How can I ace a job interview?

July 3, 2011 | Topics: , , , | READ 0 COMMENTS & JOIN THE DISCUSSION

An interview can be terrifying, particularly when you have not done it before or for a long time. The good news is however, that with good preparation and some honest self-reflection you can improve your interview skills.

1. Make a good first impression Research suggests that the first 30 seconds of a job interview – the handshake and the first hello – can be all it takes for some employers to make up their minds. So think about what you’d want to see as an interviewer and become the ideal candidate. If you’re not sure how to dress, check out how formal the company culture is by reviewing their website, Facebook page or Twitter feed.

2. Take advantage of time If you are offered a choice of interview times, go for the latest time slot possible. Research suggests that interviewers look more favourably on candidates who come later. Rather than frantically reading your notes until you go into the interview, do your research earlier in the day and indulge in something active to take your mind off the impending interview.

3. Ask what you can do Be absolutely clear about what you can do for the company you want to work for. Your focus should be on “this is how I can help you” rather than “what can you do for me?” Know how your values match those of the company and show that you understand the company.

4. Prepare for behavioural questioning Asking a candidate how they have behaved in specific situations is a popular interview technique. It is a good idea to write down examples of where you have performed really well and what skills that demonstrates. Common questions revolve around team work, dealing with difficult customers, time management, creativity – so think about situations, actions and outcomes (SAO acronym) to describe how you behave in these situations.

5. Beware of getting too personal Even though many companies prefer an informal approach, this doesn’t mean you can relax in your interview. For example, “Tell me about yourself” is a fairly standard question, but is not an opportunity to talk about your personal life. Keep your answer focused on areas relevant to your job. “What are your weaknesses” is not the time for a joke. Choose something that doesn’t relate to the job you’re applying for, for example “I’m not keen on public speaking, which is why I prefer to deal with customers face to face, as I would in this role”.

6. Stand out We all want to stand out, but for the right reasons. Be aware of anything in your resume which could be a potential problem (for example, being out of the work force for a period of time) and think about how this can become a unique selling point. If you have taken time out of the work force to raise your children, explain why this makes you a solid, grounded candidate who had time to find out what you really want. If you’re new to the industry, explain that gives you the benefit of a completely different approach, which may be of benefit to them.

7. Imagine you have been hired Take a different perspective on the interview, and imagine you’ve already been hired. How does that you make you feel? You are probably feeling relaxed with a smile on your face. Now with this confident attitude, think about why you were hired. What was it about you that they wanted? From this perspective think about what you want to know from them. What are they looking for? What are their biggest challenges? What’s it like to work for them? How much will your salary be? Doesn’t that make you feel more in control? Just the perspective you want for an interview!

Adapted from article by Nina Grunfeld founder of (

Rosie Coppin, the Energizer Coach, helps people who want to make changes in their life – whatever they may be. Ready to take control of your life but not sure how to start? Contact Positive Goals & Solutions today for an exploration of what’s possible for you. Mobile 0414 511 455

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