Now that you’ve got the job interview, here are our tips on how to land the job.
A job interview is not the time to wing it so prepare as much as you would for an important work or academic presentation. Making it all up on the spot can make you look unorganised and unconfident.
Make sure you take your cover letter, résumé (including your contact details) and any other relevant information. For example, if you are going for a creative job it’s a good idea to bring a folio of your work.
Almost always, interviews will involve a number of questions and it is important to be prepared to answer them. Researching the job you are applying for is a great way to prepare for the questions you might be answering and will give you an idea of who they are looking for and what qualities this person should possess. This will help you craft responses that are suited to the job you are applying for.
Also research the company, itself. Researching the company will help you understand how they operate or what work they are involved with will show that you are thorough but also enthusiastic about possibly being involved.
Don’t forget to look below at our list of Common Interview Questions and Best Answers
Employers are often looking for workers who are organised and reliable. Running late or even missing an interview is one of the quickest ways to offend an employer and you may miss out on the job as a result.
Being on time or even 10 minutes early shows that you are organised. Running late, even with a good excuse, gives off an impression of someone who is unorganised and may not handle time effectively. If you are running late make sure you contact the interviewer and let them know and if you are unable to attend the interview try to reschedule. Always try and leave half an hour earlier for a job interview, just in case.
If due to reasons out of your control, you were running late or missed the interview and as a result you have missed out on the job, stay positive and don’t get discouraged. There will be other opportunities.
Make a Good Impression
Often an interview is the company’s first face-to-face meeting with you and it’s very important to give off the right impression, both inside and out.
Employers may conduct hundreds of interviews over their career and they are very good at judging if someone is uncomfortable or anxious. Be professional, enthusiastic, friendly and outgoing but most of all be confident in yourself. If you don’t believe you deserve the job, neither will the employer.
Likewise, how you dress and present yourself are other ways that you can give the right, or wrong, impression. For job interviews you should always dress in a professional, appropriate manner but you should dress in a way that matches the workplace you are applying for. For example, if your applying for a job as a lawyer a suit and tie would be appropriate but if you are applying for a job as a mechanic you may need to dress less formal so do some research to find out what the dress code of the work place is.
In general, avoid wearing clothes that are:
- Too short
- Too loose or too tight (Ill-fitting)
- Too revealing
- Overly bright or too colourful
- Too flashy (brand names, lots of jewellery)
Also avoid wearing too much make-up, perfume or cologne.
Be a part of the conversation
Consider an interview as an open conversation. You will often be expected to answer the questions of the employer but there is nothing wrong with asking some questions or having a discussion with them. This shows confidence and will help you stand out from the crowd.
Always answer in a clear voice and keep your responses detailed but brief. Be confident in your answers as being overly nervous or stressed can show that you don’t handle pressure well.
When answering questions give detailed but brief responses and try and avoid answering yes or no. Try and keep the conversation flowing and it will feel more comfortable for both you and the employer. Being able to talk with confidence during an interview shows that you work well under pressure and are friendly and outgoing. Don’t forget when answering questions try to use relevant examples. It will show that you can think on your feet and it will help the interviewer better understand your points.
Try and avoid rambling on as it can show that you are disorganised. Generally, aim to keep your responses to less than 2 minutes to avoid the interviewer getting bored or distracted. You want short, sharp responses that the interviewer will remember.
Also, avoid talking about personal topics such as health, relationships, spirituality, personal opinions or money as it may make the interviewer uncomfortable. Keep the conversation relevant to the job you are applying for.
And don’t be afraid to ask some questions of your own, about the company’s work, values or history. Employers will appreciate your initiative and enjoy being focused on for a change.
Be positive about previous work
Positive people tend to attract positive energy and the same can be said for negative people. Always give a positive impression during an interview and it will make a big difference.
If you are looking for a job, there is a chance that you may also be leaving another so often employers may ask you about this and it is important to have a careful response. Even if you were unfairly treated, fired or had a disagreement with your workplace, always speak about previous work with a positive attitude. Bad-mouthing previous employers, companies or co-workers shows disrespect, a negative attitude and suggests that you are not accountable for your actions and looking for someone else to blame. It may make the employer feel, that right given the circumstance, you would bad-mouth them too.
Likewise, being generally negative will make the interviewer uncomfortable and suggests that you will not be a good person to work with. You want to give an impression of being a good worker but also someone who is easy to work with and will not create unnecessary tension.
In many interviews you will be asked to describe yourself and this can be difficult to do as it feels that they are judging you as a person as opposed to as a worker. Employers often do this as they want a good worker but they also want someone who is easy to get along with, especially if working in a team.
Most importantly, never lie about yourself. If you say you are incredibly organised but in reality you are messy and lazy, they will eventually realise that you haven’t been completely honest and it will not be appreciated. Rather focus on your better qualities and avoid discussing your weaker points. For example, if you are disorganised but a hard-worker, focus on your ability to work long hours or your ability to work flexible hours or weekends.
If you do need to discuss you weaker points try and add a positive spin on them, for example, if you say that you are disorganised also say that you are working on being more organised by using a weekly planner. This shows initiative and that you are someone who can respond to criticism and work to improve themself.
Always be yourself in an interview but be the most refined version of yourself. Be confident but not arrogant, be fun but not inappropriate and be honest but not rude.
Common Interview Questions (and Our Answers)
We all know job interviews can be scary. You never know what they might ask you or what topics might come up. You can never predict what the employer will ask but you can practice using these common interview questions. Whether, creating responses on your own or role-playing with a friend or family member, these questions will help you get used to responding on the spot so practice your responses and then see ours.