job interview

Things to expect during a job interview is a guide to help prepare the candidate for the interview with a sound mind, as a lot of Job interviewees gets jittery when the thought of attending a Job interview floods through their mind or would rather get very tensed and uncomfortable when it’s time for the interview.

For some; the first few job interviews causes more stress and anxiety than other experiences, especially when they are fresh out of school. Scary thoughts of skepticism and pessimism sets in and they start asking themselves some doubting questions like “What if I don’t get shortlisted for an interview?,” “What if I don’t get the job offer I desired?,” or “What if I am offered a starting pay less than my expectations?” which can plague you, causing headaches and many sleepless nights.

After sending out numerous resumes and cover letters to different organizations seeking employment, then finally you were invited for a job interview! Do not blow your chances of getting employed by arriving unprepared for the interview. Applicants are often petrified and frazzled by interviews simply because of the fright of the unknown or what they can expect. The best way to prepare is to know what may be coming. The key to reducing your anxiety is in being well prepared for the interview.

Here are some pointers on what to expect during your first job interview, and how to prepare for it. As an applicant looking for a job you need to be at your best self both mentally and physically to be able to unleash the potentials you possess during the interview and to create a good impression with your interviewer.

As a guide to excel in your interview this article is prepared on what to expect during a job interview.

The Interview

A Job Interview is a meeting with a prospective employer to assess the qualifications of an applicant for employment for a job. The interview is a discussion between a candidate and a interviewer representing the employing company. Nearly every employee is evaluated through a series of interviews for the position.

A simple secret of performing excellently during the interview is the exhibition of knowledge concerning the field of Job in question; confidence in your speech and composure in the course of the conversation with your employers.

Types of Interviews

There are certainly numerous types of job interviews usually carried out, but the most popular types carried out are the one-on-one interviews and panel or board interviews.

“Panel interviews are common with civil service organisations and large Multi-National Companies when recruiting executive level positions.

As for one-on-one interviews, only one person interviews each applicant and makes the employment decision. The interviewer will often have a series of prepared questions, and they hold majority decision making power for the choice of the final candidate.

Panel/Board interviews are where job seekers are interviewed by two or more individuals, who come to a consensus as to who is the best person for the position. Government, non-profit, and many high tech organisations commonly use this type of interview.

Regardless of the type of job interview, there are two main styles of interviewing used by companies today to judge your suitability for the job – the traditional job interview and the behavioral job interview.
Primarily, this is done by questioning and evaluating the things about you and your experience (traditional job interview) based on what you tell the interviewer through questions such as, “Why do you want to work for this company?” and “tell me about your strengths and weaknesses”.

The behavioral job interview, however, observes you on how you handle the interview. Such an interview style uses questions that probe specific past behavior, such as, “tell me about a time where you challenged by an unanticipated problem,” or “tell me about an experience when you failed to achieve a set goal or objectives”. Recent graduates with little work experience should focus on class assignments, extra-curricular activities and group situations that might lend themselves to these types of questions. Hobbies and volunteer work might also provide examples you could use.


An applicant is successful in a job interview if he can convince the interviewer that he is the best bet among the lot for the Job, which is usually offered based on the assessment of the candidate’s performance during the interview. Successful candidates may often manage to handpick key items from their own experiences to show that they can do the job, and will do it better than any of the other candidates. They are the ones who project themselves into the job by asking the right questions, knowing the problems faced in that position, and even offering the solutions to such problems.

If you arrive some minutes early before the schedule time for the interview, take some time to collect your thoughts, tidy yourself and your outlook, go through your Resumes or credentials to confirm they are neatly arranged and complete, if possibly scan the lobby for additional current company information to what you already have.

