The job interview is one of the most crucial elements of successfully landing a great job. What comes before and after is of course equally important, but will rarely have the make-or-break nature of the job interview itself. Here are five things you need to know when interviewing for a job in the UAE:
• Your industry: Interviewers will frequently ask candidates for an analysis of the current or future state of the industry. This gives them an idea of not just how much industry information you have, but how well you are able to analyze that information. Be sure to do an adequate amount of homework before your interview, so that your facts are accurate and up-to-date. Find information that is specific to the industry in the UAE, and compare it with the industry in the rest of the world. When providing analysis, be forthright, and try not to exaggerate or overstate either positives or negatives.• Your prospective employer: When researching your industry, be sure to look up your prospective employers too. Understand their business, their place in the industry, their philosophy, their goals, their key achievements. If you show yourself to be knowledgeable about the company that is interviewing you, you can successfully come across as a candidate who will be a good fit for this particular job, rather than someone who is looking to land just about any job, with any company. At the interview too, be attentive and absorb any information that is provided, including the name(s) of your interviewer(s) – address them by name when appropriate, and particularly at the end, when you thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview with them.
• Your worth: To many people, this might seem like something that doesn’t require a lot of thought and planning. However, no matter how confident you are, don’t make the mistake of assuming you simply know your worth and don’t need to think about it. Besides, knowing your worth and knowing how to articulate your worth do not necessarily always go together. Take the time to think about the skills and experience you have, the value-add that you can bring to your prospective employer, as well as your financial value – the compensation you think you deserve. Then work out how you can communicate this at the interview while coming across as confident but not cocky. (A point to remember about your compensation: The interview is not ideally when you should be discussing this. If asked, diplomatically and politely suggest discussing it at a later, more appropriate time.)
• Your motivation: “Why do you want this job?” is a common interview question that a surprising number of candidates are unable to satisfactorily answer. Think about your reasons for wanting the job, and make them good ones. Money is of course the most frequent motivator, but be sure to identify and focus on reasons that will resonate more with the interviewer. Honesty is important, but so is diplomacy. Also, spend some time thinking about your wider motivation – your career and life goals. If you haven’t given these things sufficient thought, you will not be able to articulate them convincingly.
• Your experience: This again might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to consciously prepare yourself to discuss certain aspects of your past work experience. When updating your CV, check to ensure that you are able to expand on aspects of it that an interviewer might be interested in. Do this again when preparing for your interview (and carry two physical copies of your CV with you for the interview). Also be prepared to identify and intelligently discuss key elements of your past experience, such as your biggest challenges, your biggest achievements, biggest learning experiences, and so on, while keeping these relevant to your prospective employer.
In general, you need to be confident without showing off, be enthusiastic, and be honest but diplomatic. Also remember that in any job interview, it is advisable to avoid jokes. A sense of humor can be a very individual thing, and more importantly, it can vary substantially across cultures. Particularly in the UAE, where you are likely to encounter numerous cultures from across the globe, it is advisable to leave humor out of your job interview. Instead, simply be cheerful and amiable, and save the jokes for some other time.