After 20 years in the recruitment industry, I have interviewed thousands of people. Some of my suggestions are listed below. Whether you are interviewing in person or via Video / Skype these tips are relevant.
Find out about the company, brand, venue and the number of employees. Any newsworthy items you can discuss with the interviewer?
Have some questions of your own prepared that you can ask the interviewer.
Identify how your background and experience fits with the opportunity on offer.
Know your own strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments. Be prepared to discuss these in detail. Support your statements about yourself with specific examples when appropriate.
Arrive 15 minutes early, never ever be late for an interview – if you are late it shows you are disorganised and perhaps not as interested in the interview as you should be. Make sure you know how to get to the interview and where to park (if appropriate). Do your research!
Ask who will be interviewing you and what you should prepare / bring with you to the interview.
Dress appropriately for the company culture and position you are interviewing for – you can always ask your contact what they require – if this isn’t possible always err on the side of formal business wear.
Don’t smoke before an interview.
Interview Structure in Australia
Some job interviews will begin with the interviewer describing the position and the organization to you. This will give you a chance to settle and get an insight into your interviewer and the organization.
Others will begin by asking you about your background and experience. This means you will have to make an immediate impact and have the chance to sell yourself and your skills early in the process.
Be prepared for both situations.
Make sure that the language you use is respectful and polite at all times.
Prepare for the interview and ask yourself some of the potential questions you may be asked on the day.
Be enthusiastic and make a positive first impression. The first five minutes are really important! Be friendly and polite to other staff you meet along the way (in the lift, at reception).
Make sure there is two-way conversation but don’t interrupt your interviewer. Avoid giving too much information and unnecessary detail.
Remember there is a fine line between being confident and being arrogant.
Be positive about your current / previous positions, companies, employers and ex colleagues. Making negative comments about previous employers comes across badly and implies that you don’t take responsibility for your actions.
Make sure you know your own resume. This might sound ridiculous but not knowing the dates you were employed does not leave a good impression. Make notes if you need to – ask the interviewer if it is OK if you refer to your notes.
Smile! Try not to slouch or fold your arms – keep still and look your interviewer in the eye. Remain alert and attentive throughout the interview.
Don’t over share personal details. Keep the conversation relevant and professional.
If it’s not clear at the end of the interview it is fine to ask the interviewer what the next steps in the process will be – this demonstrates your interest in the role.
Non-native-English speakers may feel nervous about speaking English during a job interview. Before the interview, practice with native English speakers, preferably Australians, and ask for feedback. The more you practice your answers aloud in English, the easier it will become. Focus on speaking clearly and concisely.
Technology (for Skype / Video Interviews)
Check your technology, background noise and feedback levels. Ensure the area surrounding you is neat and tidy and free of distractions (dogs, children etc).
Speak clearly and remember there is often a time lag between the image and audio. We recommend that if you are using a mobile device you sit in one spot – walking around can make your image jumpy and distorted. A stationary device is preferable.
Dress appropriately even if you are using Skype / Video.
Try not to sound rehearsed but practice your answers to the following areas of questioning:
General Background – summarise your work history and general background information.
Qualifications – education and employment related training should be mentioned here.
Experience – link your background and experience to the role you are being interviewed for, the industry and the organization.
Reason for applying – what did you find appealing about the job ad? How does it link to your background, experience and future objectives?
Career objectives – be ready to discuss your longer term plans – show that you have thought about your career and are taking steps towards realizing your career goals.
“Do you have any questions for us?” – this is your opportunity to ask some questions of your own. You could ask why the role is available, what training is available, what the companies plans are for the future etc
Practice makes perfect - an interview may be a formal situation or an informal meeting but it is always a social interaction. Stay professional even if the situation is very informal. Being professional and relaxed at interview will generally show more of your personality. Interview experience will refine your technique and each one will be easier than the one before.
If you are not successful in getting the job you can always ask for feedback, which can assist you in your next interview.