How To Nail Your Next Job Interview

We’ve all heard about (or personally experienced) today’s modern dating scene and the challenges it represents when it comes to  meeting and finding that special person in our lives, formally questioned as “Is he or she the one?” Your answers tend to stem between “I don’t know/ Maybe/ Yes/ No…” It’s not really clarifying is it..?

Social media, profiles and dating sites have all contributed to a convoluted judgement of the one due to the information extraction, psychological profiling and processing of information, which all needs to take place. It’s ultimately governed by our own personal scorecard which determines someone’s as being the one. The story about how “I met him or her on match.com and they don’t look at all like their profile photo…” or “I was expecting a more intellectual conversation from someone doing their masters in…” seems to be a broken record playing the same tune. It’s fundamentally more than easy to look great on a website – upload your best photo, download Facetune, apply a filter… Even hire a professional to take care of the verbiage and make you come across as being exceptional!

Now you’re probably wondering what the one has to do with a job interview. The one is simply a metaphor used to describe that distinguished person that we want to spend the rest of our life with. Naturally finding the perfect candidate or a needle in a haystack is being an equally celebratory effort. Consultants whose professional resume writing services coupled with the social media attributes (LinkedIn profiles) are on the rise because every candidate wants to be distinguished from his/ her competition. But like the dating scene, looking good on paper is one thing, but that only gets you a ticket on stage to perform. Performing on the day entails ….

1. PREPARATION

Before you attend the job interview, you should be doing your research on the company and the industry. Who is the owner? What do they specialise in? What are the latest news items? You should be able to confidently respond if the interviewer asks you “What do you know about the company?

2. MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

These days, background checking is an instrumental part of a company’s recruitment process. Make sure you watch what you post on social media, even if your accounts are set to private. Ensure that what you post doesn’t contain any content which could turn your potential employer off from recruiting you (yes that includes your rant about your crazy ex-boyfriend, how much you hate your current boss and those incriminating photos from the weekend)!

3. DRESS TO IMPRESS

How to dress for a job interview depends on the type of industry or role you are applying for (think Anne Hathaway in A Devil Wears Prada). For example, if you are interviewing for a role with a fashion label you may wish to dress in the company’s own label and showcase your individual style. However, if you are interviewing at a law firm a suit/ blazer/ corporate outfit would be more appropriate. Regardless of the industry, always ensure you are dressing on point with a level of professionalism. When in doubt, think classic and conservative.

4. STUDY YOUR RESUME

As an HR Manager, I start almost every interview by asking the candidate to take me through their past roles and experiences. Before the interview, ensure you have studied your resume and are able to highlight your key achievements. There is nothing worse than interviewing a candidate who can’t recall or articulate what they have done.

5. PLAN YOUR RESPONSES

Not all of us have a natural gift for ‘winging it’ in an interview. Plan your responses for both general and technical questions. What have been some of your biggest work accomplishments? How does this role fit in with your longer term career goals? What sets you apart from everyone else you has applied for the role? You would be surprised at how many candidates buckle when I ask them these types of questions (whatever you do, don’t be the nervous school girl giggling throughout the interview)!

Boss in Heels tip: Ask for a copy of the position description prior to the interview, so that you have a better understanding of the role and what skills or attributes they are looking for.

6. PLAN FOR YOUR WEAKNESS/S

When an interviewer asks you “what is your weakness?” do not, I repeat do not, say nothing! As much as we all want to present ourselves in the most positive light, being able to identify your areas of development demonstrates that you have a level of self-awareness. However, it is not simply enough to acknowledge your weakness- the interviewer will be looking for you to take it that one step further and discuss what strategies you have put in place to improve on this. A good response to this question could be: “In the past, I have had a difficult time delegating my work and letting a project go. I am convinced that I can do it all myself, or that asking for help could be seen as a sign of weakness. This has led me to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done. However, I have been actively working on this and have been getting the team more involved in my work. As a result, we have been able to come up with some great ideas and achieve some incredible results.”

7. SCENARIOS

Often as an interviewer, I will ask candidates a variety of scenario specific questions relating to the job e.g. “Tell me about a time you were required to go above and beyond the usual requirements of your role” or “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a really difficult customer.” The best way to answer scenario specific questions is to:

  • Identify the problem
  • Discuss what action you took.
  • Advise what the final outcome was

By sticking to this approach, you will ensure you address the interviewer’s questions satisfactorily and to the point, and demonstrate you have the kind of experience required to successfully take on the role.

8. PREPARE YOUR OWN QUESTIONS

At the end of the job interview, you are usually provided with an opportunity to ask the interviewer your own questions. Do not respond with “I don’t have any questions.” Take this as an opportunity to demonstrate to the interviewer that you are interested in them and in the role. Some good questions to ask could be:

  • What do you enjoy about your role and working for the company?
  • What do you think are the most important attributes to be successful in this role?
  • How does this position fit in with the company’s short term and longer term strategy?

9. DON’T BE NERVOUS WHEN ASKED ABOUT SALARY EXPECATIONS

My best advice when asked about salary is to do your research before the job interview. Have a look online on some career sites such as SEEK to see what other similar positions are going for, or have a look at some current salary surveys. It is important to know your worth and to not sell yourself short, however also be realistic, especially if you are applying for a graduate or entry level position (I once heard of an entry-level receptionist asking for a salary of $100k plus)! If you are being presented for a role through an agency, you can usually discuss salary directly with the recruiter.

10. THANK YOU EMAIL

Following the interview, send a personalised thank you email, thanking the interviewer for their time. You can also use this as an opportunity to reconfirm your interest in the role and ask if there is anything further you can provide to support your application e.g. portfolio, details to contact references etc.

HOW TO NAIL YOUR NEXT JOB INTERVIEW

Interviewing is serious business, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a laugh with the interviewer if the situation arises! Some of the most successful interviews I have conducted (or attended) have involved me being able to have a laugh and build rapport with the candidate or interviewer. Knowing when to have a laugh and when to be serious are equally as important, and it could be the difference between you getting the job over all the other candidates! it is a great skill to be able to read the interviewer’s body language and facial expressions. Most importantly, you don’t to be that person with the phenomenal dating/ Tinder profile who is nothing but a waste of your prime Saturday night slot! Go for the kill- be confident, prepared and professional and go nail that interview!

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