Does the mere thought of attending an interview start your palms sweating and fill you with a sense of dread?

Don't panic! Being interviewed need not be an arduous experience, and with our interview tips and hints below, we'll have you feeling confident and ready to shine in no time!

before the interview

    An illustration of a person working from home
    An illustration of a person working from home

    be prepared

    One of the most significant challenges candidates face when being interviewed is articulating their ability to do the job they have applied for, which is often down to nerves.

    To lessen your anxiety, before the interview, you must take time to practice selling yourself.

    • Think about your top five strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments.
    • Take some time before your interview to consider the types of questions the hiring manager may ask you during the interview and prepare how you plan to answer these questions.
    • Write down your answers and then practise saying them out loud - either to yourself in a mirror or to a friend or family member.

    The more practice you have, the more articulate and believable you will be during the interview. 

    do your homework

    Before you head to the interview, take time to familiarise yourself with the company you are interviewing with.

    • Visit their website, read recent news articles they feature in, and even search your LinkedIn network to see if you have any connections to people who work within the company.

    Business leaders love applicants who can demonstrate that they know more about the company than just the position they are interviewing for - its shows that you are proactive, curious and demonstrate an active interest in the organisation.

    dress for success

    Depending on the role you are going for, choose your interview attire carefully. Even though you may have a personality that is larger than life (with the wardrobe to match), try to dress conservatively, at least for the first interview, so that you can gauge the type of working environment that your prospective role will be in.

    • Whether it's business casual or full corporate dress, ensure your clothes are clean and tidy - people often make subconscious judgement based on appearances.

    Hence, you want to do everything you can to impress, and one of the easiest ways to show professionalism is through what you wear. Dressing for success will give a great first impression and bolster your confidence during the interview.

    leave plenty of time for travel

    Unless your potential employer happens to be right next door to where you live, there's a good chance you will need to travel to reach your destination.

    Regardless of whether you plan to go by public transport or car, make sure you take some time before the interview to assess how long it will take you to get there, and also alternate routes in case of an emergency - you never know what obstacles you might face on the day!

    Many employers list punctuality as a critical trait they are looking for in a candidate, and turning up late to your interview is a significant blunder.

    • Try to arrive at least 10 minutes before the interview - the advantage also gives you some added time while you are waiting for your meeting to begin to take a moment to relax and 'get in the zone.

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    during the interview

    Man and woman smiling and laughing in an office room
    Man and woman smiling and laughing in an office room

    don't forget to smile 

    Every second counts in an interview - even before you meet the hiring manager. From the minute you enter the workplace to the time you exit the building, it is important to appear friendly and outgoing (even if this is not something that comes naturally to you).

    • Make an effort to smile and say hello to everyone you interact with - from the receptionist to the interviewer and anyone in between.
    • Interviewers will often confer with support staff to see if their impression of you matches how you interacted with all who contacted you; the receptionist or administrative staff has influenced many hires.

    be aware of your body language

    You only have one chance to make a positive first impression, and how a potential employer perceives you in that split second can either make or break a job interview within the first five minutes.

    • Be friendly and outgoing, and ensure you have a firm, confident handshake from the beginning. Body language provides unconscious messages to your future employer, which you can use to your advantage.
    • In the interview, if you are sitting, sit up straight with your hands visible, either crossed lightly in your lap or on the table.
    • Never lie in an interview.
    • You will either get caught out immediately or once you have landed the job - either way, dishonesty doesn't sit well with employers. It is better to be honest about your skills and be turned down for the job than to lie and be unable to execute it.

    demonstrate your confidence

    Self-assurance and high self-esteem are sought-after attributes employers look for in potential candidates. So even if you tend to be introverted or shy, it is imperative that you make a concerted effort to muster as much confidence as possible during your interview.

    • A significant factor when it comes to overcoming your fear is being prepared.
    • Even if you are not naturally a confident speaker, putting in the groundwork before you go by researching the company, the role and your interviewer will help you remain calm during the interview.

