Tips on preparing for interviews

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Preparing for face to face interview

Job interviews can be a very stressful and daunting experience especially if you aren’t fully prepared. However you can learn to become very skilful at interviews in order to land your dream job. Take a look at our comprehensive guide below to help you prepare for your next interview.

1. Making a good first impression

The first few seconds of meeting your prospective employer are vital so it’s very important to make a positive impression. When entering the room smile confidently and shake their hand.

Ensure that you a dressed for the occasion with professional attire and are well groomed.

Also, allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the venue to avoid being late and making a bad impression.

2. Research the employer beforehand

It is very important to carry out research on the company which you are applying to so that you can impress the interview when asked “What do you like about our company?” This will give you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge on the company and impress your prospective employer.

You can utilise various platforms to carry out this research including, Google, company website, social media platforms and more. The ‘About’ page of a company should give you a broad overview of the company and the products and/or services which it provides. You may also want to dig a little deeper to look at the organisations aims and objective and its future plans. This will illustrate to the interviewer that you are serious about joining the company and can be a positive asset.

Researching a company will also allow you to formulate questions which you may want to raise at the latter part of an interview when asked “Do you have any questions for us?”

3. Selling your skills and abilities

Selling yourself can be a very uncomfortable task especially if you have not attended an interview for a while. The whole purpose behind an interview is to showcase your skill set and demonstrate why the employer should choose you over the other interviewees. You need to demonstrate that you’re able to fill in the skills gap within the organisation you’re applying for.

In order to do this you need to be able to show you meet the job description for the role and be able to back this up with education and/or experience. It’s important to remember that the example which you give are related to the role and the vision of the company.

4. Using the S(ituation) T(ask) A(ction) R(esult) method to answer interview questions

Every time a question is asked by the interviewer, you should get into the habit of using the STAR technique to fully answer the question. It may be good to adapt some examples to the role you are applying for beforehand so that you do not get caught off guard.

Situation:
Provide some background to a situation you were faced and what you were required to do.

 

Task:
As you have now set the scene, you need to outline what challenges and obstacles you were facing.

 

Action:
You now need to explain the action you took to overcome these challenges.

 

Results:
Demonstrate how your skill set enabled you to reach a successful outcome and what you learnt from the decision which you took. Remember – if you are struggling to give an example you can always ask the interviewer to repeat the question. Take time to fully understand the question and what the interviewer is asking from you before giving an answer. Try not to panic if you do not have an answer ready and ask the interview for a few second to think about your answer. Stay calm and composed throughout the process.

5. Body language

Your body language is very important in an interview and may also assist in how you deliver your answers to the interviewer. It is important to note that excessive body movement and fidgeting may however distract the interviewer.

In order for you to make your body language work to your benefit, sit up in your chair and look confident and professional and maintain contact with your interview. Discuss neutral and common topics to help build rapport which will make you stand out from other candidates. Don’t be afraid to show your personality as it will demonstrate if you are the right fit for the company.

6. Ending the job interview

Once the interview is nearing the end, you may want to finish on a positive note to show eagerness for the role. This may include asking the interviewer what are the next steps and when you should expect to hear back. You should also thank the interviewer for allowing them to meet with you and also provide a hand shake before leaving the interview room. Depending on the outcome of the interview, you should always ask for feedback so that you can learn from any mistakes you may have made or how to better prepare yourself for your next interview.

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Face to face job interview

Tip 1 Making a good first impression

Tip 2 Research the employer beforehand

Tip 3 Selling your skills and abilities

Tip 4 Using the STAR method

Tip 5 Body language

Tip 6 Ending the job interview

Virtual job interviews

Preparing for virtual job interviews

As technology continues to advance and especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of employers are adapting to changes in the interviewing process to make it more efficient. You may have heard of various video conferencing platforms including Zoom, Skype and more which allow participants to interact without physically being in front of each other. The following tips will help you navigate through a virtual interview with a prospective employer.

1. Correct equipment

Ensure you have the correct equipment and software to enable you to carry out the interview. It may also go without saying but it is vital to ensure your connectivity is also good to avoid unnecessary interruptions in the interview. A quick drop in your connectivity may result in the interviewer not fully hearing your answer. Therefore it is best to test your system prior to your video interview.

2. Wear professional attire

As with face to face interviews, you will need to project professionalism through your computer screen. You should dress in the same manner as if you were attending the interview in person. It is best to dress in attire which does not distract the employer such as overpowering colours.

3. Reduce distractions

Ensure you are seated in a place that is clean and free from clutter as well as being located away from loud noises such as passing cars and construction work. This will give the employer a sense of your professionalism and organisational skills.

Also ensure the room is well lit so that the interview can clearly see you throughout the process.

4. Use professional body language

As with face to face interviews, you will be able to project confidence through sitting upright and maintaining eye contact through the camera during the video interview. Try not to be too animated with your hands and avoid any fidgeting. Find ways to display enthusiasm like smiling and giving a confident wave when meeting the interviewer through your screen.

You should also ensure that there are no distractions including turning off the TV and putting your phone on silent.

5. Practice answering questions

It is worth recording yourself answering some sample interview questions to see how you come across to the interviewer. This includes speaking loud enough, being clear in what you’re saying and seeing how you project yourself in a video interview.

6. Follow up

It is good practice to follow-up a job interview to obtain feedback and comments. You can take this opportunity to alert the recruiter whether they have any additional questions.

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Virtual job interview

Tip 1 Address your feelings

Tip 2 Staying in contact

Tip 3 Creating new links

Tip 4 Find a new hobby or activity

Tip 5 Maintain a healthy diet

Tip 6 Staying mentally healthy