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14 Important Tips to Help You Prepare for a Job Interview

How to Prepare for an Interview

The keys to getting noticed in an Interview

A job interview can be an intimidating experience. It doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple tips when you prepare for an interview to give yourself a better chance at success.

1. Get an Understanding of the Job

The first thing you can do is gain a clear understanding of the job being advertised. Read the advertisement carefully. If an application package is offered, be sure to grab a copy and have a good read through. You could also try looking at similar jobs in other companies or industries to gain a general understanding of how and where the role is positioned. Call the hiring manager or ad contact before you apply to seek additional knowledge of the role, for example:

  • What are some of the unique challenges of the role?
  • Why did the last person leave the role?
  • If you were given the position, what would you need to achieve in the first 12 months to be considered an amazing hire?

The last point creates an opportunity to build rapport with someone influencing the hiring decision – you become more than a name on a page. It can also assist in tailoring your application and deciding which examples to present in the interview. Importantly, you get to personalise what you talk about to the PEOPLE interviewing, not just the position.

2. Learn About the Company Interviewing You

A good way for you to head out on the path to interview success is to understand the company advertising the job. Have a read through the company’s website to learn about their services, values, team structure and industry position. A good understanding of the company will help you find the right words to get your foot in the door for an interview. It will also help you impress the interviewer when you get the call back.

3. Identify Qualities the Company Values Beyond the Job Description

Another aspect to consider is understanding information you should know about that is NOT in the job advertisement. Although this might seem a challenging proposition, you can gain insight through a phone call to the hiring manager or ad contact, or a look at the company’s website (are you beginning to see a pattern?).

4. Dress to Impress

A crucial part of any interview is dressing appropriately. You want the interviewer to understand you are a professional the minute you walk in the room. Wear clothes suitable for the industry, for example:

  • A corporate position – Wear a suit with a light-coloured shirt/blouse.
  • A trade job – Wear clean, pressed pants and an ironed shirt/blouse (no tie or jacket).
  • A retail opportunity – Consider chinos/skirt and a nice shirt/blouse.

5. Come Prepared

Make sure you arrive at the interview with everything you need to achieve success. Bring a hard copy of your resume to read while waiting for the interview – in pressure situations, our minds can go blank and reference material is valuable. If needed, you could refer to the hard copy through the interview or leave it with the interviewer afterwards. Also consider bringing relevant documents, including examples of previous work, recommendations/references, certificates of achievement, etc.

6. Be Early

This seems like an obvious point but is crucial in presenting yourself as the right candidate for the position. Always arrive at least 10 minutes early. This can be a good opportunity to ask reception staff any unanswered questions you may have about the company.

7. A Firm Handshake Sets the Tone

Ever shaken someone’s hand and been left with an uneasy feeling? A great handshake always leaves a good impression. It also creates a positive connection and a sense of trust. Be firm (but not too firm). Always make eye contact. Remember to smile.

8. Speak in a Clear, Strong Voice and Sit Up Straight

Interviewers will often assess your communication skills during an interview. This is the time to showcase your ability to get your message across. Here, the general rules for good communication apply, including:

  • Be clear and concise – don’t talk too much or too little.
  • Be confident – show the interviewer you believe in what you are saying.
  • Project your voice – appropriate to the audience and size of the room.
  • Be friendly – try to speak with a smile in our voice.
  • Be respectful – remember who you are talking to and treat them accordingly.
  • Give feedback – show the interviewer you understand what they are saying.

The interviewer will also be receiving non-verbal cues from the way you conduct yourself during the interview. Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures and tone of voice are important to ensure your verbal and non-verbal messages are in tune. Sit up straight and don’t slouch. Also pay attention to the interviewer’s non-verbal signals – that will tell you if you’ve got their attention or if you’re going off-track. Remember, communication is a two-way process.

9. Prepare Responses to Common Interview Questions

It’s a good idea to have a think about the type of questions that could come up during the interview. Have some answers at the ready so you can give the right response to questions asked. Be genuine in your responses and don’t rush yourself – the interviewer understands you are nervous and will appreciate your ability to give thoughtful, considered responses to their questions.

10. Ask the Interviewer Questions

Be inquisitive. Ask the interviewer questions arising from your research about the company. Focus on seeking information not readily available on their website or brand collateral. Ask about the culture, work environment and leadership. The interviewer will appreciate your interest and desire to learn more about the job and the company.

11. Be confident and Identify Your Strengths

Don’t be afraid to convey your accomplishments. Be aware of your skills relevant to the position and draw those to the attention of the interviewer. A good understanding of the job and the company will assist you to identify the skills that are most applicable.

12. Be Present in the Interview

An interview can be exhausting. Letting the interviewer know you are engaged will show you have a level of focus and ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Be sure to remain interested and maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Ask questions when appropriate to generate conversation. Don’t look bored!

If you have a “clicky” pen and are prone to furious clicking in nervous situations, be sure to leave it in your pocket. Even better, leave it at home.

13. Thank the Interviewer for Their Time

Be sure to leave the interview on a positive note. Reiterate any critical information before you exit, ensuring you reinforce key points presented during the interview. Shake their hand before you leave (remember Tip #7?).

14. Most Importantly, Be Yourself and Be Honest

Ultimately, a company will hire the candidate they find to be the best fit. If you feel you are that person, be confident in your abilities and portray yourself in the most genuine way considering your skills and abilities. “Fake it ‘til you make it” is not a good practice when it comes to job interviews – it will catch up with you.

If you’re in need of a great resume for your next job interview, contact Resumes Done Right for a professionally written resume to help you stand out from the crowd!

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