There’s no doubt that the interview is the pinnacle of the job application process – for both the interviewee and interviewers.
It’s often the first (and perhaps the last) opportunity that the candidate, recruiter and potential employer will have to meet. Anyone who has experienced a job interview, will know it to be a highly pressurized experience, mostly because it’s packed with those crucial those ‘make or break’ moments.
Over my years as a recruiter, I’ve come to know the job application process – from all angles. I’ve seen things go right and I’ve seen them go horribly wrong. So I’d like to share a few notes from my own personal experience, that I believe to have helped me stand out in the past – and earn the opportunities that shaped my career.
INTERVIEW TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR YOUR NEXT JOB INTERVIEW
- Be prepared
- Arrive Ahead of Time
- Be Respectful
- Keep it Short & Sweet
- Send a Thank You Email
1. BE PREPARED
If it’s worth it, you have to work at it! Good things do come to those who put the work in and show their commitment at every opportunity. Today’s job market is tougher than ever and if there is a job you know you’d be perfect for… then putting in the extra effort can make all the difference.
Being prepared, includes: Preparing a professional portfolio of evidence with examples of work done, achievements, copies of past performance reviews, colleague feedback, LinkedIn recommendations from previous managers etc… Conducting research about the company, the job, the interviewers as well as some questions you can expect to be asked and a set of your own questions. This is the type of preparation that will show commitment and determination – no matter what job you are applying for.
A LIST OF COMPONENTS TO PREPARE BEFORE AN INTERVIEW
- Portfolio of evidence, including documents such as: copies of past performance reviews, colleague feedback, Linkedin recommendations and proof of achievements / awards
- Company research
- Job research
- Interviewer research
- Expected questions
- Proposed questions
2. ARRIVE AHEAD OF TIME
Arriving at least 15 – 30 minutes ahead of your interview time is a must. Particularly during the new normal we are living in. You need to build in enough time for queuing, screening, signing into the building and a quick moment to freshen up and clear your head – before taking a seat in the waiting area. You will also need to familiarise yourself with the location / route to avoid getting lost on the day.
3. BE RESPECTFUL
Every greeting is an opportunity to showcase mutual respect for others. When you greet someone, you acknowledge their presence and showcase yourself in a favourable way to others. Although, that shouldn’t be the only reason for greeting but rather a general way of conducting yourself.
Greeting key people such as security, reception and cleaners as I entered the building, (during one of my past job interview experiences) became a significant detail further on down the line. I remember a particular maintenance gentleman that I had established rapport with when I went to an interview. He literally dropped his toolbox and ran towards me on the day I started my new job. It was such a beautiful feeling to feel so welcomed. It also turned out that he was a well-respected, long-serving employee – who contributed on some of the forums I would later get involved in. Imagine how awkward it would have been, if I had arrived with a ‘self-important’, ‘know it all’ attitude for my interview?
‘‘Every greeting is an opportunity to showcase mutual respect for others.’’
4. KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET
Being brief and to the point when answering questions, demonstrates to your interviewers that you are well-prepared and know how to adequately handle yourself in a professional environment. In my past experiences, I did this by reviewing the job advert / profile, then pre-empting some potential behavioural questions – in line with the skills listed on the advert. For example: ‘Describe how you have overcome an experience with a difficult person’ or ‘Walk me though a time when you were required to make use of your time management skills…’ I would then try recalling situations from my previous experiences or varsity project work, where I encountered some of those specific challenges – to help me prepare. I would practice answering some of the tougher ones beforehand. Then in answering, I would describe the situation, the actions I took and the result or outcome. I did this even when some recruiters did not ask for examples. The point was that I was mentally prepared and ready for the possibility.
5. SEND A THANK YOU EMAIL
Sending a simple ‘Thank You’ Email is an easy and courteous way of ending off the job application process and should be done regardless of how the interview went.
A few words to close the experience on a good note, will do the trick. Sending such an email is actually how I landed my HR internship at a multinational manufacturing company – but that’s another story for another day! The point is that my efforts were well-received and yours can be too!
And those are your 5 interview tips and tricks for this week dear candidates. We’d love to hear your thoughts and queries, so please feel free to get in touch with us should you have any.
All the best with your next interview!