Interview Preparation

Interview Preparation

Great work – your impressive cover letter and resume has secured you an interview!

For most people, interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with some preparation and useful tips in mind, you can go in to your interview feeling confident and leave knowing you have put your best foot forward.

Before the Interview:

Research

  • The organisation you are applying for a role with.
  • The person/s who is/are interviewing you – LinkedIn is a great way to get to know a person’s professional background. Knowing a thing or two about who you are being interviewed by, will not only help with the nerves, it can be an ice-breaker during question time.
  • Familiarise yourself with the role description, including any responsibilities outlined that you don’t have experience in or any software, CRM programs that you have not used yet (ask some of your industry colleagues)

Prepare

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses – list at least one or two
  • Think about some of the potential questions you may get asked, and how you would respond to them. Using the STAR method (usually for behavioural type questions): Situation, Task, Action, Result.
  • Prepare a list of questions you can ask – 3-5 questions are enough. Most often, you will find that some or all your questions may get answered during the interview, so try and have one or two creative questions for your interviewer.
  • Have a copy of the role description and your resume ready to take to the interview.
  • Take along any examples of your work ie conference programs that you may have worked on
  • Prepare your interview outfit the night before – you only get one chance to make a good first impression!
  • Dress suitably for the organisation you are being interviewed by.
  • Make sure you know the address of where you are being interviewed and how to get there – know where the nearest parking/bus/train stations are.

At the interview

  • Plan to arrive on time at least 10 minutes early
  • Have your pen and notebook with your questions, in an easily accessible place (the last thing you want is to be digging around your handbag or briefcase for a pen and paper!)
  • Switch off your mobile phone!
  • Greet the interviewer by their first name, firm handshake, smile and eye contact – thank them up front for taking the time to meet with you – it shows that you respect their time
  • Accept a glass of water if offered – you may need it during the interview!
  • Try to stay calm and confident during the job interview. If you’re asked a difficult question, take a moment before answering or ask the interviewer to elaborate further if you’re unsure of the question
  • Show what you know about the company when answering questions and how it relates to your skills and experience
  • Communicate clearly and articulately – it’s easy to veer off track when you’re nervous but do your best to answer questions as concisely as possible.
  • Be confident and sincere when you are talking about your strengths, achievements and what you can bring to the role and the organisation
    Try and find out as much as you can about the role, why it is open (ie is it a newly created role or did someone leave the role and if so why?)
  • Find out more about the company culture and the team you will be working with
  • When the interview is over, remember to shake the interviewers hand, once again thank them for their time and tell them you look forward to hearing back from them soon.

Don’t:

  • Interrupt your interviewer
  • Lie about any aspect of your resume or your skills and capabilities
  • Be over-confident or arrogant
  • Speak negatively about past jobs, employers or co-workers
  • Look disinterested or disappointed if during the interview you feel that this is not right for you
  • Ask about job perks or holiday leave
  • Overshare! This is a common mistake that can be made easily, particularly if the interview has gone well, is very relaxed and jovial. Regardless of how comfortable you feel with the interviewer or how many jokes or laughs have been had, don’t cross the boundaries of professionalism!/li>

After the interview

  • Within 24 hours, make sure you send your interviewer a courtesy follow-up email thanking them for taking the time to meet with you and to feel free to get in touch with you if they had any additional questions.
  • Remember to mention that you are very interested in the role and look forward to hearing back from them.
  • If you get to the reference check stage, make sure you give your referees notice that you have had an interview and that they may be contacted by the employer.
  • It’s also helpful to send a copy of the job description of the role you are applying for, to your referees to help them prepare a great reference for you.