You’ve made it to the interview stage – well done. While a job interview can seem daunting, preparing thoroughly could set you up for success. AMP's recruitment specialists have compiled some tips and tricks that you might find useful.
Before the Interview
- Learn all you can about the position and the business you have applied to. Ask the recruiter or hiring manager for a position description so you have a good understanding of the role. Use LinkedIn to familiarise yourself with the people you might be working with and research online to get an understanding of the culture and values of the business.
- Revise your resume and identify the key responsibilities and experiences you have had in the past that relate to the position. How have you developed the competencies required for this role? What areas do you believe you require more development in? In what ways can you contribute further to the role?
- Think about why you are applying for this role and what you are looking for from your next employer.
- Prepare questions that you might ask during the interview – for example, what can the organisation do for you to satisfy your career goals and aspirations?
- Review your social media profiles. For LinkedIn, ensure your information is kept up-to-date and that you have a professional photograph displayed on your profile. If you use Facebook and/or Instagram, turn your privacy settings on and ensure your profile pictures are appropriate.
- Always dress professionally for an interview and show good grooming habits. Even if it is a ‘casual Friday’, corporate attire is recommended to help ensure you are perceived in the right light. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
- Make sure you know where the interview is and how you are going to get there well in advance. Plan your journey and allow yourself extra time to get there. Never be late for an interview.
During the interview
Many interviewers use competency based or behavioural questions. This method asks candidates to provide examples of situations at work where they have used certain skills, or perform tasks to achieve a desired outcome. In giving these answers, the candidate displays the competencies required in the role. The most effective way to answer these questions is by following the STAR technique:
- Situation: Set the scene of the example you are going to discuss. What was the situation or problem? Who were there key stakeholders?
- Task: In this situation, what task were you required to complete? What were your responsibilities?
- Action: What did you actually do? What were the activities you undertook that led to the desired outcome or result?
- Result: What was the result of the action you took? Did you get a good outcome? What were the challenges? What did you learn?
You will mostly likely be asked to provide 1 – 3 real-life examples to demonstrate one particular competency. In preparation for the interview, review the job description or advertisement and identify the key competencies required. Think about examples of times in your career when you have displayed those competencies. Be descriptive but succinct in your answers and try not to digress. If you do not have a work experience example, think about when you have used these skills in other areas of your life.
Closing the interview
Most of the time, the interviewer(s) will give you an opportunity to ask questions. Use the questions you prepared, or any you may have thought of during the interview. Refrain from asking questions on salary, bonuses, holidays and other benefits during the first interview. Do remember to do your research on your market value in the instance you are asked for your salary expectations. If at the end, you feel you are still interested in the position, tell the interviewer. They value knowing there and then if the candidate is keen to progress. Regardless of how you feel, thank them for their time.
After the interview
If you were referred to the position by a Recruitment Specialist, call the consultant immediately afterwards and let them know how the it went. If you are still interested in being considered for the role let the Recruiter know, so they can advise the hiring manager. If you have applied directly to the position yourself, send the hiring manager or interviewer a follow up email to thank them for their time and tell them that you are looking forward to hearing from them.
By putting in some groundwork ahead of time, you will be giving yourself the best possible chance of a successful interview.