    Even if you are not confident, you can still outwardly project confidence by maintaining eye contact and being aware of your posture - try to sit forward in your chair. Keep your voice level and be animated in your body language to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the job.

    These actions can maintain or generate momentum during the interview. This is especially important when doing multiple discussions on the same day. The energy level must be as high for the last as it is for the first. 

    ....but don't be arrogant

    There is a fine line between displaying confidence and arrogance. Going into your interview with an aggressive, overbearing attitude may end up losing you the job, as no one wants to work with someone difficult.

    • Try to come across as confident but humble, and avoid behaviour that comes across as cocky or know-it-all. 

    ask questions

    The most effective and successful job interviews are those where an active two-way conversation takes place, so remain alert and responsive throughout your interview. Where possible, ask questions about the role to show your interest & try to interject some of your personality. This is also where you can show off some of the research from your initial knowledge-gathering session.

    Remember, this is not just an interview for the hiring manager to get to know you, but it's also an opportunity to find out if it is a place where you would like to work, so use the time wisely. Get a feel for the company culture and the types of benefits you would enjoy as an employee if you were successful in the role.

    A few strategic questions can demonstrate your intelligence, analytical skills and assertiveness.

    some great questions to ask are:

    • Who previously held the position, and what was their reason for leaving?
    • What does success look like in this role?
    • Does the company invest in training for its staff? If so, is it internal learning development or offsite?
    • If I were successful in the role, are there be opportunities for career advancement & development in the future?
    • I read in ____ that your company is expanding into the Asia Pacific - does this mean there would be travel opportunities if I were to be successful in the role?
    • What is the team culture like? How many people would I be working with on a day-to-day basis?

    connect the dots

    During the interview hiring managers will often ask you to outline your skills and experience from previous roles and then demonstrate how this experience directly relates to the roles and responsibilities outlined for this new job.

    • In your answer, it's essential to show that you have completed the required task and that you went above and beyond the initial charge required to deliver exceptional service.
    • For example, perhaps you helped to solve a customer complaint, but what else did you do on top of this which benefited the company?

    Did you help train a fellow employee or do something that created extra revenue, saved expenses etc. -  be specific with the amounts and how you accomplished that goal.

    remain positive

    A common mistake job seekers make is negative comments about their previous job, manager or co-workers. Bringing this up during an interview could reflect poorly on you and give the hiring manager a false or negative impression of you.

    • For this reason, no matter your reasons for leaving your last job during an interview, it is essential to remain neutral.
    • If you are asked directly why you have chosen to leave your previous employer, consider citing factors such as a new career path or better training opportunities.

    wrapping up the interview

      handshake - available for a blue, white and yellow background. Please use the version for the background color as indicated in the file name.
      handshake - available for a blue, white and yellow background. Please use the version for the background color as indicated in the file name.

      reiterate why you're perfect for the role

      One of the best ways to wrap up an interview is to be open and upfront about your chances of success depending on your interview stage - either in securing another interview or the job outright.

      • Ask questions such as, "having spoken at length about my experience, do you think my skills match your needs?" You may also want to ask about other applicants - how many other candidates have applied & where do you sit in terms of experience compared to them?

      This may seem up-front, but so long as you phrase it in a non-aggressive manner, this will demonstrate to your potential employer how serious you are about the role and allow you to counter any reservations that the hiring manager may have about you.

      clearly state your interest & ask about the next steps

      At the end of the interview, it should be apparent by the way you answered the questions and your enthusiasm throughout the meeting that you are interested in the role - however, it never hurts to reiterate this to your interviewer.

      Don't go overboard by begging, as this will come across as desperate - state that you are interested in the position and would like to know when the next step will occur.

      after the interview

        stand out from the pack

        A great way to differentiate yourself from other interviewees is to email the hiring manager after the interview.

        • Don't write an essay - just a simple 2 paragraph email should suffice, where you thank the interviewer for their time, express your continued interest in the role, and open further lines of communication should they have other queries or feedback about you.
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