9 Tips for a successful interview
Before the Interview
Understand the interview process
Most companies will provide you with information on the format your interview will take. If they don’t, ask the HR department or hiring manager so you can prepare accordingly.
Interviews can be in the style of an informal discussion (or chat over coffee), one-on-one with either a hiring manager or recruiter, panel interview – allowing multiple managers to question you as a group, or competency-based in an assessment centre.
The more information you know or can predict about the interview the less likely you are to feel nervous.
Practice STAR answers
Regardless of the interview type, clear, concise answers are key to interview success. A good way to ensure your answers meet these criteria is to use the STAR acronym to format them:
Situation: explain the problem or challenge you had to solve. Set the scene for those interviewing you.
Task: explain what your responsibility was relative to the situation.
Action: what did you do? What sequence did the actions take place?
Result: what outcomes did your actions lead to?
Framing the highlights of your career in this way will provide those interviewing you with a more focused answer.
Research the company thoroughly
During the Interview
First impressions count
You only get one chance to make a first impression so make sure it’s a good one. As a minimum:
- dress to impress, you will need to look neat and professional
- don’t wear strong perfume or cologne
- arrive on time, early if possible – as a rule, 10 minutes early is preferable
- be polite and friendly to everyone you meet on your way to the interview
- nerves are normal but ensure your hand is dry before shaking someone’s hand
Have some questions ready
An interview should be a two-way process, ensure you have questions ready for the interviewer. Popular questions include:
- Will training be provided?
- Why has the position become available?
- What do you see as the long-term goals for the company?
- What would success look like in this role?