Interview Tips

First impressions are key to establishing a business relationship. How you behave in your first interview is a critical first step to getting your desired job. The following offers a few interview tips and suggestions on ways to improve your interview technique.

Preparation:
Make sure you have a clear idea of the job:

  • Get a detailed job description if there’s one available
  • Why is the position available
  • What training and induction will be given
  • What are the prospects for personal and professional development

Research the Company:

  • Research what the company does
  • What is the company’s plans for the future
  • Find out who are the company’s competitors
  • Find out about the staffing structure

Prepare a list of relevant questions:

  • Ask questions that really matter to you and you want to know the answers to. Don’t simply ask questions that you think the interviewer/s want to hear
  • Focus on asking questions that ensure that the job is a good fit for you, who will you work with, who will you report to, the scope of responsibilities etc

Interview:

Introduction:

  • Be respectful to the interviewer, don’t interrupt when they are talking and ensure to listen to all questions clearly
  • Be likeable. This may sound obvious, but making a good first impression and establishing a connection with your interviewer is everything. Sit forward in your chair, use the interviewers name, be yourself but the best version of yourself
  • Always look interested in the interviewers questions, maintain good eye contact and answer questions honestly, directly and to the point.
  • Never start the interview by saying you want the job, as you don’t know yet if you really want it! This interview is as much about them interviewing you as it is about you interviewing them

Questions:

  • Answer questions truthfully. Don’t try and find the right answer for what the interviewer is looking for, the interviewer will appreciate your honesty. Of course this doesn’t mean that you say that you don’t know, but rather say things like ‘I did not fill that specific role but here’s an example of where I picked up something similar in a short amount of time’
  • Be prepared to answer any questions on your general background, qualifications, experience and roles that you have fulfilled
  • Also be prepared to answer questions such as: What job would you like if you had a completely free choice? Why are you seeking a position with our company? Why do you want this role? How do you cope with pressure situations? What are your greatest achievements? What interests you the most/least about this role? Describe your personality?
  • Be ready to discuss your career aspirations and what your long term plan is. It is always better to have a plan to show that you are taking steps towards realising your ambitions
  • Always tailor your answers to questions asked using your knowledge about the role. If you don’t have event-related qualifications and achievements relevant to the role; ensure you use your professional and personal experience to illustrate that you are a good fit for the position
  • Always give positive answers and steer clear of leaving negative sound bites. Interviewers remember only a few sound bites about the interview, so steer clear of phrases like: I can’t, I haven’t, I don’t. Share applicable experience and find positives in what you have done and always smile
  • No matter what the topic, always be positive. Never make negative comments about any previous employers or previous work experiences or yourself
  • Behavioural/Competency Interview Questions: This form of questioning is new and most employers are tending to use them now. Behavioural questions are ones like; ‘tell us an example of how you dealt with a difficult employee in the past?’ The way to answer such questions is to give an example or explain the problem whilst being as short and concise as you can in two sentences maximum. Then explain how you handled the situation, again short and concise, but more like 3-4 sentences. Then explain the solution or outcome of the situation, this should be more like 4-5 sentences. This way you leave a positive impression rather than just focussing on what the problem was

Closing and Follow Up:

  • Set a hook: what this means is to tell the interviewer/s something about yourself that sets you apart from the others that they are interviewing. Interviewers usually only remember small things about a person once they have left the room. So be sure to tell them something that sets you apart so they remember you. This can either be about your personal life or professional life although personal hooks are usually better. Identify your hook and use it to your advantage. It could be that you are running a marathon, that you have lived and worked abroad, that you like attending arts festival or that you have volunteered for a major music event, anything like this
  • Before concluding, ask the interviewer/s when you should expect them to get back to you on whether or not you have been successful, what is the start date for the role and is there anything else you need to know before finishing the interview
  • Always thank the interviewer/s for their time, stand up and shake their hand and let them see you out of the room