Acing a Job Interview
You know you can do the job – in fact, as far as you’re concerned, you’re perfect for the role. So how do you convince an employer you’re their ideal candidate?
Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, even for the most seasoned professionals. It’s not something we do very often, so it can feel a bit outside of our comfort zone. Generally, when we desire something strongly enough, it can create some anxiety. Understanding how to interview well can go a long way in ensuring you remain strides ahead of your competition.
Steps for Success
- Prior to attending any job interviews, it’s imperative that you do some research to help you understand where you can add value to the company. If your interviewer has a LinkedIn profile, it’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with their background.
- The interview begins the moment you walk into reception. Be polite to everyone you see, and ensure you know the full name of the person(s) you are meeting with.
- Be on time, or even a few minutes early. Most employers have a busy schedule and if you arrive too early, they may feel you expect to see them on your schedule, rather than the agreed time.
- When greeting your interviewer(s), ensure you shake their hand with a firm grip, smile, and make good eye contact.
- The key to acing a job interview is preparation. Think clearly on how and where you’ve added value in a similar role, and be able to articulate it. Remember, an interview is an exchange of ideas, not a monologue, so ensure your answers are descriptive, but concise.
- It’s important that you’re able to answer situational or behavioural-based questions in addition to more general questions. These questions often start with “tell me about a time you did….” You are expected to give a specific answer. Something along the lines of “recently, a customer had ABC issue and I resolved it in XYZ way” is an assertive way to demonstrate how you’ve been effective in both problem-solving and achieving outcomes.
- Ensure you take credit for what you’ve achieved in previous roles without coming across as conceited or arrogant. Also keep in mind that if you say “we” more than “I”, it may be unclear what your actual contribution was versus your team’s contribution.
- If you need a moment to gather your thoughts and come up with an answer to any questions posed, take a pause. Rather than ramble, or even worse, choke (!), ask for a moment to think about the question.
- Dress for success. For a corporate office environment, a suit is a guaranteed winner. For women – lose the chipped nail polish and minimise your jewellery. If it’s a tech start up, a role in supply chain or a trade-based industry, business casual is a good bet. For men, this would be business pants and a collared shirt; for women, skirt or pants and a shirt. Polished shoes are essential for everybody.
- As the interview comes to a close, you may be asked if you have any questions. If you do have them, this shows you have a genuine interest in the role, but sometimes you can also be stumped about what to ask! If this is the case, it’s a good idea to reiterate your interest in the position and ask what the next steps in the recruitment process might be.
- Job interviews are an important step in both parties getting to know each other and determining whether there’s a fit. It can be tempting to ask about salary / benefits / holidays etc. at the initial interview, but this isn’t recommended. If you have an understanding of the role’s value in the market, you’re likely to come to an agreement when you start to negotiate. If you enquire too much about what the company can do for you, rather than focus on what you can do for the company, your interviewer may perceive you as someone who is only interested in themselves.
Remember, the company is interviewing you because they already feel at some level that you could be right for the role. Take a few deep breaths before you go into the premises and you’ll be just fine. If you follow these steps and understand how to play the game, you’ll be playing to win!