Your job application was a success and you have secured a job interview. Now the real work begins.
In order to ensure peek interview performance you need to prepare. By preparing it means you can easily demonstrate to the interviewers you are the top candidate. The more you prepare, the more relaxed and in control you will feel.
The best way to perform is to prepare using the following 13 steps:
Step One: Research the company
Memorise information on the company so you can knowledgeably and confidently discuss the company and how it operates. This demonstrates your interest and desire to work for that specific company.
Places to find information could be:
- Company Website
- Company Social Media Sites
- Annual Reports
- Industry Publications
- Newspaper Reports
Be sure to understand their products and services, locations, competitors, financials, mission statement, values, history, leadership team structure and growth prospects.
Step Two: Research the interviewers
When you accept the interview, it is important to ask for the names and positions of the interviewers’. With this information you can research their background so you understand their positioning and focus. You may also uncover some 1st degree connections which can create an instant rapport. Good places to find information is through LinkedIn, the company website and published blogs and articles.
Step Three: Review Your Job Application
You need to be able to talk confidently about the information you provided on your resume and cover letter. Memorise job titles, company names, achievements, responsibilities and dates so you can seamlessly provide an overview of your background without referring to your resume.
Spend this time preparing answers to the weak points in your resume, such as gaps in employment and career changes. This will save you from being blindsided at the interview with a probing and uncomfortable question.
Review the job advert and position description (if available) so you can mentally link your skills, abilities and achievements to the requirements of the position.
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Step Four: Review Your Major Accomplishments & Responsibilities
Interviewers want to see you are capable of the role. You can demonstrate this through your past achievements and responsibilities, highlighting tangible and quantifiable outcomes. By refreshing your memory, you will be able to provide examples to any questions.
Step Five: Prepare Your Stories Using Behavioural Interviewing Techniques
All good leaders have mastered the art of story-telling. Prepare examples from your past that address the core competencies of the role (as outlined in the job advertisement or position description). By using the STAR technique you can be sure to adequately answer behavioural questions.
Step Six: Prepare Answers To Stock Questions
Stock questions are the questions asked in most interviews. These questions are usually:
- “Tell Me About Yourself”
- “Why do you want this job? / Why do you want to work for this company?”
- “What are your strengths?”
- “What are your weaknesses?”
- “Take us through your work history”
Step Seven: Prepare Questions To Ask The Interviewer
The interviewer will expect you to ask questions and this will form part of the interview.
Prepare and memorise a variety of questions as chances are some will be answered through the course of the interview.
Be sure to ask genuine questions you have about the company and role. Avoid any questions relating to salary or company perks. If you get stuck here are some good questions to ask:
- “What are the top three challenges of this role?”
- “What does success look like in this role?”
- “What results would you expect in the first six months?”
- “What do you like about working for this company?”
Step Eight: Practice Interview Questions
It is important to do a practice interview to uncover any body language issues and highlight areas in your interview performance that need further preparation.
‘How To Answer Job Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions’ by Career Confidential, is a great resource for practising potential interview questions.
Step Nine: Research Market Salary Rates
It is common to be asked what your salary expectations are. Pitch too high and you may price yourself out of the role. Pitch too low and the interviewer may question the value of your skills and accomplishments.
Step Ten: Prepare Outfit & Groom Appropriately
You can never overdress for a job interview. As a rule of thumb, dress slightly more formally than what the job requires. Don’t forget to:
- Iron your outfit.
- Polish your shoes.
- Wash your hair.
- Shower and wear deodorant.
- Groom facial hair for men.
- Clean your finger nails.
- Eliminate breath odour.
- Minimise overbearing perfume or aftershave smells.
- Wear neutral makeup for women.
- Minimise oversized or clunky (noisy) jewellery.
- Women should not display cleavage or show too much leg.
- Wear comfortable and easy to walk in shoes.
- Avoid loud clothes or clothes with logos.
Step Eleven: Pack Bag
Pack your bag the night before the interview so you don’t end up stressed on the day trying to locate necessary documents. Remember to bring your resume, copies and originals of your qualifications as well as your passport or birth certificate with driver’s license (this is needed to prove your eligibility to work in Australia).
Also write down the address of the interview and the interviewers’ names and job titles so you can refresh your memory before the interview
Step Twelve: Plan Journey To Interview
It is best to plan the journey the day before. If you are driving, research the best route and where you will park. If you are catching transport, use an online planner to establish the best mode of transport.
Work out how long it will take to get there. Remember to factor in traffic conditions, and walking time from the carpark or station. Give yourself at least a 30 minute buffer for the unexpected and plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to the interview.