How to behave at a job interview to get hired?

How to behave on an interview to be sure you will be accepted

So, your resume caught the eye of the recruiter, and you were invited for an interview. The most important thing is to impress the employer and get the job of your dreams. Together with the HR director Anna Zyryanova we will tell you how to do it.

About the expert: Anna Zyryanova, CEO of SelfMama, top 100 HR-directors of Russia.

What is a job interview and what can it be?

The interview is not an “exam”, during which the applicant does his best to please the employer. Rather, it is an equal dialogue between the candidate and the recruiter or manager of the company. During the conversation, both parties get to know each other and find out how suitable they are for each other. The candidate can and even should ask questions and at the end of the interview decide whether or not he/she is suitable for the job offered.

The conversation between the job seeker and the employer can take place in a variety of formats: individual or group, in person or remotely, by phone or video link. Because of the pandemic, online interviews have become commonplace, and if you’re applying for a remote job, this is the best dating option.

Before the meeting, you will be offered a phone call in advance. Already at this stage of acquaintance important details are found out, because of which the candidate or the company can be eliminated and not waste time on a full-fledged interview. If all goes well, during the first call you can clarify the format of the next meeting to better prepare yourself.

After the phone call, you may be invited to a video meeting via Skype, Zoom or other software to discuss in detail the job terms, experience and your personal qualities. The final step or alternative to the video call is a face-to-face meeting. A recruiter, director, or even a whole group of company employees can talk to you.

Whatever the format of the interview, any interview requires preparation. A prepared candidate is less nervous, feels more confident, and knows what he or she wants and what he or she is talking about.

How to prepare for a job interview

Learn as much as you can about the company

Google who and when the company was founded, how it works now, and what values its employees adhere to. Study all the sections of the organization’s website to have an idea of the scope and direction of its work, read about market research, Russian and foreign trends in the field. The employer will note your awareness and understand that you are not applying for the position by accident.

Formulate why you need this particular job

This way you save time, and yourself, and the recruiter. Just don’t say general words about wanting to develop or make someone’s life better. Be honest, to the point and don’t forget to mention exactly how the new job will meet your needs and how your ambitions will benefit the company.

Compare offers from other organizations and note for yourself what attracts you most to this employer – prospects, interesting tasks, location, social responsibility.

Find out how and who will interview you.

The more you know about who your hiring manager is and how he usually interviews candidates, the better your chances for success.

Anna Zyryanova:

“Somewhere you have to be prepared for a competency-based interview, and somewhere it takes place in the format of an ordinary conversation. Sometimes you have to solve test tasks, and sometimes you have to take apart cases and pass tests. Somewhere you have to wear a hoodie, and somewhere you have to wear a three-piece suit. It’s always a good idea to get a three-dimensional picture of what to expect. This will add extra points and give you the opportunity to tailor your answers to the employer’s expectations. Usually an unprepared candidate can be seen with the naked eye.”

You can find out the nuances of the upcoming interview from the recruiter himself – call and directly ask who you will interview, what tests to be prepared for, what is the company dress code and communication style.

Look at the social networks of those who will talk to you. Perhaps your potential manager is blogging about work or just posting notes from his life. Suddenly you will agree that you once had an internship at the same company or just went to the same school. Sometimes the most irrational factors influence the decision to accept an employee, such as shared memories of the first teacher.

Find out what soft skills are important for the company

No one in the team wants a professionally qualified employee who is unable to establish contacts with his colleagues or fail to follow deadlines.

Anna Zyryanova:

“As they say, hire for hard, fire for soft. The recruiter’s task at the first interview is to check soft skills, and the next stage is often a test of professional skills, often with case studies and tests. The professional community has not finally agreed on what these very “flexible skills” are. You can google many different lists, demanded in different areas now or in the future, and ask yourself if you have these skills.

Prepare yourself technically

If you are going to be interviewed by video call, take care of a stable Internet speed, check that your headset and headphones work properly, and warn your family to keep their voices down for the next hour. If you are meeting with the employer in person, think about your appearance. Regardless of your style, you should look neat and tidy. Iron and lay out your clothes in advance.

Print a few copies of your resume just in case – in case someone from the receiving party does not have a copy on hand. Find out in advance where you are going to meet them and how much time you will need for travel, so you are not late and unnecessarily stressed. Also try to get enough sleep.

Relax .

Plan a pleasant activity after the interview – dinner at a favorite cafe, a massage, a meeting with friends, shopping. This way you’ll partially switch to the anticipation of rewarding yourself for the stress you’ve been through.

