Here is some advice to help prepare you to interview effectively.
Practice & Prepare
Proper preparation takes away some of the stress involved in job interviews.
Practice interview questions and your responses to the usual questions employers ask. Your responses should include actual examples and successes from your life that you can use to describe your skills. Emphasize what you can do to benefit the company. See Question Examples
Role plays are very effective in preparing you to respond well to questions in the interview. You may also want to have a look at YouTube videos giving you Job Interview Tips.
Research the company. Employers are impressed with candidates that have researched the company. The research should include information like the company’s position in the industry, its markets, its locations, its competitors, its performance, major events, turnover and profits.
Review your experience and qualifications relative to the position
Review your work experience, qualifications, goals and accomplishments relative to the position and job requirements. Then review how well you match the employer requirements. Where you don’t exactly match the requirements anticipate the questions they are going to ask about this.
Review your resume prior to the interview and develop answers to questions that relate to your resume. In particular be prepared to discuss gaps in employment and changes in career direction.
Your interview attire must be ready beforehand and appropriate to the company you are interviewing with. Remember to bring all documentation that may be required including a copy of your resume and a pen for note taking. Re-read your notes at a convenient time before the interview.
Be On Time
Be on time for the interview which means at least five to fifteen minutes early. What is the company address? Avoid being late by doing things like planning your route to the interview beforehand and organising parking.
Remember to find out the name and position of the person you will be interviewed by.
During The Interview
Your answer to the initial opening ‘ice breaker’ statements in the job interview are important. Answer these questions with thought and positive energy.
Maintain eye contact with your interviewer
Show you want the job with your interest.
Avoid negative comments especially about past employers. Be aware of your body language and understand the messages you are receiving from the interviewer. Be enthusiastic and show it in your replies and body language.
Always conduct yourself professionally and if something beyond your control occurs, show a sense of humour. Try and answer the interview question by more than a simple yes or no but also try not to be long winded and go over sixty (60) seconds.
Listen and Adapt
Pick up the style of the interviewer and adapt your presentation accordingly. Try and match your communication style to the interviewer.
Attempt to relate your answers to the company and focus on achievements relevant to the position.
Encourage the interviewer to share information about the company. This will demonstrate your interest in the company. Look at ‘suggested questions to ask the interviewer’ are provided in the "Questions You Could Consider Asking the Employer" section.
During the interview try to relax and stay as calm possible. If you feel stressed – slow down your responses, breathe and let the interviewer do more talking while you regroup. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention to the question so you don’t have to ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
Do you have any questions for me?
Make a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer about the job
When the interviewer asks this question it gives you a valuable opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants. By asking smart questions this allows you to steer the conversation in a direction that gives you an opportunity to expand on your qualities, understanding and value you can bring to the position.
Some questions to consider:
- What are the opportunities for career advancement?
- Do you typically promote from within?
- What types of training programs do you offer?
- While doing research on your company in preparation for your interview I learned that the company recently [fill in detail] . Can you tell me a little bit more about this?
- Will I primarily be working independently or as part of a team?
- Can you tell me what my average day would be like?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
In closing reiterate your enthusiasm about the position and the company. Thank the interviewer for his or her time. Remember to ask for information about the next stage in the hiring process and also ask when and who you can contact the company to follow up. This shows you are proactive and gives you a time frame in which to do the follow up.
Follow up with a note and message of appreciation reiterating your interest in the position. If you interview with multiple people send each one a thank you note.
In the note briefly reaffirm the value and contribution you can make to the company and your enthusiasm for the position. If there is something important point that you didn't say in the interview or you need to address a concern that came up during the interview then use this chance to put it forward! Professional and Polite follow-up will enhance your chances of success.
The company may contact one of your references to do a reference check. Alert your references and give them background about the job and the company so that they are well prepared to provide the best references possible for you.
In analysing the interview ask yourself, what were the positive areas that you can reinforce and what areas need to be addressed further? As soon as possible after the interview write notes on:
- Any important aspect that came up at the interview: Positive or Negative
- On your own performance: Evaluate what you did well, what you did badly, what you did say, what you should have said and what you shouldn’t have said. Also evaluate your energy in the interview and your overall presentation?
- What you learned from this interview? If you don’t get the position then keep your evaluation notes and go through them again before your next interview.
The only real feedback you want from the interview is a job offer but even if you don't get an offer your time has not been wasted if you learn from the interview.
If you can get feedback from the interviewer this is a very valuable learning opportunity and will help you in the future.
In the meantime continue with your job search as it is never wise to rely on only one opportunity. Further interviews often reveals better opportunities so keep looking after the interview.