Crack the Interview Code: Essential Tips for Job Interview Success
The interview is one of the most important stages of your job search.
It is here that you can show a potential employer why you are the best person for the job –demonstrating that you have the right skills, background and ability for the role, as well as the passion and desire to succeed.
Many find the interview process daunting, but with proper planning it doesn’t need to be.
Here are our seven top tips to help you crack the interview code.
1) Do your research
It sounds simple, but make sure you have carefully read the job description, person specification and any other information you have been sent by the organisation interviewing you.
This way you will go in knowing exactly what skills and experience the employer is looking for and how you match what they need.
It’s also important to spend time looking at the organisation’s website and social media; going beyond the homepage and learning about the mission, history and culture of your potential future employer.
Finally, look over your own CV or application form to think about what the interviewer may ask you about what you’ve written and your past experiences.
2) Anticipate the common questions
There are questions that will arise in every job interview, so make sure you are prepared for them with strong answers to make you stand out. The questions you are asked will include variations of:
Tell us about yourself: This is your chance to introduce yourself, give a brief career history and explain why you are perfect for this job. Keep your answers to professional information, rather than talking about your personal life.
Why do you want to work for us: This is where your research will really pay off. If you can show that you can complement the mission, goals and values of the organisation, it will get the interview off to a great start.
Why did you leave your last job: Employers will want to know why you are moving on. No matter what circumstances you left/are leaving under, always be positive about your previous employers. Focus instead on why this new role is the perfect fit for you and your career goals. If you’ve been out of work for a while, talk about the positive things you’ve been doing – for example networking, volunteering and/or retraining.
Can you tell us about a time you…: You may be asked a series of ‘behavioural’ questions which require examples of things such as dealing with difficult situations, being part of a team, overcoming conflict and working under pressure. Have some examples prepared that outline the situation you had to deal with, the actions you took and the positive results.
3) Have your own questions ready
Almost every interview will end with the employer asking if there’s anything you’d like to know.
As well as a genuine opportunity for you to find out more about the job, it’s also the chance to impress the interviewer(s) by demonstrating your interest in the organisation.
Asking a question which has potential to lead onto a wider discussion is also a real positive.
Finally, make sure to stay away from any questions about salary or terms and conditions, this can all be addressed if and when you are offered the job.
For further tips, and some example questions, please click here.
4) Market your soft skills
An underappreciated aspect of the job interview is that an employer is looking for someone who they feel they can work well with, not just the person who ticks the most boxes with their CV.
As our Work Avenue Head of Employment Yael Shainfeld advises: “Your soft skills, such as communication, inter-personal skills, flexibility and motivation, are big factors in the selection process.
“An employer looks beyond who is technically qualified for the job to who the person actually is, how easy they will be to work with and the impression the candidate will make to colleagues and customers/clients.”
5) Understand the interview style
While most interviews will be just you, some larger organisations may carry out group interviews or assessments with a number of candidates. These require a different approach, as do interviews that are held online rather than in person.
Yael explains: “An in-person interview is about building rapport using effective verbal and non-verbal communication, whereas in a group interview it is important to strike the right balance between standing out from the crowd and dominating the group.
“Online interviews require a clear background and good internet. You will need to work harder to build a rapport, so use facial expressions and tone of voice effectively.”
6) It’s about more than what you say
Body language and non-verbal communication are hugely important. Professor Albert Mehrabian’s communication model states that three elements account for our perception of a person – words (7%), tone of voice (38%) and body language (55%).
Whether consciously or not, your interviewer will assess you on not only what you say, but how you convey this information in a non-verbal manner.
Open body language – such as eye contact, smiling and nodding your head – as well as a confident tone and firm handshake all correlate significantly with interview success.
7) Come and see us
At Work Avenue, we help our clients prepare for interview through workshops and one-to-one interview preparation sessions with our experienced employment advisers.
Our services are free and have helped thousands of people land their dream roles. So please get in touch today.