Haven’t been for a job interview for awhile? Just in case you may need to soon, here are some helpful tips.
Now that so many people are needing to find new jobs we should brush up on job interview skills – for ourselves and to help our loved ones and colleagues who may be trying out for a job. My daughter is going back to work, after time off to have my beautiful grandson, so I dedicate this blog to her and wish her luck for a job she has found today!
There are some simple strategies for making a strong impression at job interviews.
Before going for a job interview, you must get your facts right. There are a number of ways to go about doing this:
- Research details about the job and the company – find out where you would fit in.
- Ask to go into the job area and speak to people who work there.
- Ask for an annual report or some form of output from the organisation, for example, brochures or product samples.
- Ask for information about the company’s goals, vision statement and/or strategic plan.
- Go and visit any branches or outlets of the company in order to be able to relate any personal experience, for example, “actually, I went into one of your bank branches and my experience was…”
Prior to the interview, organise yourself. This means:
- Prepare the clothes you are going to wear – assume you would need to dress up (rather than down).
- Plan to get there in plenty of time – don’t rush.
- Make sure you have everything prepared to take with you, sucg as resume/curriculum vitae, references, names of referees, etc. In fact make sure you have spoken to your referees before the interview, not just to get their OK but also to get them enthused and positive about the call they may get.
Most people going for a job interview get nervous or feel anxious. Strategies that are useful to help you deal with anxiety include:
- Avoid surprise and assume that there could be several people interviewing you – be prepared for several faces.
- Use breathing techniques and give yourself positive messages, for example “I can be successful and I can get this job…”
- Chances are that your nervousness won’t show – strangers won’t be aware of your own, personal, subtle signs of anxiety.
- If it is obvious that you are nervous, admit it! Say “sorry but I’m a little bit nervous, I should be OK in a moment…”
- Ask for a glass of water to help calm your nerves.
Research shows that interviewers decide whether or not to hire a person in the first few minutes of an interview. It is important to do something impressive during this time, to make an impact.
- Smile, and speak with a smile in your voice.
- Make eye contact as much as possible, with all people equally – even if one person seems more dominant in the interview than others.
- Speak clearly – especially if you know that you normally speak quietly or tend to trail off.
- Offer to shake hands first – don’t wait for the interviewer(s) to offer.
- Take the initiative to find out people’s names and use them – show some social skills.
- Say something at the beginning of the interview – don’t just sit there and wait for the interviewer to speak first.
- Mention the advertisement you responded to and show interest in finding out about the company, for example “I noticed that you were advertising for new people a lot last year, is the company expanding?”
When answering questions, there are a few simple guidelines you need to follow:
- Don’t ramble or repeat certain points.
- Speak in small chunks that provide good information and allow for comments, questions or encouragement to expand from the interviewer(s).
- Be specific – don’t waffle or generalise; give specific examples, concrete facts or quality information.
- Be ready for behavioural interview questions – so have ready some example of when you faced difficult situations and how you managed them.
- Most importantly – say when you don’t understand a question and/or admit when you don’t know an answer – be honest!
Here are some guidelines for asking questions in a job interview:
- Ask linking questions – which link to the company’s products, brochures, goals, services or branches/outlets.
- Show interest in the whole organisation.
- Don’t ask about salary or holidays, time off or sick leave.
- If the interviewer(s) ask you if you have any questions, use this as another opportunity to sell yourself, for example “Well I’m really keen to learn and love challenges… will there be much opportunity to learn and be challenged in the job?”
Tests and tasks
Often in an interview, the interviewer(s) will require you to undertake certain tasks or tests of ability which can come as a surprise and cause anxiety. In this situation:
- Remember that everyone going for the job will have to do the test or task and that they will probably feel the same way.
- Take the test step by step and stay calm.
- Be honest!
Make your conclusion powerful in order to leave a lasting impression:
- Make an impact statement, for example, “I believe I could do a very good job…”
- Contact the interviewing panel or person after the interview and ask for feedback, ask “What did I do well and what could I have done better?”
Good luck Kim, and everyone going for jobs! Remember back to great things you have done in past jobs and go in with a big positive feeling (no matter how many jobs you try for). It’s a numbers game so it may take one, five, 10 or even 50+ tries before you are successful!
By Eve Ash, psychologist and Managing Director, Seven Dimensions, author of Rewrite Your Life! and co-producer with Peter Quarry of the Ash.Quarry production – Going for Job Interview from the TAKE AWAY TRAINING SERIES and her latest series – JOB INTERVIEW SUCCESS SERIES www.7dimensions.com.au
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