The more knowledgeable you are about an opportunity prior to an interview, the better you can share with the hiring manager the details that make you the perfect fit. This starts with taking the time to research the company, the hiring manager and the position itself. Know what makes the company tick, their values, goals, their culture and even their structure. You can do this using the annual report, or better yet, reach out if you know someone who works there already. Sometimes a job ad might not tell you what you need to know about the position, so prior to the interview, ask if you can see a job profile of the position or even an overview of the expected competencies. This can help you determine the scenarios or key points you want to share in the interview.
2. Review common interview questions and prepare responses
A little secret is that there a number of the same questions asked in almost every interview. In fact, you can find multiple sources on the web that can tell you what these expected interview questions are. Take the time to find those that would be most applicable for your position and have responses ready. Don’t hesitate to document those responses on paper and take it with you to the interview. If you get stuck on a question, take the time to reference your sheet. The hiring manager will not have a problem if you take the time to look up the response that best reflects you and how you fit into the role.
3. Dress for Success
Even when you are interviewing at a workplace where dress is casual, the interview outfit needs to be professional. This is your first impression and it’s important that you reflect that you mean business. No one will judge you if you’re over dressed, but there’s a good chance they will take not if you are under dressed.
4. Arrive early
Arriving late for an interview can end your opportunity before it begins. Be there 10-15 minutes early. You may have to sit and wait for a few minutes, but it’s worth it.
5. Be human
An interview is part of an important process, but that doesn’t mean it has to be cold. It’s important that you convey the type of person these people want in their space and their culture moving forward. So be upbeat, confident and authentic. This means it’s okay to smile, a personable when appropriate and to certainly be yourself. It’s not about trying to fool the organization into hiring you. It’s to show them your best self and a very real way.
7. Be a S.T.A.R.
When asked behavioural questions and providing examples from your past work history, think of the acronym STAR. Start with the Scenario to set up your example. Talk about the Tasks or Actions that you took to address or take on the scenario. And finally, let them know the Results – what outcome were you able to affect that had a positive change or impact.
8. Don’t just answer questions – ask them as well
It’s always a good idea to ask questions when given the opportunity in an interview. It shows that the position and organization is important enough that you’ve given a lot of thought or consideration to find more information. Ask about the culture or the organization, what the interviewers like best about working there or what they feel is the biggest challenge the organization faces. It can also give you insight into the fact whether the organization is a good fit for you too.
10. Be prepared when they ask you about your weaknesses
You’re going to be asked this question – so be ready. Be authentic and don’t provide a self-serving response that tries to make it look like a strength (“I work too hard.”)
Here’s a video to provide some nice tips.
11. Send an email thanking the interviewer
To cap off the fact that the opportunity is important to you, demonstrate that you are appreciative of their time and consideration by sending a quick thank-you email to the interviewer. This tip isn’t just to improve your chances of becoming the final candidate, it’s also just common courtesy.