Interview Tips & Tricks

Stand out on your next interview

Make sure to do research upfront

Research the company and the panel of interviewers. Utilise all available resources to you to ensure you are fully prepared for questions in relation to the company including revenue numbers, latest press/media releases.

Know the company, the industry, competitors and who or what product they make and who are their clients.

Complete Mock interviews in advance if at all possible

Visualize the interview and questions that could arise, and draft answers so that you can practice as much as possible. Rehearse the way you’ll present yourself and practice answers to important interview questions for your field.

Mock interviews prepare you for most possibilities and help with nerves as well. Review your CV in detail and be very familiar with your dates/roles/experience and projects that you worked on and the impact you had on same.

Practice tough interview questions beforehand

At every interview, you will get challenging questions that you should be prepared for.  Hirers challenge applicants with tough questions to judge their company fit and see how they cope under pressure. So expect questions on where you will be in 2 or 5 or 10 years.

They’ll ask about difficult work experiences, your most stressful jobs, and your favorite job. And need details on why etc.  They may even ask to describe your ideal manager or company that you have worked or would like to work for.

Formulate answers to common interview questions. There are exhaustive lists available online, utilise these resources.

You may be a convincing speaker, but being caught unawares by a trick question and stumbling through an answer could cost you the job.

Smooth delivery shows knowledge of subject matter and allows for good rapport to develop.

Be prepared for Behavioural style questions

Lots of companies now use behavioral style questions dig into past achievements and predict future performance.

These questions identify an applicant’s key competencies and skills, so it’s vital to prepare answers to match your skill set to the employer’s requirements.

Focus on past achievements that highlight your abilities in these key areas and not limited to:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Conflict resolution
  • Failures

It may help to focus on key areas or projects that you worked on over the years and what your impact was on these projects, this may help in drawing on some of your experience and knowledge in each area.

Some basic but important tips

Put thought into your appearance

First impressions matter. The safe bet is to dress professionally, paying attention to grooming, colors, and accessories.  If you are a coffee drinker or smoker, or you have lunch/breakfast before an interview, use a mint or brush your teeth before starting.

Keep the following points in mind too:

  • Do NOT chew gum
  • Be conscious of how much perfume/cologne you wear
  • Remember to exude confidence – head high, stand straight and tall, hold a slight smile, and relax

Arrive early (but not too early)

Arrive for your interview approx. 5-10 minutes early. Everyone has their watch set differently, and a 5-minute cushion is a good idea. Some interviewers are time-sensitive and notice if you’re even one minute late, dulling initial impressions.

Don’t arrive too early and put pressure on the interviewer if they are not ready for you yet.

Give yourself ample time to reach the location. Rushing will affect your interview performance, so if you think you might be late, call ahead to advise them of the situation.

Don’t ask about money, benefits, an office tour, or overtime

Never bring up money on your first interview. If they ask what you’re making, be honest and provide your Salary range. Indicate it is still premature to talk numbers and that you’re interested in evaluating the entire opportunity rather than the salary alone. 

Don’t ask about benefits unless the hirer broaches the subject, and don’t ask to take an office tour, either. 

That will happen later. Never bring up over time, even to show a willingness to work extra hours. The interviewer will almost always remember overtime was discussed, and they may doubt your ability to work efficiently during regular work hours.

The interviewer will almost always remember overtime was discussed, and they may doubt your ability to work efficiently during regular work hours.

Make a strong introduction

Introduce yourself with a smile, a handshake that matches the firmness of the hirer’s, and a relaxed and self-assured demeanor.

Greet others on the panel if there’s one and follow the interviewer’s lead to sit down or to head elsewhere. You’re well aware by now people form first impressions within seconds of meeting someone new, so make sure yours is a solid one.

How to let the interviewer know if you’ve been laid off or fired

Don’t lie if you were laid off or your role was terminated or made redundant. The truth will come out, and if you secure the position, your future at the company will be in jeopardy.

Answer with the facts. Be open and confident, providing valid reasons for losing previous positions.

If you were laid off, make it clear that your performance didn’t contribute to the decision. If it was a termination, use a softer term like “let go.”

Then bring your skills and suitability for the job on offer back into focus. If possible, refer the hirer to referees who can vouch for your skills and performance.

Be conscious of your body language

Non-verbal communication cues are part of the impression you make. A weak handshake, for example, shows a lack of authority. An averted gaze signals distrust or disinterest in the job.

Show assertiveness by sitting up straight and leaning slightly forward in your chair. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer without making things awkward.

You should look at each interviewer if it’s a panel but address your answer primarily to the interviewer asking the questions.

Ask questions at the end of the interview

A job interview is an investigation into your experience, achievements, and cultural fit. But most importantly, your skills for the role. Your communication skills determine how well you present this vital information. When the hirer asks if you have any questions, you’ll have one more opportunity to demonstrate how well you communicate and how well you’ll fit in with the company. And you can find out details that may not have arisen during the interview.

Examples of solid questions to ask the hirer are:

  • What’s a typical day for someone in this role?
  • What are vital qualities for someone doing this job?
  • What are some of the challenges facing the company?
  • Where do you see the company in 5-10 years?
  • What does success mean to you and to the company?

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