Sometimes the pressure to perform well once you have secured a hard-won interview can be overwhelming. Don’t let nerves and self-doubt take hold. Now is not the time to choke. In a market stiff with competition for jobs, you need to nail that interview. There’s no excuse for being unprepared either. Google interview tips, and you can download a plethora of advice on how to perform well. But don’t over complicate things. It’s all about preparation and attitude.
Research the organisation. This is everything from its history, its business – what it does, its values, its market sector, its employees, its culture, its achievements. You don’t have know every statistic by rote, just understand what the organisation does and what it is about. Where: Website, annual reports, media reports, online reviews, social media
Research the interviewer/s. Valuable insight can be gained by knowing a little more about the people interviewing you. Understanding their career journey to this point. How long they have been employed at the organisation, their role etc. This may identify some common ground but not in a creepy way, remember there is a fine line between demonstrating that you have done some research and being overfamiliar. Don’t be a stalker! Where: LinkedIn, company website, membership organisations
Research the role. Know that position description back-the-front. Your resume and their job description will most likely form the basis of your interview. Your success will be determined on how well you match the key selection criteria. Having a tool kit full of real-life examples demonstrating your relevant experience against each responsibility with be critical under pressure. Know what your transferrable skills are and back that up with evidence from your own experience. Now is not the time to ‘wing’ it. By using the STAR (see here) method to prepare clear examples for all those standard questions to avoid getting lost and rambling:
- How have you dealt with difficult people?
- How have you managed conflicting deadlines?
- How do you perform under pressure?
Rehearse your responses.
Culture fit for many organisations is equally as important as skills and experience. This is why you need to understand the organisations culture. You will be assessed against this so you need to understand what it is. This is the ‘how’ you would tackle a task or situation, rather than the ‘what’ you do, to complete a task. The interviewer/s will want to understand who you are as a person and how you will fit their team and culture. Once again prepare to answer behavioral based questions. These may cover everything from how you interact and work with people to what motivates you at work. You will need to give specific examples. General broad-brush responses will not suffice. Swatting up on typical behavioral-based interview questions will be time well spent (see here)
Energy, interest, engagement and professionalism are the treads that must run through your interview. Lack of interest, focus and enthusiasm will not progress your application. Openness, honesty and authenticity are what most employers look for.
Striking the right balance as a clear and confident communicator while keeping your nerves in check can be a challenge. Relax and be yourself. This is much easier to do if you are well prepared.
Prepare a couple of questions to ask as the interview concludes as this demonstrates interest. If those questions have already been answered during the interview, tell them exactly that. Asking them anyway will only give the impression that you weren’t listening.
As the interview concludes, ask if there is anything else that they need to know about you and your experience. Re-confirm your interest in the position and ask what the next step in the process is and in what time frame. Thank them for their time and express that you look forward to hearing from them soon.
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