Are you preparing for your next, or even first, job interview? The process of preparing to tell a stranger all about why you want a job you may not know much about can be quite stressful.
Unfortunately, in most instances, there’s no way to get around the interview process. Whether you have your sights set on a job in the Queensland police union or you’re looking to enter the corporate world, you’re going to have to go through the tricky session. So, since there’s no way around it, you may as well brush up on your interview skills!
Interviews Require Preparation
Currently, the Australian unemployment rate is only at 3.8%, but you’ll still be competing with several other applicants for every vacant position you apply for. Combine that with the fact that the company you’re interviewing at obviously wants the best candidate. This means you will have to rely on a little more than your charming personality to land the job.
We’ve spoken to a few HR experts, and they’ve shared a few pointers to help you have a successful interview.
1. Research the Company, Position and Culture
Potential employers are more likely to give you a higher rating if you show interest in the company and the position you’re applying for. Applying for a job at a company without knowing what they do, sell or produce tells the employer that you aren’t even sure if you will fit into the company culture.
They may think you also don’t care about the company values and whether they align with your own views—you simply want a salary. While this may be true, keep in mind that companies prefer to hire individuals who are looking for a long career within their company. Here’s what you need to do:
- Research the company by looking at the “About us” section on their official website. Know who they are and what they do and ask yourself if you can see yourself working there for a considerable amount of time.
- Review the job specifications of the position you’re applying for and list how you meet each criterion. If the interviewer or the original ad did not provide a job specification, you can search the general description of this job function.
- Make a list of questions about the company and position that you can’t find the answers to on the website. Asking a few questions shows interest on your part.
2. Have a Mock Interview
People preparing for their first interview should take the time to practice with a friend. Arrange a mock interview with someone who has already been interviewed so that they have an idea of what to ask you. It’s a good idea to get a few pointers from working friends about some of the questions to expect.
Keep in mind that there are no set rules for the questions that are asked. While some employers prefer the standard questionnaires, others prefer unusual and abstract questions to test your ability to think out of the box under pressure. Be prepared for both by practising random questions about yourself and the job function.
3. Dress to Show Confidence
First-time interviewers should be aware of the importance of first impressions. How you look in an interview matters. The golden rule for an interview is that unless the interviewer specifies a casual dress code, always opt for business attire. No matter how informal the company is that you’re applying to, always look your absolute best.
For men, this is usually formal pants, a collar shirt, jacket and polished shoes. Ladies on the other hand can choose between a formal skirt and blouse, a business suit or even formal pants with a blouse.
Avoid wearing accessories that are overly chunky as this will be distracting. Ideally, you want the interviewer to focus on you, and not your outfit.
4. Don’t be Late
Being late sets a bad impression before the interviewer has even met you! To avoid being late, rather plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early. You can always wait outside or in the waiting area. This also gives you time to calm your nerves and mentally prepare for your questions.
If traffic, public transport or any other instance beyond your control forces you to be late, contact the interviewer and explain the situation. Instead of waiting for you, and wasting time, they may elect to interview the next candidate (if there’s a group) and do your interview when you arrive.
The trick to a successful interview is to be confident, look the part and market yourself well. Focus on your strengths and why you would be a good fit for the position. Focus on your accomplishments and skills acquired up to this point.
If this is your first interview, focus on what you believe you can add to the company. Mention any volunteer work or part-time jobs that you have done. The goal is to provide enough reasons why you would be a good candidate for the position. If you don’t get the job, consider the experience as a learning curve in job interviews!
Preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking, but with these expert tips, you’ll be well-equipped to ace it. Remember to thoroughly research the company, practice with a mock interview, dress professionally, and arrive on time. Confidence and preparation are key to leaving a lasting impression and securing the job you desire. Good luck!