Cheer yourself up. Hold an affirmation session in front of the mirror and tell yourself a couple of weasels – that you are the smartest, most worthy, competent and self-sufficient person. If that’s not enough, call a loved one, who is usually pretty good at motivating you and knows how to support you.

Remember that the interview is a “casting” of both parties. You, too, are evaluating your employer and are still questioning whether it’s worth linking up with him or her for a significant part of your life. Such an attitude reduces the excitement.

What questions to ask at a job interview

Answers to these questions can be thought through and rehearsed in advance – but as long as they don’t look memorized. Also, your answers should be honest, not “right.” The desire to please is always noticeable and not very pleasant.

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years at the company? This is a question about how your career plans match up with those of the company, and whether you’re comfortable with the career scenarios in that position. There are times when a position doesn’t involve a promotion, only a move to another department. Study in advance the structure and different positions in the company, define your tasks and outline how much you want to earn in the long term. Speaking of salary.
  2. What kind of salary do you expect to make? Look at the salaries of the same position on the market, compare them to your needs and name your fork. The main thing is to assess yourself sensibly, not to unduly underestimate or overestimate the requirements, and the figures you name to adequately reason.
  3. Why did you leave your old job? The reasons may be different – you did not see opportunities for growth, your family moved to another city, or you were downsized. Do not complain about the past work and do not scold the boss. Honestly, but correctly explain what did not suit you or your former manager. Formulate an answer in advance, so that you do not look like an incompetent employee and a victim of circumstances, and even if there were mistakes, show that you are always willing to work on them.
  4. What mistakes did you make in your previous job? This is where the employer expects you to show yourself to be an adult and a mature employee. No one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes. But if you can learn a lesson from a failure, your value increases many times over. Give an example of such a story and tell how the mistake was useful for your experience, and how you act in similar situations now.
  5. Talk about your strengths. You should also be able to praise yourself. Support each characteristic with evidence. For example, this could be the response of a sales manager: “I get along well with people and can find common ground with anyone. I like it when I can use my communication skills to solve a problem – to resolve a conflict, to find a big client. For example, in my last job…”

Anna Zyryanova:

“Some companies create special guides for candidates to prepare in advance and not waste the recruiter’s time. Amazon, for example, has such a guide. On YouTube you can find videos on how to prepare for an interview, what competencies you need for this or that company, and what, for example, STAR-interview is.”

How to behave at a job interview: instructions

Smile and be polite

Even a top-notch professional can fail at a job interview if he’s sullen, soft-spoken and harsh in his expressions. Smile amiably at your prospective employer, listen carefully, don’t interrupt. Do not withdraw, but do not become familiar. Phone off or put it on silent mode. Address the interlocutor as “you”, or agree in advance on a comfortable form of communication. To ease the tension, you can exchange a couple of “small talk” phrases before the start of the interview, e.g. about the weather or a pleasant office interior.

Sit up straight, breathe deeply.

Firstly, a straight posture is beautiful. Secondly, so you will look and feel much more confident. Thirdly, with straight shoulders your voice sounds more pleasant, words are pronounced more clearly and there is more air in your lungs. More air means better blood circulation. And then the brain works faster and the nerves come in order.

Watch your speech

Public speaking skills are more important at a job interview than anywhere else. Listening to someone who speaks incoherently and incoherently, cannot formulate and follow through is extremely difficult. Control your speech, speak clearly, don’t fuss, pause between sentences. A few minutes before the meeting, you can go to the restroom and in front of the mirror to stretch your articulation apparatus so that your mouth listens to you. Exercises for warming up are easy to find on the Internet.

Try not to use “doubtful” constructions: “as if,” “probably,” “probably,” “probably,” “probably. They diminish the significance of your words and signal the speaker’s uncertainty. Use active verbs more often: “can”, “can do”, “created”, “did”, “undertook”. Eliminate parasitic words and jargon. Don’t overuse professional terms so as not to burden the recruiter, who is unlikely to know the intricacies of your job.

Don’t rehash your resume.

Chances are, employers have already studied it. And if they have done so in a cursory fashion for lack of time, tell them the most important points in a minute or two. And it’s better to change the order of the facts of your biography: start with the most important, for example, the largest and most successful project, and at the end talk about the place of study or additional courses.

Talk about the results, give examples

Instead of listing your past duties, tell what you have already managed to do, what specific problems you have solved at your previous jobs.

Anna Zyryanova:

“Recruiters recommend that you prepare in advance a description of cases in which you felt “good”. Think back and write down at least 10 such situations. For example, you managed to protect a budget on the first try, resolve a conflict between departments, or successfully conduct negotiations. The description of the case should have a certain drama that implies that there was some difficulty or problem that needed to be solved. Describe what your goals and objectives were in the case, how you interacted with others, what specifically you undertook, what results it led to, and what conclusions you drew.

