So, you’ve made it through to the interview round- congratulations. As daunting as this might be, there are steps you can take to settle your nerves, feel better prepared and walk into the interview with more confidence. SEEK has provided information to help you plan, prepare and ace your next interview.
Examine the position description: If you don’t already have one, make sure you request a copy of the position description so you can research the role before the interview. Sometimes recruiters forget to offer to send you a copy of the position description before the interview, so it is worth asking if there is one available.
“I recommend getting out a highlighter to mark up the main responsibilities, key result areas, most important relationships and the core competencies required,” Leah Lambart, Interview and Career Coach, says. “By having a good understanding of the role and competencies, you can anticipate the types of challenges you may encounter in the position, the key priorities for the role, and therefore, the areas that the interview panel might focus on during the interview.”
Understand what skills you bring to the role: Before your interview, prepare specific examples of when you have previously demonstrated the required competencies, including teamwork, collaboration, relationship-building and analytical skills, and how you used or demonstrated them.
“How well you match the key competencies or selection criteria in the position description is usually a good indicator as to how closely you will meet the job requirements,” Lambart says.
Research the company: Look at the organisation’s website for information, then check out their social media pages for recent news. “Press releases and blog posts will provide you with up-to-date information about the company and an insight into the workplace culture.
“I would also recommend signing up to any newsletters available to get a sense of how the organisation communicates with their clients or customers,” Lambart says. If you know any past or present employees, having informal conversations with them will also give you insights that you can’t get through online research.
Practice your answers: While you can’t predict every question that you’ll be asked during the interview, there are plenty of ways that you can prepare to give yourself the best chance on the day. If you are looking for example questions we have articles available on our website, and SEEK has articles outlining some of the key interview questions.
“Draft your responses and then read them aloud a few times,” Lambart says. Once you’ve got your answers down pat, ask a friend or a family member to run through practice questions and answers with you, so you get used to thinking on your feet. The more you face your nerves now, the easier it can be to keep them at bay on the day.
Write down the questions you want to ask: One of the best ways to show your interest in a role is by asking three or four great questions at the end of an interview. This can help you gain a deeper understanding of the role you’re applying for whilst also demonstrating to the potential employer that you’re enthusiastic about the role and have done your research.
“I would always recommend asking ‘open’ questions rather than ‘closed’ questions to generate some great two-way conversation at the end of the interview,” says Lambart. One example might be: ‘Are you able to tell me a little about the team culture?’
“It’s also acceptable to ask at the end of the interview when you could expect to hear back regarding next steps,” Lambart says. “If you have a timeframe, this allows you to follow up in an appropriate manner without appearing too pushy.”
Plan your travel beforehand: If there’s one thing that could really hold you back from making a great impression, it’s being late. Make sure you know where you are going, anticipate anything that could make you late such as traffic and parking, and aim to arrive early.
Lambart says “If your interview is a virtual interview, then make sure that you have tested the technology with a friend. Ensure that you have good lighting on your face, a professional background and that you are not distracted by what’s going on in your household.”
Decide on what to wear: While you’ve been chosen for an interview based on your skills, characteristics and experience, presenting yourself well is also important.
“Do some research about the dress code prior to an interview, either by asking someone who works at the organisation or clarifying with the recruiter,” Lambart says. “If you are still unsure, then err on the conservative side rather than under-dressing.”
Manage interview nerves: It’s normal to feel anxious or jittery on the big day, and there are ways to manage your nerves. “My best tip is to remember to breathe,” Lambart says. “When nerves get the better of people, we often breathe only from the top part of our lungs. We take shallow breaths and limit the oxygen going to the brain.”
It can also be helpful to reframe your thoughts. “Instead of thinking about the interview as an interrogation, think of it as a conversation with other adults who are interested in what you have to say,” she says. “It can help to think of the interview as an opportunity for you to assess them – not the other way around. This helps you regain a feeling of control.”
Following up: Once your interview is over, it can be worth sending a brief email to follow up. This shows enthusiasm and puts the ball in the employer’s court to get back to you.
“I always suggest sending a polite email a few hours after the interview thanking the interviewers for their time and reinforcing your interest in the role,” Lambart says.
There’s no doubt that interviews can be nerve-racking. But the right planning and preparation can help you boost your confidence and greatly enhance your ability to take that next step in your career. If you require further assistance with your interview preparation, we offer an interview coaching service.