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When building a career plan, many people consider changing their jobs. Meanwhile, there are people who are not used to interviewing and their job hunt doesn’t go according to plan, or the job hunt itself becomes too stressful to continue.

In this article, we asked Yuki Amemiya, a recruitment consultant at en world who is known for his active involvement in interview preparations and leading people to successful career changes, about the secrets of preparing for an interview. 

Interview preparations lead to higher evaluation and annual income

- Why is it important to prepare for interviews?

Since the recruitment agency will introduce and guide you through the interview process, people are often passive and go into interviews with a "let's hear what you’ve got to offer" attitude, but this is not a good idea. The most important point in an interview is togive an answer that makes the company want to hire you, not to answer what you want to answer. 

In order to achieve this, it is crucial that you take time to prepare your answers in advance. 

- Is it difficult to receive an offer without taking time to prepare?

Some people are already exceptional to start with, but the possibility of receiving a job offer will still increase if you prepare for an interview.

Preparation will also affect your evaluation from the interview, andbecausea high evaluation could lead to an offer with higher annual salary,we highly recommend that you prepare adequately. 

- Have you seen people who are outstanding but failed to receive an offer due to lack of preparation? 

Yes. I have seen people who went to their interview without preparing at all, saying, "I'm busy and I'm used to taking interviews, so I’m fine without any preparation", then fail to receive an offer. 

Even if you are an outstanding candidate,if you are inferior to other competing candidates in your enthusiasm and passion during the interview, it is highly possible that you will not be hired.

- So, by preparing adequately, you can show your passion for the company, which leads to a higher evaluation.

A job description does not depict the whole picture regarding the job you are applying for. 

For example, even if a company is looking for a “sales manager”, there are many cases where they are actually looking for a playing manager. In that case, if all you do is boast your management skills at the interview, it will not be very effective. There are also different interview habits and tendencies for each company.

By working with a recruitment consultant, you will be able to gather a lot of valuable and specific information about the interviews of the company you are applying for. 

Coping with interview anxiety, and strategies for web-based interviews

- There are a lot of people who get nervous during an interview and are not able to show their usual self. What are some things we should be aware of in an interview?

It's natural to be nervous during an interview because it isn’t an everyday event. Therefore,it is important to take measures to reduce your anxiety to a minimum.

To avoid being overwhelmed thinking about what questions you will be asked, or panicking from unexpected questions, I would suggest preparing answers from some of the expected questions. 

There are certain questions that are always asked in an interview, so just having an answer to these questions will give you a lot of comfort and help you to express your usual self. 

Also, there have been many changes to the interview scene since the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the past, face-to-face interviews were the mainstream, but nowadaysmost companies conduct web interviews from 1st to final stages,making it crucial for you to get used to web interviews. 

By checking your appearance and background image in advance using a laptop or iPad with a built-in camera, you can definitely change the impression you give to the interviewer. 

It is important that you are situated in the center of the image, the background should generally be white without any distracting patterns or objects, and the ambience of the room should not be too visible. Also, check your facial expression and make sure that your face isn't too close to the camera. 

Knowing how you appear to the interview will help you get comfortable with a web interview. 

- Are there any specific benefits to a web interview? 

A few companies still conduct face-to-face interviews for the final stage, but a majority of the 1st interviews are done via web. You can say that that the advantage of job hunting during the pandemic is this factor. 

Normally, you would have to take time off from work from the 1st interview, but now you can take your interview anywhere with the right environment. 

As long as you check your appearance and background prior to the interview, web interviews can be taken much more casually compared to a face-to-face interview. 

- Many people are not sure what to wear for a web interview, is there anything that people should be careful about? 

The safest option is to wear a suit, or a jacket over a collared shirt. It is becoming less likely that you will be judged by your attire, but at the same time you can’t rule out the possibility. 

Nobody wants to be rejected by how they are dressed, so better to be safe than sorry.

Preparing for expected questions and answers in advance

- How do you prepare the answers to expected questions? 

The goal of an interview is to make the company want to hire you. 

To achieve this, it is important to answer questions so that the interviewer believes that you are the person they are looking for, rather than simply expressing your thoughts. For example, it is not a good idea to answer, "I want to raise my salary" to the question, "Why are you thinking about changing your job?". 

This answer will make the interviewer believe that you will consider another job change within a year or two when you decide to raise your salary again. 

If you really want to talk about salary, you can answer something like, "I am married and have two children. Currently, my annual income is 6 million yen, but considering the future child support and living expenses, I need to earn 7 million yen. I believe that if I can achieve this annual income and have regular evaluations for raises in the future, I can work at my next company for a long time”. 

This is not the only correct answer, but from the interviewer's perspective, they will know that with the appropriate salary, you will be able to work with them for a long time. 

The reason for applying is a question that is always asked, but companies are not really looking for your reason. People with a strong motive for applying are thought to stay longer in a company, so this question confirms the applicant’s commitment. It is important to consider your answers with this point in mind.

Prepare according to the company you are applying for

- Is it better to prepare answers specifically for the company that you are applying for?

Yes, the company is looking to see if the person is a fit for their company, so if your reply is too generic, it will be difficult to tell whether you are a fitting specialist for the role. You should also customize your resume depending on the company you are applying for. 

It's a good idea to adjust both your resume and interview answers to suit each company. 

- An interview is a place to check if the applicant and the company is a match for each other. How should we check our compatibility with the company during an interview? 

Interviews are not a one-way street; it is an opportunity for you to judge the company too.

It's true that interviewers ask most of the questions, but every company always asks at the end if you any questions. Only then will you be given the opportunity to take initiative to ask the interviewer questions. 

You can ask any question you may have, but the point is to avoid questions that you do not have to ask at an interview. 

Amount of overtime or the reasons for leave of a recent leaver are examples of questions that should be avoided. It is also important make your questions as specific as possible.

Instead of "What are the responsibilities of the role?", you could ask "I understand the responsibilities of the role and believe I will be able to apply my experience, but is my understanding correct?".

Your goal is to receive an offer with a high evaluation

- Please share some tips on how to receive an offer. 

Your future will definitely change depending on how much time you put into preparing for the interview.
The shortest path to getting a job offer is to speak frequently with the consultant who knows all about the target company, and go to the interview well prepared.

By doing so, not only can you get a job offer, butyou couldpotentially increase your annual income or get appointed to a higher position by achieving a higher evaluation.

"For example, a candidate who was considered for a position as manager may get a job offer as a senior manager. 
The goal is to receive a job offer with a high evaluation. For this reason, interview preparation is crucial, and we believe that the value of recruitment consultants lies here."

I can say from experience that it is definitely easier to get a job offer if you take preparations seriously and put in a proper amount of time for the interview.  

Yuki Amemiya
B2B Senior Sales Team Manager 

"Joined en world in 2015 from a Japanese manufacturer. Achieved the highest number of contracts in the B2B sector, and won the Top Team award in FY2019. 
Currently managing a team of 20, while also working as a playing manager. Realizing “Enabling Success” for a variety of global and Nikkei companies. "

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