These tips will tip the scales towards your interview success
Have you found yourself freezing up in an interview? Has an interviewer asked a question but you have not been able to work out what they were asking – or you answered the question, but you didn’t know if it was the right answer? I’ve put together these top 10 interview tips for overcoming these problems.
These tips could the the tips that tip the scales towards your interview success. OK, so I know these are bad lines – but the tips really are better.
Please read on!
Job Interview Tips # 1 Do your research on the organisation
Most people do get nervous in interview. It’s a big occasion! However if you start with some thorough research, you can build some confidence as you start to build a case in your own mind about why you should be sitting in that interview room.
So the first of my top 10 tips is to look online. An employer’s career page will actually tell a lot about them as an employer. And it’s not just in the words that they use. While you should look at the values they have, also look at how easy it is to find out about potential jobs, and then their responses to you when you apply. The way an organisation handles their recruitment may be a reflection of what it’s like to work there. If you find them friendly and they make it easy to for you to apply for a job, then they probably have given some decent thought as to why you would want to work for them. Or it could be that they are genuinely nice people.
It sounds so basic to say this, but the web is such a wealth of facts. What you need to do, though, is turn this data into information. Look at annual reports, media releases and product guides. Google indexes the latest media news and references from other sources. There are also online directories. Make contact with the organisation if they invite it. Use sites such as LinkedIn to background companies.
With this information, you should be looking for reasons that you want to work for that employer. You’ll really impress the interviewer if you write some compelling reasons as to why you want to work for that employer and that employer only.
Job Interview Tips # 2 Research the job
I am constantly surprised by how few people really have any understanding of the role that they are applying for. Job advertisements and recruitment systems are partly to blame. Advertisements can be misleading. The person writing the advert may be distant from the person whom you’ll be reporting to. Things will often sound different on the paper compared to what you will actually be doing in the role.
Here’s an earlier example I wrote about:
The public sector position description said: “Building effective communication strategies with a variety of stakeholders and colleagues to ensure information exchanges are timely, accurate and useful.”
However this is what this statement meant: “providing advice to staff and students on the status of their research applications.”
Always try to talk to someone who knows about the role. One good question is always “what does a typical day/week look like?” Once you know what’s expected of you, preparing for the interview is so much easier.
Try to gather some facts about the organisation’s recruitment process. Dig much deeper than the advertisement. Call the contact number if it’s provided. Find out which of the skills that the employer needs as a priority. You can start to make yourself known to your future employer. Even if the advertisement doesn’t invite it, you can actually contact the recruiter. But do be scrupulously polite. No number can mean the employers are expecting a deluge of applications, or they would rather not talk to you at this stage.
Ask the recruiters questions about the recruitment process, what each step entails, and how long each step takes. You’d be surprised at the information you’ll receive if you sound polite, interested and you are well organised in your call.
Job Interview Tips # 3 Do your research on yourself
For many, many reasons employers want you to be self aware. If you have any doubts about this buy the book: www.whatdotheyreallywant.com.au. OK I’m giving the book a blatant plug, but it contains information direct from an employer. Every single one of the 25 top employers we interviewed said they want people to understand what they can bring to a company.
Have a long, hard look at what you have achieved, the way you went about achieving that result and the skills you developed or demonstrated along the way.
This reflection will help you understand your strengths. That should give you confidence.
Job Interview Tips # 4 Interviewer Insight – no two processes are the same
You could be interviewed by a recruitment consultant, HR, a line manager, all three individually, or any combination. Each will have a different agenda for the interview. Your approach with each should be slightly different.
The recruitment consultant is the first screener. That’s what they call the telephone call they’ll make when they see your resume. Their role is to match you to the employer’s requirements and sell you as an applicant. The recruiter establishes their credibility with each good candidate they recommend to the employer. Take time to woo them, even if you think they don’t know their stuff. Their role is to sell you the job and, if they believe you are right for the role, to sell you to their client. Make the consultant’s role easier by pointing out why you are a good match.
The HR person can be the procedural expert. Their job is to ensure the organisation meets its legal requirements. They may have set up the recruitment process. They will have a strong attachment to ensuring it is working. You will probably face a more structured interview from them, than you will from a line manager. As they are often the employer’s first screener, they may need to sell you further, depending on their position and influence within the organisation.
A line manager will be the person who is most concerned about filling the job. They may be a person down and as such the team is not meeting their organisation’s objectives. In the interview it will probably be the line manager who has the greatest sense of urgency about filling the role. Work hard to build a rapport with them. They will be assessing your fit for their team.
Treat each interviewer as if they don’t talk to each other and know anything about you. You’d be amazed at how little communication sometimes goes on between each party.
Job Interview Tips # 5 Practice makes perfect
Most large organisations now use behavioural questions as one weapon in their armory. They will expect you to provide specific examples of where you have demonstrated the skill they are seeking. Read this for further information.
Practice for the interview or seek professional help. A professional is skilled at drawing examples out of you and fine tuning the ones you already have. But never rote learn your lines as you can never predict all the recruiter will ask.
Job Interview Tips # 6 Be nice to your interviewer
Be likable and people will like you. Funny that!
Assume the interviewer is on your side. Any negative attitude on your part means you may misinterpret questions the interviewer asks you, in a negative way. I have seen this happen before.
Good interviewers are not interested in tripping you up. Many of them are on your side, or are at the very least they will be approaching the interview in a professional manner.
Job Interview Tips # 7 Give yourself plenty of time
Rushing breeds panic. No matter what excuse you have, lateness is noted.
Job Interview Tips # 8 Be yourself
That is please be yourself. You’ll do yourself no favours if you try and suppress your personality, or pretend to be something that you aren’t. If you are true to yourself at interview and you are not selected then it may mean that they felt you were not a good fit for the team or the organisation. But it also means that they are not a good fit for you. And that should be a deal-breaker for you anyway.
Job Interview Tips # 9 Relax and breathe
Leading on from Tip #8, while you think this may be the perfect job for you, it may be that it’s not. If you keep this in mind then you’ll remove some pressure from yourself that this is your only chance to perform.
If you think the interview is going badly, relax and use it as practice for the next one.
Job Interview Tips # 10 An insider’s tip
Each and every interaction you have with your future employer feeds into their impression of you. Use this knowledge. Be polite and friendly with whomever you meet in the process from the very first phone call to the last goodbye to the receptionist on your way out.
Also be mindful that smart interviewer’s may ask the receptionist how you presented upon arrival and departure, eg. were you polite and respectful?
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