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PREPARE FOR YOUR INTERVIEW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

Author: Duncan J Carter

Published date: 2017/09

Interview

Going to for an interview is always going to be a stressful situation, so we have put together some simple tips to help you on your way and feel confident in making a good impression. 

Make an impact. Dress for the occasion. The rule is, when in doubt, overdress. Recent trends have dictated business-casual attire, but it's still appropriate to wear a business suit. If you mean business, show us. And remember…it's not always what you say, but how you present yourself that makes an impression. Be sure to shake hands firmly and maintain eye contact. During the interview, sit up and stay focused. If your mind starts to wander, it shows.

Practice your answers. Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up. You should prepare answers to questions about your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job. 

Once you've completed your interview preparation, the next step is to ace the job interview itself. Whether you get offered the job depends largely on how you perform during the interview, so its imperative to make a great first impression on your hiring manager. It's not just what you do, it's also what you say, and how you say it.

Don't: Turn up late to the interview. If for some reason on the day it's unavoidable, call ahead to let your interviewer know your expected time of arrival. 

Plan your journey to the job interview When preparing for a job interview one of the most important things to consider is how you are going to get there. A failure to plan is a plan to fail. If you are planning on driving to the interview, make sure you fill your car with fuel the night before. You don’t want to be filling up on the way dressed in your suit. Make sure you arrive on time, or better yet, at least 15 minutes early. Ensure this by knowing the address and if you can, have a trial run a couple of days before. The morning of the interview, check the traffic reports and have a backup route planned just in case. If you are travelling by train or bus, make sure you check the weather report the night before and keep an eye on the public transport websites for any delays. Look out for track works or traffic conditions that can potentially delay your train or bus trip. Go to bed early the night before and wake up early to give yourself plenty of time.    

Smoke before your interview?. Whilst a quick cigarette might seem like a good idea to calm your nerves, the smell will be noticeable and unpleasant for your interviewer. 

Be confident. Composure in the business world is crucial. And an interview is a good measurement of how you handle pressure. You don't want to appear too nervous. At the same time, don't be too relaxed. Maintain an appropriate level of professionalism without being unapproachable. The best advice is to be yourself. You're an outgoing, likeable person. Let that come through in your interview. We're looking for individuals who will thrive in our team-based environment 

Success in a job interview starts with a solid foundation of knowledge on the jobseeker’s part. You should understand the employer, the requirements of the job, and the background of the person (or people) interviewing you. The more research you conduct, the more you’ll understand the employer, and the better you’ll be able to answer interview questions (as well as ask insightful questions” see #8). Scour the organisation’s website and other published materials, search engines, research tools, and ask questions about the company in your network of contacts. Learn more about job search job interview researching here.

Once the interview starts, the key to success is the quality and delivery of your responses. Your goal should always be authenticity, responding truthfully to interview questions. At the same time, your goal is to get to the next step, so you’ll want to provide focused responses that showcase your skills, experience, and fit” with the job and the employer. Provide solid examples of solutions and accomplishments” but keep your responses short and to the point.

Volunteer your weaknesses?. Whilst honesty is always the best policy, there is no need to volunteer your shortfalls unless asked directly. 

Criticise your current or previous employer?. Doing so could give your interviewer the impression you're difficult to work with.  

Prepare a reference list, whether you think you'll be asked for it or not. For each reference, include a name, title, organisation, division or department, telephone number, and email address, as well as a sentence briefly explaining the relationship (e.g., “Carlton was my team leader for two years, during which we collaborated on four major product launches”).

After your first interview, it can be tempting to sit back and wait for the job offer to roll in. Don't undermine all the good job interview preparation you did by faltering at this stage - keep the lines of communication with your potential employer open by sending an interview thank you email.