Tips For Your Job Interview Success
These job interview success tips will support you as you move on to the next stage of the job search process.
Congratulations that you have secured an interview for the job you really want. Obviously your resume was great and included all the right catch phrases, key words and experience listed. But no matter how impressive your resume and experience are, equally important is how you behave during the interview process. Employers are not only looking at the skill set you possess, but at how you will present yourself as a representative of the company. In today’s business world, employees are an extension of the company’s brand. That’s why I want to share with you our job interview success tips to help you get that job that you want.
Interview preparation tips
Know your resume
It may sound a little silly but how well do you know your own résumé? Assuming you will have tailored your résumé for each particular job, it is really important that you know what you have sent to your prospective employer. The interviewer will almost certainly ask you questions according to what is on your résumé. Make sure you know that information backwards and be prepared to answer following the formula I’ve given you.
Understand the job description
The job description gives you many clues about what the interviewer will want to know about you. Find out everything you can about the job itself so that you can have some intelligent questions ready to ask. Hopefully you will have answered many of their questions through your resume, but the interview is your chance to give expanded answers to their question of why you are the right person for the job.
Nothing impresses an interviewer more than to have an applicant ask relevant and probing questions about their prospective job. Do your homework and make a solid impression. Prepare answers for these questions so you can confidently explain your achievements and experience.
Research the company
Do some research about the company, its mission statement, history, background and future plans so that you can relate your answers to knowledge of the company. This indicates that you are genuine about wanting to work for this company rather than just wanting to get any job. Showing that you are interested in the company, not just in getting any job, improves your chance of job interview success.
Know who is interviewing you
When you are invited to attend an interview ask who will be interviewing you. You may be told the people’s names or just their role. Do some research so that you know more about the person/people. Knowing their names in advance helps you to remember the names when you are under the pressure of an interview. Knowing about their role gives you an insight into what aspects of you as a prospective employee might be of particular interest to them.
Use a formula for your responses
Go through the job description to work out questions they are likely to ask you and prepare answers to these questions. There is a winning formula that helps you to answer job interview questions successfully, clearly and concisely, weaving your achievements into your answers.
S – Situation: What was going on?
T – Task: What were you supposed to do?
A – Action: What did you do?
R – Result: What was the outcome?
Practice centering yourself
Get into the habit of being able to centre yourself under pressure. Sit in a comfortable position, upright but not uptight! In that position take a deep breath, the sort that goes down into your diaphragm, and then exhale slowly. As you do this imagine that you are surrounded by people who care about you and who only want the best for you.
When you are practicing for the interview, consciously return to this position and this state between each question. In practice, take as long as it takes to make you feel the strength and power that comes from feeling completely ready and surrounded by warm wishes. If you have practiced this well, in the interview between questions you will regain this position and be calm and ready for your next question.
Learn a good opening and closing statement.
At the beginning of the interview, if you are asked something like, “Why do you want this job?” use your prepared statement to make a great start. Practice to make it sound natural!
Likewise at the end of the interview, always thank the person and then wind up with a short summation of your abilities. This is the closing statement you have committed to memory. A good start and a good ending are very important and this also increases the likelihood that you will leave a great impression, improving your chances that your job interview will be successful.
Dealing with nerves
It would take a really ice-cool person to go to an interview and not feel a little nervous. Many people feel very nervous. It’s only natural because having made it this far the pressure automatically builds. You are thinking that this is the make or break time. Your job interview success rests on this moment in time. A good interview and you could land the prize…A bad one and you’ll be just another applicant.
Water is often offered to you as you commence an interview. Accept the water and have it near you as a prop. If you need to take a moment to answer a question, or just to calm your nerves, then sip slowly on the water. Centre yourself between questions and answers using the calming technique that you practiced when you were preparing for the interview.
Being late is simply not acceptable. Plan your day well. Allow for heavy traffic or take the earlier train. You must be on time and preferably, for your sake, be early. Allow yourself the time to travel sensibly and then be able to quietly prepare yourself before the interview. Check out the address well before time. Even drive to the interview venue some days in advance so you are certain you know where you are going. If travelling by car, where will you park? Don’t leave things to chance.
Have you considered how you will present yourself? You know the old saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression. It’s important that people can see you’ve made an effort. This doesn’t mean going over the top but clean shoes, tidy hair and appropriate clothing for that business and role are essential.
Be friendly, personable and polite to everyone. There is no point turning on the charm in the interview if you have been unpleasant to people before you went into the interview. The person at the front desk is often a valued colleague who will be asked their opinion of you. Consider this: If it is a very close decision your job interview success could rest on the genuine communication you shared with the person who welcomed you when you arrived.
Put yourself in the other person’s place. They are looking for a new work colleague. If the interviewee was late, looked like they’d just fallen out of bed, was impolite, and hadn’t prepared for the interview, would you choose them? Don’t damage your chances.
One question that is often asked is “What is your greatest weakness in your work life?” Don’t treat that question superficially. It isn’t credible to say that your weakness is that you are too kind, or you work too hard! Treat this question as you would the others, and work through the formula to devise a good answer.
Dealing with age
We are all aware that age is often a factor in who is offered a job opportunity. So how does this pan out in the interview? It’s important that you do not emphasize any aspects of yourself that could be a barrier to employment.
Few things age you as much as the statement “I’m not great with computers”. If your technology skills are poor then you can’t lie about that but try giving it a positive spin, such as referring to your ability to master skills quickly.
Be prepared for all aspects of the interview
Follow the lead of the person/people interviewing you as far as formality goes but it will impress your prospective employer if you can recall people’s names.
Eye contact is so important. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone who won’t look you in the eye. And don’t rush your answers. One more breath before you begin is a good idea.
Communicate who you are
Many interviewees don’t have a clear image of themselves. This leads to poor body language, rash or negative comments and general confusion for the interviewer. Be clear about your personality, your goals and your achievements. Work to your strengths. Be natural but have a game plan and stick to it.
Acknowledge your achievements
Your work has been interesting, challenging, worthwhile and rewarding, on some level at least, so be prepared to expound on the difference you have made in that job. You must be prepared to support any achievements you have included in your résumé with statements using the STAR, or equivalent, formula mentioned earlier in this article.
Employers want successful people, people who are enthusiastic and capable and who enjoy their work. The fact you may not have been the boss is not as important as the fact that you can point to a number of tasks which you have made your own and achievements of which you are proud.
Get a good night’s sleep
Don’t prepare the night before. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare, to think things through and give yourself the best chance to have success at your job interview. In some ways it’s like an exam. Get a good night’s sleep the night beforehand, eat sensibly and don’t put yourself under any undue pressure.
Audio: Job Interview Success interview with Career Practitioner Carolyn Alchin on ABC radio.