Tell us what sets you apart from the other candidates.

Just don’t be overconfident and belittle your competitors. Find something in your past experience and current motivation that others may not have. For example, if the company is focused on the Chinese market, it would be appropriate to mention your volunteer work in China. You’re familiar with the language and culture of the country, so that’s a plus. Or if the company supports environmental initiatives, mention that you also recycle plastic.

Turn on your webcam.

If your interview is via video link, be sure to turn on your camera. The employer will probably want to see you and make a first impression, so your camera should be on by default.

On a video call, it’s especially important to show your goodwill with your words and voice, as non-verbal ways of communicating in a remote interview are often powerless. Periodically ask if you can be heard well, and if in doubt, check to see if the picture is “frozen”. After the “call”, thank your employer for their time with a personal message. This simple rule of courtesy will leave a pleasant aftertaste after the conversation and bring you closer to the long-awaited offer.

What questions to ask at the interview

At the interview you need to ask questions of the employer. About the material – so that everything is legal and transparent, and about the spiritual – so that the work meets your needs, and the manager feels your interest.

  1. Is the salary official? Salary “in an envelope”, “black”, “gray” and salaries in colors other than “white” is a violation of the law. The employee, as well as the employer, can be held liable. In addition, any conflict with the boss, maternity leave or sick leave can leave you without money, and it will be extremely difficult to recover it through the courts. Here you can also ask how often your salary is paid and how you can influence its amount.
  2. What distinguishes your successful employees? You will understand how to prove yourself in the work, to grow in the new place and get a promotion. And the employer will see that you want to be an effective employee and make a difference.
  3. What happened to the previous employee/why the position opened up? This way you will know what you don’t need to do and what you might be facing downsizing for. In addition, from the answer it will become clear how the management treats its employees, how demanding and picky they are.
  4. Is there a probationary period? You will understand how you will work at first, how much you will earn, and what tasks need to be done to successfully pass the probationary period, if there is one.

Part of the questions should be prepared at home while you are researching the company and some should be noted down during the interview. Have a neat notebook and pen to take notes.

Tips for Beginners: How to Pass a Job Interview

If you’re applying for a job for the first time in your life, or if you’re drastically changing your field of work, don’t worry. Surely you have already managed to show your important soft skills. And if you confirm your motivation with concrete actions – for example, you already took retraining courses and were an assistant to a specialist – then your chances are not so small.

Anna Zyryanova:

“Describe in advance any situations where you managed to perform well. Whether it’s winning a math Olympiad or community service at the university. Then read it several times and let those whose professional opinion you trust read it. You’ll probably see that you used two or three of your superpowers in most situations-perhaps the ability to negotiate and resolve conflicts, creativity and creativity, and the ability to make decisions and organize others. These are your strengths. And if your strengths coincide with what the employer wants to see when hiring, it’s a win-win situation.

12 mistakes at a job interview: they will not get you the job

Late, scolded your former boss, and twisted your accomplishments? Consider it a failure of the interview.

Anastasia Zakharova Editorial “Teksterra”

Collected the main “harmful tips” on how not to behave in a meeting with the HR-manager.

1. Do not answer or return phone calls from HR

If you left a number to contact you, you should keep your phone with you or at least check from time to time to see if there have been any calls from unfamiliar numbers. Contacting HR is in your direct interest. More often than not, calls are made from landlines or corporate phones, so don’t block the call after the first digits of the 8,800 number and wait for a call from a cell phone.

A good HR will still get through to the applicant and invite him or her for an interview – you can’t afford to lose people. An excellent HR manager will realize that this is not the right person for them. In the online course “HR manager” from TexTerra we will show you how to become an ideal specialist and build a really strong team.

We will develop from scratch your personal course or corporate training for your employees.

2. being late and not warning about it

Force majeure happens to everyone. But being late without warning and not commenting on it in any way in an interview is immediately disadvantageous.

3. Hiding and coding.

Sometimes the job seeker calls from a different number than his or her own, and he or she should warn the job seeker about this. Mail should also be correct and do not forget to check it: if the travel plan or the invitation to the interview arrives to the wrong contact, it will not be the employer’s fault.

Also, sometimes women do not report that they have a different last name (maiden name or former spouse’s) on their resume. With a large flow of applicants, this creates confusion.

4. to remain silent.

Letters can go to junk mail: check your junk mail folder if the letter you were promised over the phone didn’t arrive. And if it’s not there either, feel free to call and say there was a glitch and you’re still waiting for a message.

5. Listen to the account executive half-heartedly.

You wouldn’t believe how often we schedule a zoom call and hear back, “There’s going to be a Skype interview, right?”

