Congratulations, you’ve gotten an interview! (or you’re doing your research about tips and tricks for interviews – Good for you). I can tell you one thing for sure – interviews are scary. There’s no doubt about it. Even experienced job hunters can tell you about horror stories, but here are some quick tips I’ve learnt to help get the interview starting on the right foot.
First things first, it doesn’t always come naturally! Some of us are inclined to be more shy or outgoing, loud or quiet, nervous or confident. That doesn’t mean you can’t ace the interview and get the job by just being yourself.
I’ve had my fair share of interviews, from casual retail jobs to corporate internships and I have also been on the other side recruiting individuals for society work as well as for Scholarship and Graduate opportunities on behalf of multiple companies such as IOOF, Herbert Smith Freehills and Macquarie Telecom. I have compiled some of the tips I think really highlight the great things about yourself, so you can shine at your next interview.
1. Be yourself
I know this is quite generic but when you truly know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, the quirks about yourself and how you can bring this to the table, you’ve already gotten a head start. If you’re completely in tune and proud of who you are, what you believe in and what you’ve achieved you’ll come across very well to any recruiter. My recommendation would be to write in down and make a flow chart of situations and results. This will help a lot when answering on the spot questions about achievements or specific situations you’ve been in as you’ll be well versed.
2. Know the job and company you’re applying for
There’s nothing more embarrassing than walking in and asking what the job is about. Do your research! If you know the recruiter or interviewers name, don’t be scared to search them up. Make sure you know what the company’s values, mission statement and views are, prior to the interview and make a conscious decision about how your values might align with theirs. This can help you form questions you have about a company’s inner culture, management style or overall vision for the future. Be informed about where you will work because accepting a job offer from a company you will come to dislike is a scary idea.
3. Use a STAR method
When answering an interviewer’s question, you should provide all the information necessary for the interviewer to make a solid judgement. Always follow the order Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- Situation: What is happening? Describe the situation so that the interviewer doesn’t have to ask any specifics e.g. Was it a previous job, volunteering or during university?
- Task: What needed to be done? Why was this difficult?
- Action: Describe exactly what had to be done and your specific input in the situation.
- Result: Describe the outcome with a focus on how you grew or what you learnt from the situation. From the action, did you improve certain skills? Learn that you were more resilient? Own your accomplishments and get that across to the interviewer.
4. Listen to the question
This is something that is often overlooked. Listen thoroughly to the question and if you don’t have the answer to it, be honest and say you need a moment to think about it. When you’re caught off guard you might get nervous and reply incorrectly but when you need to be calm and collected and think before you speak. Be honest when letting the recruiter know if you can’t answer or if you’re having trouble thinking of what to say, rather than lying because that can always come back to bite you.
I’ve seen many candidates try to avoid or deflect a question about skills and experience but that only shows the recruiter that you’re trying to get around them and possibly deceive the situation. That is never a good look. Be honest, thoughtful and personable.
5. Ask questions
Be keen. Be interested. A recruiter will definitely notice this. My favourite thing is when a candidate asks genuine questions and shows their interest. There’s nothing better than ending off an interview with agood impression and the best way to show that is by asking questions such as:
- Can you tell me more about the company’s culture and your experience working here?
- What would you say has been the highlight/difficulty during your time here?
- Can you elaborate on what it is like as a woman in this company? Are there any support systems in place to ensure equality?
- What is the management style like in this division and what kinds of support systems are in place for your employees?
6. Body Language
Lastly, you’ve said the right things, used the STAR method and showed you listen well, but there’s one thing that breaks the mood – your body language. Your body language shows a lot about you and the interviewer can interpret a lot from how you present yourself. Sit straight, smile and be inviting! It’s easy to get caught up in the technical skills, but companies are run by people for people. People skills will get you far and if you’re an introvert or anxious about meeting new people, it might take a little bit more practice, but once you’ve gone through a few interviews, you will realise there’s nothing holding you back or no interactions you should be scared of because the right company and job will always be out there for you.