Prior to your job interview, you should:-

  • Learn all you can about the company or organisation offering the job.
    Learn as much as you can so that your questions are cultured and knowledgeable during the interview.
    Employers will expect you to arrive knowing background information about the organisation. If not you will leave an impression that you are not really interested in the job. Research also helps you formulate intelligent and proper questions to ask in your interview.
  • Be prepared to answer and ask questions.
    Your composure should be solid while you answer questions, the rule here is to listen attentively, understand and process the question before answering. Also feel free to ask questions that you need clarifications for before leashing out your responses.
  • Ensure that your dressing and look is presentable for your interview.
    Make sure your outfits are business-like, clean, pressed and conventional; when in doubt, always dress more professionally than casually. Make sure your hair and nails are trimmed and clean and that you smell nice with the help of a subtle perfume. Please avoid smell of cigarette smoke or tobacco (if you are a smoker), make sure you have a fresh breath before approaching your interviewer.
  • Prepare all necessary documents for the interview.
    Bring extra copies of your resume, credentials, job reference lists, reference letters, a notepad for taking notes, and any other necessary material that you may wish to have with you.


Have a few questions prepared to ask the interviewer. This not only helps you gather important information about the company you may be working for, but also demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm. Avoid asking questions that are clearly answered on the employer’s web site or in any materials provided by the employer to you in advance. This would simply reveal that you did not prepare for the interview, and you are wasting the employer’s time by asking these questions.

Remember that an interview has two purposes: One, to sell yourself, and two, to evaluate the position. After asking questions, the interviewer usually invites you to ask questions. This is an excellent opportunity for you to gain knowledge about the prospective employer, and also to make a good impression.

For panel or board interviews, direct the beginning and end of your response to the person who asked you the question, whereas in between watching each member of the interviewers in turn. If you can link your response to one that you have previously given, do so. If at all possible, get the interviewers talking among themselves about your responses. Obtain the names of the interviewers prior to starting and use them during the conversation. Don’t exaggerate or lie. You might be tempted to exaggerate your achievements in the interview, but it will come back to haunt you in the future

Examples of questions you can ask during the interview:-
• would there be opportunities for promotion, and if so, how long would it be before I might be considered for one?
• How is this department perceived within the organisation?
What challenges or difficulties are present in the department now?
• What will be the greatest challenge in the job?
• What would you expect me to accomplish in this job?
• If I am offered the position, how soon will you need my response?

Ensure you turn off your cell phone before the interview but if you must leave it on ensure it is on silent mode, this is to guide against distractions during the interview. However it is very important to note that you should never attempt to answer any phone call at this stage.

Don’t ever interrupt the interviewer, even if you are anxious or enthusiastic about answering the question.
Be aware of your body language – sit straight, smile as often as you can, maintain eye contact but don’t stare the interviewer down. Lean forward but not in the way of assaulting the interviewer’s space. Sit calm in your seat and avoid fidgeting and slouching. Avoid nervous mannerisms such as tapping your fingers, feet, playing with pens, etc.

Even though salary is important, you do not want to give the impression that it is the only consideration. The interviewer needs to see that you are interested in the other aspects of the job like the potential for growth, learning or the challenge of the position.

Avoid questions about benefits, salary, working hours, and annual leave until when a job offer is made to you, In addition if the interviewer wants to know anything else about you. Do ask the interviewer what advice they would give to someone who joins the company. These are questions that allow you to learn something from the interviewer, and which can allow you to “repair” any damage done during the interview.

Upon concluding the interview, do not expect the interviewer to tell you definitively whether or not you have the job. However, if he or she has not already told you when you will hear back with an answer, feel free to ask before you leave.


If your first interview is not successful, do not worry or be disheartened. Rome was not built in a day. Continue sending out resumes, cover letters and researching on your potential employers. Just remember – Be Yourself! You do not want to get hired on the basis of something you are not but for who you are! 

You may get a “yes” or “no” response from most establishments within a week or two, although some establishments take longer if they are conducting interviews over time. Some, unfortunately, will not respond unless you are going to receive a job offer. While some may decide to invite you for another round of interviews if are still deciding between numerous applicants.Remember that no interview is a waste of your time, even if you did not consider the job offered or rather didn’t even get the job. Every interview you attend empowers your mind positively with an opportunity to practice your interview skills and to decide what jobs and organizations best fit your personality, interests, and skills.

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