“Friendly” or “stranger”? HR and the client understand everything about you in 0,15 seconds – psychiatrist’s advice

6. Confuse company name and job title

It’s okay to choose from several options. But it is important to present this fact correctly.

Compare. One job seeker says he likes the office, the benefits package and the opportunity to move up the career ladder, but he needs to think a bit about overtime. And the other has carpetbagged several dozen jobs at different companies and is constantly confused about where he’s even calling.

Reporting where you weren’t hired probably shouldn’t be a good idea: a particularly nagging HR person is bound to call that company and find out why you weren’t a good fit.

A harmful tip: when asked “What do you know about the company?” confidently answer – nothing. You haven’t visited the website, you haven’t read anything about the company on the Internet. Feel free to say that you respond to everything, without looking. Valuable professionals do not care about the history of the company!

7. Respond aggressively to questions.

It’s okay if they ask you about your hobbies, family, and life plans, but HR needs to recruit people who fit not only the job, but also the company’s values. In order to present your place on the team, the specialist needs to get to know you better, and without some questions and tests it is impossible to do that.

It’s also okay if you don’t want to talk about anything. But, again, this can be presented in different ways. For example, the phrase “My parents have their own business, but I’m not ready to talk more about it right now.”

8. Reading your resume off a piece of paper or, conversely, mixing up your work history

An accountant has already seen your resume. He wants you to tell him about your work experience, not from fifth to tenth, but in order, and with details. Why you chose this particular school, why you went to work out of specialty (if that happened), what made you change your field of work.

About the breaks in the work biography is also not worth keeping silent. Instead of moving on to the next job, jumping three years of maternity leave, mention that this was it, and not just you decided to sit on someone’s neck.

It’s not a good idea to hide your reasons for leaving your past jobs: if something seems suspicious to an HR manager, he’ll call them anyway. It’s not a good idea to be sly or aggressive, either.

A tip for employers and candidates: you must not call your “exes” without the consent of the applicant – these are the requirements of Article 24 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the Federal Law № 152-FZ from 27.07.2006.

Bad advice: talk badly about your past jobs, bosses and colleagues as much as possible. Show that you were not appreciated and you expect this immediately in the new place.

You’re just toxic! – How to identify such a colleague and what to do about it. Unexpected advice from a psychiatrist.

9. Teach HR how to do his job

When we hear, “You would have given me a better test budget. If I leaked it, then I failed the test, if I didn’t – you would have hired me. Why did you spend so much time on me?”, we think – and really, why.

If you happen to be rejected, then, of course, you can ask the reason for the rejection. At least this information will help in the next attempts to find a job. But on the answer “here and now” you definitely do not need to insist.

10. Do not prepare for the interview.

“Swimming” in your own past job responsibilities is not a good strategy. Sometimes we see a job seeker read out on a piece of paper what he or she has done. Then we have a reasonable question: can the person really do it all?

A job interview is definitely not the place where you should go with a cheat sheet.

11. afraid to be simple and appear “stupid

It is much worse if a person comes in with pomp, selling himself as an incredible specialist, but actually turns out to be average, – than if he came and honestly told what he knows well, and what – not so well.

Your request is accepted. We will contact you in the nearest future.

12. Emphasize only hard skills

A surprisingly large number of people focus only on their competencies at work, but are lost when they are asked more personal questions: what did you like about your past jobs, what mistakes did you learn from, and so on.

Don’t be like that: soft skills are becoming more and more important. Sometimes, not very experienced person turns out to be more promising than a candidate with years of experience.


To have a successful job interview, follow 12 basic rules:

  • Always be on the phone or return calls even to unfamiliar numbers if you miss a call;
  • if you are going to be late, tell them in advance;
  • give correct data in your resume (this includes changed data – all the information must be up-to-date);
  • Listen to the interviewer carefully;
  • Be sure to research the company before meeting with a team member;
  • Respond calmly to the interviewer’s questions and ask your own if necessary;
  • Treat the interview not as a firing squad, but as a friendly conversation: act naturally, and tell the interviewer about your past experiences;
  • do not suggest to HR managers how to make the best use of your resources;
  • prepare for the interview, so you don’t forget anything because of the excitement;
  • Do not be afraid to keep it simple: honesty is more effective than pomposity;
  • If you do not understand something that is not critical, ask you honestly say that you are still learning: it is better to exceed expectations than not to meet them;
  • Don’t forget about soft skills: your reviews of your previous jobs and your behavior at the interview will tell more than the skills listed on your resume.

Who is a career counselor, and how can he or she help you on your way to your dream job (and salary)

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