A Candidates Ultimate Guide To Interviewing

11 August 2020 Michelle Alchian

An Candidates Ultimate Guide To Interviewing (2)

​Interviews do not have to be a daunting and anxious experience if you don’t want them to be.  If you change your mindset and you’re as prepared as you possibly can be, you will give yourself the best opportunity to nail the interview and secure the role.

1.The minute you walk through the doors is when your interview starts.  It goes without saying that your presentation should be on-point and you should never, ever be late! My general rule of thumb is no more than 10 minutes early, no later than 5 minutes before your interview start time. If you are running late, always calla head the minute you know.  Don’t wait till after the interview should have started to let someone know.  No excuses, either give yourself ample time to arrive and even better, do a drive by the day before and acquaint yourself with the location so you don’t get lost!

2.Receptionist or decision maker? Always greet the Receptionist or whoever welcomes you when you arrive as the person who could be making the final decision as to whether you get the job or not so make sure you leave a positive first impression! Most importantly, know who you are meeting with so you can ask for the right person, and do some research so you know what they look like just in case they are the first person you meet as you enter and this is especially important if you are meeting off site so you know who to look out for.

3.You will survive without your phone for 45 minutes so before you even enter an office put your phone on flight mode or turn it off.  The time between your arrival and the interview commencing is your time to centre yourself and relax.  There should be no phone in sight.  Don’t leave it on the meeting room table unless it is playing an active role in the interview or scroll through social media while you are waiting for the employer to arrive.  There is nothing more distracting than a phone vibrating mid interview even if it is on silent therefore flight mode is recommended.

 4.Relax… you are not being asked to perform brain surgery. Interviews can be very daunting but if you can try and centre yourself and tweak your mindset about the experience, your ability to be yourself and remain present will be evident in the way you respond to questions and interact with your future employers. 

5.Like a girl scout, always be prepared!  It is mind blowing the number of candidates I have interviewed who were unclear as to what job they were even interviewing for. If you are working with a recruiter and have multiple interviews lined up it is your responsibility to keep a track of which role belongs to which company.  Not knowing shows a lack of commitment and can reflect poorly.  Some employers may quiz you on how much you know about their company so do your research, employers love it when you have taken the time to conduct your own research. 

6.Question time!! An interview is a two-way street, it should never be just viewed as an employers opportunity to assess your suitability for their business, it is also your chance to assess whether this is a company that you want to work for. Hop on google and you will find a plethora of examples of typical interview questions you may be asked as well as questions you can ask. I always recommended being creative and steering away from the cliché and focus on job specific and company related questions. Here are some examples:

  • What do you attribute to the success of the company to date? Are there any plans for the business they would like to share?

  • Depending on who is conducting the interview, ask them how long they have worked for the business and why do they like working there. 

  • Ask them to describe the overall team culture; do they get involved in community initiatives, do they have a social calendar or yearly events to look forward; do they set team targets that everyone has to contribute towards or individual KPI’s? 

  • With the role you are interviewing for, is there any areas within the job description they would like to change or see further development in?

  • If you are replacing someone in the role, what characteristics did they have that made them successful in the role, was there areas they would like to see done differently? If so, what does this look like?

7.Your keys strengths are something you should be able to fire off without hesitation. Think about the role you are interviewing for and tailor your responses to the role as well as your personality.  Whilst it is lovely to be organised and have good attention to detail, anyone can say this so respond in a way that shows you have what it takes to do the job.  Have examples that demonstrate your job specific competencies, abilities, and successes. This will help you if they ask you situational questions.  If you are in sales, you should know your numbers so have your previous success stats ready to share.

 8.Being a perfectionist is not a weakness! This would have to be the number 1 reason candidates have given me over the years.  Unless your perfectionism is to the extreme and prevents you from executing your job, don’t make something up for the sake of having an answer to the question.  What I mean is, if there is actually nothing within in you that will prevent you from performing the role expect the training period whilst you get to understand the role and the company processes, then just say that!  You are not blowing your own trumpet, you are just speaking your truth.

9.The End.  As the interview comes to a close, this is your opportunity to thank those that were involved and let them know that you look forward to hearing back with regards to next steps.  If you are working with a recruiter, the Employer will normally liaise direct with them so call your consultant once you are out of your interview and provide them with your feedback.  If you are offered the job on the spot, congratulations! But no pressure!  You are well within your rights to tactfully request time to consider the offer before making a formal decision.

 It is not uncommon to be asked back for a second interview so be prepared as you may be meeting with higher levels of management and to answer further questions about yourself and your experience.  You may also be asked to complete a psychometric assessment as part of the process.  Make sure this is completed in a timely manner to show your enthusiasm for the position and minimise delays with the decision-making process. If you are working with a recruiter, they will guide you through the job offer stage and negotiate the offer between you and the Employer so leave this up to them.

Taking the time to improve your interview skills will mean you are improving your chances of securing your dream job as well as ensuring that you are making the best and most informed decision for yourself and your career!