How to nail your next job interview
Interviews can be daunting, striking fear into the most confident of students and applicants. With conflicting information available on how to best prepare, we’ve narrowed down the top tips on how to excel at your next interview. Remember that by securing an interview, you've already met the basic requirements of the job. That’s a great place to start!
The rest is all about selling your best features. That’s where we can help!
Do your research
Confidence is key when it comes to interviews. Nothing serves to boost your confidence levels more than knowing your stuff! Here are three key areas to research:
Yourself: List the unique qualities and skills you’ll bring to the position and company. Where possible, try to incorporate them into real-life examples from your professional experience.
The position: Familiarize yourself with the job responsibilities and how this position relates to others in the company. As you outline the structure of the new role begin thinking of how you could add value. The best place to start is the job posting but we've also included a list of useful resources at the end of this document to help you in your search.
The company: Learn as much as you can about the company’s history, its mission statement, and culture. While you're at it, get to know your interviewer a little better. It’s also good idea to read up on any recent developments and get a feel for its reputation among the public, and past and present employees.
Tell your story
You know all you need to know when it comes to your new role and company details. But to really impress your interview, you need to give them a better understanding of who you are. To do this, you’ve got to get personal!
To simply list your skills and knowledge would be boring. Instead, captivate your interviewer by describing how you gained that experience by weaving in personal anecdotes and life events. Not only does this approach convey your CV in a more interesting way, but it also showcases your creativity, resolve, and interpersonal and communication skills.
Using real-life contexts, both professional and personal, dazzle your interviewer by paying special attention to the following questions:
- What was your role in the situation?
- What were the outcomes and results?
- What did you learn from the experience?
Be ready to impress
First impressions can make or break your chances of getting that offer letter.
Here are some useful tips to make sure you put your best foot forward! Before the interview even begins, consider the following:
Arrive early! Get to the interview 10 to 15 minutes before it starts. If it’s a place you’re going to, familiarize yourself with the best route. If it’s an online interview, make sure you’ve got a good internet connection and you’ve picked a quiet place with no risk of interruptions.
Dress code: Make sure your outfit is clean and fits well. It’s important to wear something that you feel comfortable in but aligns with the expected dress code of the company you’re interviewing with.Avoid heavy perfume or garish colors.
You don’t know how your interviewer will react to bold fashion choices or pungent smells, so it’s best to play it safe.
Treat everyone with kindness: Don’t underestimate how important making a good impression with the receptionist or assistant is.
During the interview, keep in mind:
Introduce yourself: Don't forget to smile and make eye contact, and let the interviewer initiate a handshake.
Break the ice: Ask your interviewer how their day is going. Look for clues in their office for additional subjects - a photo of a dog or a family portrait.
Keep the conversation going: If you don't know the answer to a question, ask the interviewer for a couple of minutes to think about it rather know than keeping silent.
Finish with a closing statement: Good closing statements reiterate your interest in the position. Find out what the next steps are. If it doesn’t come up, ask when you can expect to hear the outcome of the interview.
Say thanks: It’s always a good idea to show gratitude - a thank you email may be the personal touch that helps you stand out from the rest of interviewees.
To really nail an interview, you need to be able to communicate effectively, allowing your personality to shine through. To do this, you need to practice! The more practice, the more articulate and fluent your responses will be. Here are some great ways to hone your interview skills:
Record yourself: Record your responses to questions and go back and listen for areas you could improve in.
Practice in front of a mirror: Prepare a list of questions that are most likely to come up in your interview. Practice your responses out loud in front of a mirror, being mindful of your body language, how quickly you're speaking and places where you go blank.
Practice with a friend or colleague: Apart from a mock interview, this is as close as you’re going to get to the real thing. Enlist the help of a friend or colleague to run through a list of common hiring questions with you. Ask them to point out areas where they felt you could improve or things you did well.
In addition to well-known services and sites such as LinkedIn and Google, here's a helpful list of great online resources to help you prepare
indeed.com - Explore several key business roles, what their responsibilities are and how they help a business succeed
ongig.com - Best practices on job titles including lists of titles by hierarchy and departments.
theladders.com - Browse over 1,800 job titles by your role and specialty.
careeraddict.com - From corporate administrator to animator, this is a comprehensive list of job titles and their respective role and responsibilities.
crunchbase.com - Includes summaries and info on the latest financials,people, technology, and news.
owler.com - Includes overviews and info on competitors, acquisitions,funding, news, and insights.
Other informative sites:
github.com - For those of you who have a technical interview, here's a curated list of technical interview questions.
glassdoor.com - Offers a range of super helpful information on topics including salaries, interview questions, and openings.
careerbuilder.co.uk - In addition to heaps of other advice, this site has a dedicated library to dozens of articles on interviews.