My best friend is going for an interview for a job he desperately wants. I really want him to get it because from what I can see from the job description he is their man and would be an excellent fit.
I’m no help. Because I am my own business I don’t interview people nor do I go to interviews. I just work with and for grouse people.
So I started asking around for their best interview tips. I was also delighted by how happy and generous people were with their tips. And fascinated by what they were.
Here they are…
Heidi: Lean forward, look interested, nod a lot.
Sue: Remember you are being scrutinized the minute you walk in the door. Don’t ignore the receptionist, his/her feedback may be requested. Dress to impress and so you’d fit in. Talk yourself up! No one is perfect but you take responsibility for your mistakes and give 110% to your employer.
Mick: Ask lots of questions but ask as little as possible about conditions and pay take the “just give me a chance and let me show you what I can do” route. and don’t be too prescriptive. The most powerful and compelling thing you can say in an interview is ‘I don’t know’. It shows you are a person of integrity, humility and honesty.
Victoria: Bear in mind that by the time you get an interview (especially if you’ve already been through a recruiter), the company REALLY wants you to be the right one.
Alistair: Some employers like the “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” question. Say things about your stickability and vision and shit like that.
Stephen: Remember S.T.A.R. If the interviewer asks a question requesting the interviewee to “describe a time when…” (or something like that), then structure your answer thus: S ituation – “When I was in charge of a clothing store, I observed there was too much winter stock clogging up our shelves”. T ask “My task was to reduce that so we could fund summer’s purchases and free up display space” A ction – “I ran a campaign with travel agent two doors down – 40% for everyone who booked a trip to the northern hemisphere to get ready for their trip”, and R esult. “We cleared the stock in three weeks, and ordered the summer range on schedule.”
Anna: Go in believing you’re a shoe in. You’re perfect for it, you’ve already got it, you’re good at it, they need you. Be confident to the max without being arrogant or ignorant.
Chrys: Try to find out something about the company – read the annual report if possible – and frame some questions you can ask about their operations. Remember, they want to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
Be professional – arrive on time, present conservatively, avoid nervous tics (tapping pen etc), firm handshake (no dead fish please!) and try to use the interviewer’s name (but don’t overuse it). Don’t feel you have to answer a question immediately – it might seem like a long silence, but take some time to think about how to answer a difficult question. And never get lured into speaking negatively about yourself or your previous employer. If they ask, “What are your weaknesses?” say something like, “I love working so I do struggle a bit with the work/life balance” or “I tend towards perfectionism, so I’ve had to learn when that’s appropriate and when it’s more important to do an adequate job when the time-frame is the most important factor.
Coffey: Imagine yourself in the job before you phrase your answers, research to avoid faux pas and use the STAR model to respond.
Janet: Read their advert, take note of the buzzwords they use and use them to describe yourself. It sounds too obvious but it works. If they want a “self-starter” say you are. Make it easy for them to recognize that you have the qualities they need. Don’t be subtle.
Michelle: Don’t fold your hands in front of you it makes them think you’re a close person and you’re not the interested in the job, keep you hands open.
I also do a quick 5 minute meditate session before going in. helps clear the mind and get ready for those quickfire questions you will get.
Suzanne: Research the company’s culture and values. Make sure your behavioral responses fit with their values. Use their company vision (they’re long term goal) when asking them questions (how do they see this role in helping them achieve their vision of…). Shows research and cultural fit – and never forget culture is 90% at interviews- your CV got you through the skills/experience/education hurdle.
Gen: Make them laugh. In fact make them like you. All things being equal (similar qualifications, experience etc.) the person who charms the panel gets the job.’
Tom: I saw a briefing note on how to answer difficult questions from a job agency and it had this one: What would you say are your weaknesses? [Or variation] So the strategy with the answer is like this: identify something you didn’t do so well [in the past] like say painting landscapes. Say how you addressed this by [insert up skilling process you undertook] in a specific and practical way [went painting in the Dandenongs every Sunday arvo for the next 3 months]. So you turn a weakness into a strength and demonstrate you are a champ at the same time. It’s not really what they asked but it is the answer you choose to give.
Lou: Be someone they would like to work alongside. You can unleash your inner nutter once you have it in the bag.
Michelle: Nothing beats enthusiasm.
Caity: I always treat it like *i* am interviewing *them*, which I am. How do I know if want the job until I find out what they are like and what’s required of me? I don’t want to end up in a job I hate, and they don’t want to employ someone who is going to hate their job, so really – it’s up to me to interview them more than the other way round. And connect with them. If you’ve decided you do want the job, then treat them like the besties that they are going to be very soon.
Jenny: Brainstorm every question you would ask a candidate going for this job and have a mock interviewwith a friend/partner/dog.
Every time they ask a question take a moment to really think about what they’re asking. This gives you time to decide how you’ll answer and shows you’re a person who is thoughtful and considerate.
Dress for the job you deserve.
And this from Raie was my favorite;
You have to go in radiating ‘I really want this job but I don’t need it.
Go get ‘em tiger!