Congratulations!  You’ve caught a potential employer’s eye with your outstanding resume, now to wow them in person.  Here are our top tips to get you prepared for career success.
interview tips

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.  

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.

If you are hoping to move to a new company, research them thoroughly before your interview. Look for interesting facts or challenges that they may be facing that you may be able to help with. Visit their social media pages, read reports and search for them in the news. Mention any recent new products, mergers, or investments that you come across.

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
Active listening during an interview will help avoid misunderstandings. Don’t start an answer based on what you thought the interviewer asked, ensure you are answering what they asked. If you aren’t sure, ask for clarification or more information.
Keep interviews upbeat and positive. Avoid mentioning anything negative about your current employer and try to find a positive spin for even negative questions. One exception is ‘what is your main weakness?’ This is a question interviewers expect you to answer. Try to avoid stereotypical answers like perfectionism or working too hard. Instead, use the STAR formula to discuss an area where you know you can improve. Don’t forget to include actions you would take to prevent your weakness from hampering your work.

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?
After the interview, send a personalised email to those who interviewed you. Thanking them for the opportunity and ideally mentioning something unique from your interview to help you stand out in their memory.    
If you don’t get the job, learn from the experience by politely asking for feedback.  By doing this you can work on overcoming any weaknesses and be better prepared for any future interviews.