Chances are, you’ve stumbled across this article because you’ve just learned that the promotion or new job opportunity you’ve been eyeing for a while has become available, or you’ve just gotten word that the job you applied for want you to come in for an interview. Or perhaps you’ve just clicked this article out of curiosity. Either way, keep reading.
Job interviews are a necessary part of working life for all of us, and whether or not you are currently looking to progress in your organisation or find a new role, knowing the best ways to approach and prepare for an interview is always a valuable skill. Interviews play a key part in the job finding process, often being the main factor in an employer deciding whether you get the job or not.
Here are 16 tips to help you bring your A-game to job interviews.
- Research the employer. The first thing you need to do is look into the organisation if you’re not already within it. If you are interviewing for a promotion, and already work in the company, it’s still worth refreshing yourself. It’s important that you understand the organisation’s history, values and aims.
- Research the job & understand the job description. Next up, research the job in depth. Make sure you’re familiar with exactly what the employer is looking for and what will be expected from you. Spend some time thinking about what you think you could bring to the position, and how your experiences make you a worthy candidate, you must believe in your abilities to be able to convince someone else!
- Practice your answers to common interview questions with a friend or family member. Questions such as ‘How did you hear about this position?’, ‘Why do you want to work at this company?’ and ‘What are your greatest strengths?’ come up regularly in interviews, prepare your answers for these so you can focus on the unexpected ones in the interview!
- Expect the unexpected! The more preparation you do getting to know the job, the organisation and your abilities, the more ready you are for surprises. Another reason to regularly consider your experience and abilities is that you never know when a job opportunity could arise.
On the day…
- Dress smartly and appropriately. This goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning! First impressions are crucial to how you are perceived, so ensure you make a good one by dressing smart.
- Be on time – leave plenty of time to get there. Whilst you don’t want to be so early that you’re sitting around waiting and letting the nerves build-up, the last thing you want is to be late. Travel can be unpredictable, so ensure you have extra time to arrive. If you’re late, you might throw away the entire opportunity. Not to mention, showing you are prompt makes you look organised and serious about the role, influencing the interviewer’s first impression of you.
- Develop rapport and maintain eye contact. On the topic of first impressions, creating a connection with the interviewer will likely have a big impact on their willingness to work with you or bring you into their business. Focus on them as a person and your attitude will become more genuine. Don’t be overly friendly right away, but be polite and mirror their behaviours, mannerisms and speech patterns to create rapport. Remember to look interested throughout the process and show good manners.
- Stay calm. It’s important to keep calm, no matter how you think you may be doing. If you’ve prepared well, you can handle it. Take each question as it comes and answer as best as you can.
- Stay positive. Similarly, keep positive. You don’t know how it’s going. Don’t dwell on it if you messed up an answer slightly or didn’t say exactly what you planned to. Be confident and stay positive until it’s over because you still have time to prove yourself until you walk out the door.
- Answer questions properly and don’t waffle. It’s key that you pay attention to exactly what you’re being asked and respond appropriately.
- Demonstrate why they should hire you by explaining how you have used the skills the employer is looking for. Sell yourself! Whilst it’s important not to waffle, make sure you take opportunities to promote yourself. Think back to your prep and how your skillset makes you worthy of the job. Spend time reviewing your application. You are likely to have submitted a resume or CV before getting the interview, make sure you’re familiar with it. The interviewer may even have it in their hand during the interview. Be ready to answer questions about it.
- Ask the interviewer to clarify anything you are unsure of. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when it’s appropriate. Let the interviewer lead, but don’t let that stop you from engaging.
- Ask questions that demonstrate your interest in the position. Asking questions about the role makes you look curious and engaged. So long as you’re not asking anything that has already been illustrated in the application process.
- Prepare your questions in advance. You can prepare questions beforehand, when you’re researching the job as suggested in points 1 and 2, there’s bound to be some gaps and things you want to know, you can note these down.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question be honest. As mentioned previously, it’s important not to waffle. Therefore, you shouldn’t try to answer a question you don’t know. You’ll end up waffling about something unrelated and it can be counterproductive to selling yourself.
- Focus on what you can bring to the job and not what is in it for you. With all of that said, don’t forget that a job interview is your chance to prove that you’re the one for the job, not talk about how much you want it. You have to show the interviewer that hiring you will be beneficial for the company. Sell your skills and your experiences.
You can’t control the outcome of the application process, but you can control how hard you try. Preparing thoroughly is the best thing you can do to influence your chances of success. Consider these tips!
Are you looking to train others in interview prep? Our ‘Preparing for Job Interviews’ e-learning course aims to give your learners the knowledge and skills required to improve their chances of having a positive job interview experience, and of course, to help them get that all-important promotion or new job.