Whether you’ve finally landed a job interview, or you’re just beginning to update your resume, it’s important to be prepared for when the day finally comes. Job interviews can be exciting, nerve wracking and challenging all at the same time, so being prepared and knowing what to expect can go a long way in helping you go from interviewee to new employee.
Here are the top interview tips for job hunters in 2018:
Research the employer
The key to giving a good interview is preparation. Of course, you should think about your answers to common interview questions, but you should also do some pre-interview research.
Take the time to Google the company, and to look at their website, social media profiles, and any news reports that mention the company or any employees. This should help you develop an idea of the company’s goals and values, so you can ask questions about what you’ve found. Showing the interviewer what you know about the company shows that you’re serious about the position.
Make a good first impression
Making a good first impression is something every interviewee will be trying to do, but there are certain things you can do to stand out. The interviewer’s impression of you is created before you even meet.
They will get a vague idea of who you are from your CV, but they have to actually get it first. One tactic is to call the hiring manager after you’ve sent your resume and politely ask if they’ve received your application. Not only does this put a voice to your resume, it actually gets the recruiters to find your application. In a competitive market, simply ensuring your resume is read can be the difference.
Know how to sell yourself
Once you’ve secured an interview, it’s time to sell your skills and abilities. For the inexperienced, this can be an uncomfortable task. The key is to discuss your attributes and give proof that you actually possess them.
Prepare several example situations where you dealt with a problem, task or challenge and explain how your skills helped lead to a favourable outcome. Then explain how such skills will help you excel in the role you’re applying for. This is known as the STAR technique.
Build rapport with the interviewer
If you can build rapport with the interviewer throughout the interview, it can not only dramatically improve your chances, but also help to calm your nerves.
Be sure to listen to the interviewer carefully, focusing on letting the conversation flow naturally. If the chance arises and you discover mutual interests or hobbies, try and work it into conversation. If this doesn’t happen, you should be able to build a connection over industry or company news that you discovered from your pre-interview research.
Building rapport is something you may have to practice, but when you can create free-flowing conversation and even share a laugh or two with the interviewer, you will be sure to leave a lasting impression.
Body language is important
It’s important to be aware of how you present yourself during an interview. When you first meet the interviewer, be sure to smile and shake their hand confidently. Speak in a clear and friendly tone and show that you’re engaged by maintaining eye contact. While it is hard in a high-pressure situation, try to remain calm and confident.
Ask meaningful questions
By the time you’re going for professional interviews, most people know to ask questions throughout or at the end of these interviews, but it’s the type of questions you ask that will help you stand out.
You can use this opportunity to show what you know about the company, and to find further information. It’s also a good idea to ask how your performance will be measured. Asking insightful questions shows that you’re not only interested in the role, but a forward-thinker who is ready to contribute to the company.
Don’t be afraid to take a notebook into your interview. While it’s not imperative, having a notebook and pen with you shows that you’re organised, enthusiastic and ready to take the initiative. You can even take in some notes to help you with your answers. Of course, make sure to check if your interviewer is ok with this beforehand.
As your interview comes to an end, find out what the next steps are and when you can expect to hear back on the outcome of the interview. You should leave the interview as you came, with a confident smile, thanking the interviewer for their time. Shake their hand and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them soon.
Afterwards, you should follow up with a call or email, again thanking them for their time. Offer to answer any further questions they might have and ask for any feedback.
Many people dread interviews, forgetting that almost every person with a job has had to endure one. With the right preparation, an interview can be a great opportunity to see the company you might be working with.
Sally Tindall is the Money Editor at RateCity.com.au, where you can make smarter financial decisions and compare thousands of financial options.