5 Steps to perfect job interviews
Job hunting is a stressful time. But these five tips will help you on your way to securing your dream role.
Margot Prince, UK Community Manager at leading online learning platform Quizlet offers hints, tips and insight on getting back into the interviewing mindset when applying for jobs and how to boss the interview.
Regardless of whether someone has been furloughed, made redundant or is seeing this time as the perfect opportunity to change career, after months of lockdown, getting back into the interview mindset and looking for a new role can be tough.
Research from job site, Totaljobs, suggests that 19 per cent of employers will make up their mind about a candidate within the first minute of meeting them. In a job market as competitive as this, it is important to impress and make a lasting impression. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources to help prep you, offering some essential advice and insight on the do’s and don’ts, as well as some essential interview prep.
We dug through Quizlet’s thousands of job-focused study sets to find the best tips and resources to get you interview-ready and standing out from the crowd.
1. Do your research
Prior to an interview, make the most of the time you have by doing your background research. Read up on the company, look into how the company’s teams are split and gain a better understanding of the role you are applying for. Looking through the company’s website should help you find this information.
It may sound trivial, but most of the top recruitment sites cite initial research as a critical part of the interview process. By learning everything you can about the business, you can slip in essential information about the company during the interview, impressing potential future employers.
"Top recruitment sites cite initial research as a critical part of the interview process"
Also, make notes on the most important job information, such as CEO and founder names, job requirements and company goals and values, breaking them down into easy to digest and memorable chunks. One way to do this can be on digital flashcard apps, such as Quizlet. Review these flashcards for a few minutes each day until you’ve got it memorised!
2. Look the part
Though initial meetings will likely have been conducted online, getting through to the all-important final stage interview may mean heading into the office to meet your future employer.
Smart-casual has fast become the go-to dress code for most millennial companies, but better to be overdressed than under. A smart blouse or shirt, a nice jacket, and clean shoes all present an air of professionality without looking like you are trying too hard.
Keeping hair pulled back off of your face, and perfume to a minimum will also help you to reduce any potential distractions from your facial expressions or answers.
3. Body language
UCLA research suggests that body language accounts for as much as 55 per cent of communication when conveying a point, and so non-verbal communication can be as important in an interview as what you say. Before you even speak, appearance and body language is the very first impression that you will make on your potential employers.
Dressing for the job you want and moving with confidence is key to making the all-important first impression. Though we may not necessarily be able to offer a firm handshake at the moment, do greet everyone in the room individually, make eye contact, and make them remember you.
You know the role, you want the job, so don’t let nerves get the better of you. You are going to be asked to answer questions and to present scenarios that may not feel natural to you, but you need to be able to place yourself in them and give examples of situations that you have faced within your previous work experience; the solutions you provide to overcome them will show potential employers you innovation skillset, flexibility, and willingness to work within a team or alone.
Roleplay and practice answering these questions to perfect your responses. It will help to build confidence when answering and focus on the outcome that the interviewers are looking for. Consider quizzing yourself on some common interview questions, and thinking of answers on the spot; this will help to keep answers succinct and to the point. If you have an idea of what you’re going to say before the interview, you’ll go in feeling more confident and this will shine through.
5. The qualities of a new employee
Employers are often seeking specific qualities in a new employee, no matter what the role is. Conveying these qualities is the real challenge of any interview. In addition to your suitability for the role, you need to display cooperation, professionalism, the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, demonstrate the ability to communicate with ease, and give high energy.
Outlining each of these qualities in the answers you give and through the examples that you offer will tell potential employers that you are the right person for that role. Carefully examine the job specification, too. These will often give you clues as to the company culture, and what the employers are looking for in a new employee. It is beneficial to show that you share these values as employers are looking for someone who will mesh well with their existing staff.
Getting back on the horse and even starting the job application process can be daunting, especially if you have been in the same role for a while, but being well prepared and having a clear mindset of what you want and how you are going to achieve it will give you clarity and confidence when progressing through the process. Digital tools, organisation and determination are a few of the essentials to guarantee you get a foot in the door and boss that interview.
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