So you’re applying for a job. Whether you’re a teenager seeking your first experience in the world of paid work or you’re a university graduate trying to get that lucky break, your success will hinge greatly on whether you make a good first impression during that all important interview.
But interviews are daunting, nerve racking and can be downright scary. How can I succeed, how can I stand out from the crowd? We understand that pressure, so here are some tips on how to succeed in your all-important job interview.
Tip 1. Read up about your potential future employer
Research. It’s that simple. Research who your future employer might be. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lot of research but knowing who your company is and what they do is crucial. There is a very strong chance you will be asked about what you know about said employer and you will be judged on how much you know as it’s a perfect demonstration of how much you care about the advertised job. Research is especially critical for those who are seeking full time work. But even if you don’t get asked, if you have done your research you can impress the interviewer by showing them you know about the company on your own initiative (bonus points if you know about a company’s future plans and can tie that in to your pitch about why your the best person to hire).
Tip 2. Dress neatly… and appropriately
It goes without saying that dressing well is key to getting a job. People say you shouldn’t judge someone by how they appear but lets face it, that’s plain stupid. It’s human nature to judge people and in a job interview your going to be judged from the moment you appear for the interview (and yes that includes when you are waiting outside the interview room or sitting in the reception area). So dress neatly.
But just as it is important to dress neatly it is also important to dress appropriately. If you’re a teenager trying to get a casual job at KFC or Coles there is no need to wear a business suit. In fact you would probably be thought of as pretentious and stupid. If you’re applying for a government or corporate job on the other hand wearing nothing less than a business suit or office clothes is a sure route to failure. Dress neatly and dress appropriately to succeed.
Tip 3. Have good breath
We have all had that experience of talking to someone with bad breath. It’s not fun, it’s not attractive and it’s not endearing. So make sure you have good breath before you step into your potential future workplace.
Tip 4. Don’t be late
It’s that simple. If you’re late it shows you don’t care, or you’re undisciplined. So don’t be late. Arrive at least 15 minutes early for an interview and just wait. If there is a toilet, just go in and check yourself in the mirror. And if you are confident about how you look just sit and wait. Put your phone on silent and away. Don’t play with it. Imagine what it looks like to an interviewer if they go out to greet a potential new employee just to see you texting on your phone. It doesn’t look good. Just wait and be patient.
Another good idea if you have never been to the location of the job interview is to do a dry run the day before and at roughly the same time that you plan to leave for the interview. That way you know not only the way to get to the interview location, you will also know what the traffic and parking will be like.
Tip 5. Give a good firm handshake
When meeting the interviewer offer your hand and give a firm (not knuckle breaking) handshake. It shows confidence.
Tip 6. Understand the meaning of a question
“Tell me about yourself?” “What is your greatest strength?” “What is your greatest weakness?”. These are just some of the questions you will be asked. On face level it may seem like a straight forward question but there is a trick to answering them. When they ask you to “tell me about yourself” what the interviewer really wants you to know is what can you bring to the job and company, so don’t answer with your love of Netflix (unless your getting a job as a entertainment reviewer). When they ask you “what is your greatest weakness” they want to know less about said weakness and more on how you addressed that weakness. The question is designed to see what type of person you are and how you would overcome future difficulties that you will inevitably have to overcome while on the job.
Basically every answer you make should relate to the job somehow.
Tip 7. Be polite, be respectful
You know those times you can knock back and have a laugh and just speak your mind? A job interview is not one of those times. Being polite and respectful is the way to go. Don’t use slang, don’t swear, keep any skeletons firmly in the closet and try and keep away from any divisive topics (money, religion, politics).
If you’re applying for a job and they ask your opinion on a certain issue give your answer and back it up with facts, never emotion. If you’re challenged on something you say, be confident but respectful when you back yourself.
Tip 8. Be confident
Yes job interviews are stressful but be confident. Interviewers know you’ll be nervous and they will understand that ( though admittedly depending on the job you’re applying for that understanding might not save you). Instead of thinking about what happens if you answer something wrong or do something wrong just remember out of all the applicants they chose to interview you. So clearly they saw something in you. Or put another way, they thought others would have been a waste of time and energy to interview. Always keep that in mind.
Practically, you should manifest this confidence in maintaining eye contact with the interviewer. Never look down, never mumble your words and never fidget. Such actions betray you and makes you look unsure and therefore less desirable as an employee.
Tip 9. Ask a question
When they ask at the end of the job interview if you have a question, ask one. It may be a simple question as “when will I find out about whether I am successful?” or something more work specific such as “is weekend work expected?”. Obviously don’t ask a question if the answer is obvious (yes, if you want to work at a takeaway outlet then weekend work will be expected). You will look like an idiot, so choose your question wisely.
But the point of asking a question, even if you don’t have any real reason to, is that it shows enthusiasm. And enthusiasm / interest is what employers want in their potential employees.
Article supplied with thanks to 1079life. Gabriel is a writer with a background in International Studies, History and Media.