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How to prepare for a job interview

Nowadays more than ever job seekers need to be prepared to navigate the job market. They need to know all the players, what is requested from a candidate when an application is sent, and what type of preparation is needed for the job interview. In the second webinar presented by Delft MaMa and Melly Consulting in May 2020, we focused our attention on this latter aspect. In the following paragraphs, we share the key points covered in the webinar: How to prepare for a job interview.

By Elena Mellara

Know your “enemy”

The world has changed because of COVID-19 and the job market has changed accordingly. It’s undeniable that the market has slowed in recruitment – if not even stopped in certain industry sectors. What most job seekers don’t know is which sectors are still recruiting – albeit at a slower pace – and which ones have temporarily stopped and/or proceeded to cut jobs because of the virus. During the webinar we listed both categories, just to be on the safe side. The outcome is that, despite the current situation, there are still a good number of industries which are recruiting.

Preparation is key

What do we do if we want to cook a tasty lasagna? Or a perfect roast beef? Well, first we get the ingredients and then we think about the execution of the recipe. A job interview goes exactly in the same way. As a job seeker you need to know the company and the role you are applying for. Is that enough? Of course not. Having a list of questions to rehearse (in front of a mirror, by filming it or with a friend – or a professional coach!) will make it more comfortable.

Tell me something about yourself

This is the most common question, probably the first one. Might it turn into a nightmare? Yes and no. It can turn into a nightmare for the people in front of the candidate if the CV is repeated word by word to them. Why? Because it’s boring for the people listening. As for the candidate, they miss a huge opportunity to put their expertise into context with the role.

It’s all about them

All  companies – and the people working for them – do like to ask questions such as “Why did you apply for this job?” and “Why do you want to work with us?”.

Again, doing research about the company helps. The candidate should tie the research with his/her own accomplishments considering the role he/she is applying for. Be aware that in any case these questions are coming; one trick for the candidate is to link them together. Something like: “When I read about this role, I felt an immediate connection with it because of my X, Y, Z past accomplishments and also I like your company because…”.

It’s all about the S.T.A.R.

One useful method, which may guarantee a good answer, even if not prepared, is the S.T.A.R. method. It stands for: Situation, Task, Action, Result. How does it work? When answering, think of a specific Situation – which is relevant to the question, of course – and describe it to the audience. Then describe what Task was given to solve the situation. Also describe the task thoroughly. What was the Action which derived from it? And what was the Result? Having the word S.T.A.R. in mind will help overcome the majority of uncomfortable – or unexpected – questions.

Last, but not least, the online interview

We have already said we are living in a complicated situation due to COVID-19. This means that we all need to adapt. Interviews are no exception. In the webinar we looked at some of the main tips for preparing for the interview, such as to look professional and be surrounded by silence.

With the time given – just one hour – it was not possible to cover all hot questions which may be asked during an interview. However, with the tip about the S.T.A.R. method and how to apply it, the audience had a good idea what to say even if the preparation is not fully there. Fingers crossed for all job seekers around and I cannot wait for the next webinar with Delft MaMa!


Elena is an Italian Career Coach and Facilitator working in the Netherlands since 2008. She is the founder of the boutique agency Melly Consulting and has 20 years’ experience in corporate Business to Business and Business to Consumer companies covering managerial roles. She offers hands-on packages for job seekers as well as coaching for career shifts, professional development and team building.


Elena Mellara also wrote a post for DMM’s blog with many good tips on How to revamp your CV! If you are interested in this subject, it worth take a look at this article as well.

3 thoughts on “How to prepare for a job interview”

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