Here are 12 interview tips that will give you the confidence, skills and knowledge to overcome your fear and show that you have the ability to do the job.
Your resume is a summarized compilation of your qualifications, work experience, accomplishments and achievements with the sole purpose of getting you an interview. Your interview success is the key to landing the job. Employers are looking to see if you can meet the demands of the job and whether you have the relevant experience, personality and soft skills to fit into their team and company culture. In order to help you to land your dream job, we have selected 12 powerful tips for interview success.
Before The Interview
1. Research the Company
Always make sure that you research the company by looking at their website, Facebook page and LinkedIn profile. At the interview, you may well be asked questions about the company. Perfectly competent candidates fail at the interview stage for not showing enough interest in the company. HR will expect you to have looked at their website and read some media articles in order to display your interest, curiosity and willingness to learn more, so you will need to make sure that you have educated yourself through research prior to the interview.
2. Treat Gatekeepers With Respect
A gatekeeper can be anyone you come into contact with prior to the interview, such as a receptionist, secretary, office manager or security guard at the door. All it takes is one negative word about your behavior or speech to be passed on by one of these people and you may not get the job as a result.
For example, being rude to a secretary or not thanking them kindly for their help/cup of coffee/taking your coat. It will be noticed and will reflect poorly on their first impression of your character. So always smile and say good morning to the receptionist, be extremely pleasant and friendly to the secretary/office manager and be extra nice to anyone else you may come into contact with in the organization.
3. Arrive Early
Managers and employers do not like to have their time wasted and arriving late to the interview reflects poorly on your organizational skills and character.
4. Prepare Answers to Common Interview Questions
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why do you think you are suited to this position?
- Why do you want to work in this position?
- What do you have to contribute to the organization?
- What is your salary expectation?
- Tell me about an accomplishment you are proud of?
- What would other people say about you?
- Do you have any questions?
Prepare answers to all of these questions prior to the interview so that you have an immediate and confident answer when asked. When they ask you if you have any questions, always say yes to this question. Ideally, you should question something that the interviewer mentioned during the interview and ask them to expand on the subject. It shows that you are interested in the company, and it has the added bonus of displaying your good listening skills.
5. Competency-based Questions
Prepare answers to some competency-based questions. Competency-based questions are questions that have been formulated to assess your competency in a particular set of skills, based on the concept that past behavior is an indicator of future performance. They normally look to assess skills like conflict resolution, leadership, decisiveness, independence, flexibility and teamwork.
In real life, past behavior is not an indicator of future performance at all. Performance in the workplace is far more complex than that and is based on many factors. You may not have excelled in these skills in a previous position or a host of reasons like poor management, workplace abuse, excessive stress, difficult colleagues or a dysfunctional organizational culture. But, once again, you will need to play their game.
Examples of competency-based questions are:
- Give me an example of a time where you experienced a challenge in the workplace and overcame it?
- Give me an example of a time where you managed to persuade someone of your opinion?
- Give me an example of a conflict that you successfully resolved?
During The Interview
6. Small Talk
Make some pleasant small talk at the beginning. The interviewer will usually ask about your journey. Answer politely and use this time to build rapport.
7. Show Pleasant Character Traits
Always smile, listen and be authentic. A smile makes people immediately warm to you. Listening skills show interest, curiosity, empathy and attentiveness. Show your genuine self. Don’t pretend to be somebody else or to be something that you are not.
8. Use the STAR Interview Response Technique
- S – Situation – Describe the situation to which you are referring
- T – Task – Describe your responsibility in the situation
- A – Action – Describe the action that you took
- R – Response – Describe the outcome that you achieved
Find an appropriate scenario from your prior work experience and set the scene. Make sure you choose an example in which you can explain the situation, describe the task, talk about the action that you took and explain how your core involvement resolved the problem in hand. Remember that your goal is to show how your part in it proved successful, therefore don’t go into excessive detail. Keep it short, sharp and concise.
9. Career Goals
You may be asked about your career goals. Interviewers want to see that you have a plan to achieve self development and success in your career. If you have a career goal and a plan on how you wish to achieve it, then they are more likely to view your job application in a positive light. They will see you as having greater potential with workplace skills, such as leadership, decisiveness, organization and planning.
10. Body Language
Don’t be overly aggressive by shaking hands too firmly. It can be interpreted as a sign of an over-confident, dominant or aggressive personality.
Don’t fold your arms and lean back while talking. It can be interpreted as distance, disconnection, lack of interest and boredom.
Don’t fidget. It can be interpreted as a sign of lying, boredom or insecurity.
Don’t talk excessively. This can be interpreted as a sign or nervousness or someone with poor social skills.
11. Interview the Employer
Finding a job is not a one-way process. It is not only about the organization finding the right fit for their position. It is a mutual business relationship and about you choosing the company in which you wish to work. After all, your education, experience, skills and abilities are going to benefit their organization and you can choose whether they meet your expectations in terms of salary, benefits, job role, organizational culture, management style, opportunities for progression and self-development.
12. Don’t Say Anything Negative About Anyone
It may be tempting to say a few negative words about your previous employer. Even if your previous employer was unpleasant, abusive or treated you unfairly, keep quiet. It can reflect poorly on your character.
After The Interview
Always follow up the interview with a thank you email. You should thank them for taking the time to interview you and to assess your application. It always leaves a good impression and shows that you respect their time.
If you still feel anxious and unsure, do a mock interview with a friend. Give them some competency-based questions and common interview questions and role play the situation. Don’t forget to use the STAR technique when formulating your answers. Ask your friend to assess your performance. This will give you a little more confidence as well as one last opportunity to correct any inconsistencies, errors or missing details in your answers.
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Your degree, skills and prior experience all contribute to getting that interview, but interview techniques including: research, respecting gatekeepers, body language, arriving early, preparing answers to interview questions, making small talk, and following up are all key components in passing your interview which will ultimately be the key to landing your dream job and reaching your career goals.