Author: Vikas Rana
Preparing yourself for an interview can be a daunting task. From how you dress to your mannerisms can all play a part in the final say of whether you land or don’t land your coveted position. There are many guides out there that offer job seekers tips, do’s and don’ts, fashion advice and an array of tricks to help you stand above the rest, yet these guides rarely go into depth.
Achieving that competitive edge may not be as difficult as you think, and with a bit of preparation and out-of-the-box thinking, your anxiety is sure to fade away. This guide will detail ten interview skills you can utilise to help you come prepared to your job interview. Find a job in Australia with these exclusive interview tips –
1. Plan for the unexpected
Fortune favours the prepared, and that is certainly the case for job interviews. Employers already know you will be coming with a list of answers for common questions, so put your feet in their shoes and prepare yourself for the real “curve balls”. Know everything on your resume and know exactly why you are applying for the position, as well as what you can offer as an employee. Bringing a well-presented copy of your portfolio with any other pieces of relevant information to leave with your interviewer can be a great way to show how organised you are and being able to answer every question succinctly and efficiently is almost guaranteed to land you the job.
2. Be first or last
Incorporating a few cheeky tactics never hurts when preparing for an interview, especially if you’re one of potentially hundreds of candidates. If possible, take advantage of the serial position effect where people tend to recall the first and last item in a series best. This way, you are more likely to come to mind than many of the other candidates, which is invaluable in today’s job market. If unable to be first or last to be interviewed, trying your best to stand out in a positive and professional manner will also help jog your interviewer’s memory.
3. Conduct proper research
Knowing who you’re working for and what they stand for is always helpful before being interviewed. However, the majority of job seekers stop at simply looking up the company’s website. Going in-depth with your research and looking at newspapers, annual reports and finding whatever information you can about the company could be invaluable knowledge that conveys your initiative and interest in the position and company.
Your research can also pay off when asking your interviewer questions, allowing you to come up with more ways to add to your company and provide more as a potential employee while showing your interest and effort.
4. Prepare yourself in every way
Besides looking the part and having a copy of your resume on-hand, it can sometimes be beneficial to take a breather and ready yourself for what is, for many, a nerve-racking experience. If you’re the type who’s nerves often inhibit your thinking, asking the question of “Is there anything in my application that concerns you?” at the end of the interview can help you buy some time to compose your thoughts and prepare more questions.
On the physical side, engaging in a short period of exercise a few hours before an interview can help lower stress and improve your thinking, allowing you to remain sharp during the interview. Just be sure to shower before actually going to the interview.
5. Refresh yourself on past roles
Taking time to refresh yourself on the more impressive accomplishments of past roles is absolutely paramount with whatever version of your resume you applied with. Though obvious, remembering anything that can relate to the position you’re vying for can help add that extra edge and show your interviewer that you have the proper experience and expertise to hold your own in the workplace.
6. Be eager, but not too eager
Eagerness is usually seen as a good thing when it comes to a job interview, but it can sometimes get a little out of hand if you have candidates who turn up an hour before their interview, which some do. Though it’s good to be early, anything over 30 minutes can be seen as a bit too overeager, so try to come in a little later when you’re only ten minutes early. Keeping your emotions in check is also a factor to consider when being interviewed. No one likes a person made of stone and laughing at every word your interviewer says can be seen as a tad creepy, so try to be warm and friendly without being overbearing.
7. Keep your image in mind
A lot of guides would tell you to dress smart and professionally, in which you should. However, be careful not to cross the line of being just a bit too well-dressed. Modesty can be very attractive, but at the same time, it’s difficult to balance. Keeping yourself between looking like a pauper and looking like you should be interviewing the employer can be tricky for most, but your standard suit usually does the trick.
For graduates, wearing your long-sleeve shirt can be appropriate, but not every employer appreciates it. Your accessories also play a major role in how you present yourself. Turning up to an interview in a suit with a dirty backpack is not a good look, regardless of how nice you look. It’s the small things that can have the most impact, so be sure to keep anything unsightly out of sight.
8. Give answers with examples
Contextualising your answers with detailed examples that relate to what you did in a past role can help clarify your skills with an interviewer. This is the perfect time to detail your skills and how efficient you were in past roles, which you wouldn’t be able to do when giving a straightforward answer. With that said, keep your answers under two minutes and keep on-topic. Not every answer needs an example, but if you can work in a past example of how you dealt with a specific situation effectively or anything of the like, it will help you stand out.
9. Don’t be presumptuous
Knowing your value and being confident in yourself is a good way to approach any interview, yet it is always important to know when to draw the line. Besides being offsetting, understanding the basics of office etiquette is another crucial skill that every job seeker should master before being interviewed. For instance, many job seekers take their seat before they’re offered and usually exhibit and “closed” body posture with folded arms, which can give off the wrong impression and ultimately cost them in the long run. Make sure not to interrupt your interviewer and approach topics like payment casually.
10. Keep the personal stuff to a minimum
As interesting as your weekend was, your interviewer, who has most likely interviewed many candidates before you and will interview many after you, is probably more interested in getting down to business. If asked about your personal life, detailing your hobbies can often pique their interest in you – as long as they aren’t too weird. Try to limit yourself on how much personal information you share and be sure not to include anything that could damage your image.