Ever wondered what goes through an employer’s mind when you walk into an interview? We’ve extracted a couple of quick and easy tips from our HR expert, Danielle, to gain some insight into how to impress as a prospective employee and earn that coveted green checkmark in her book!
Ok, let’s get started…..
Run us through your top 3 tips overall…
- Walk in 10 minutes early
- Prepare your “stories”
What should you wear/bring?
Nothing turns me off a candidate more than if a candidate turns up to a job interview in denim shorts! Although I have hired a bunch of people who have done just that, dressing in an unprofessional way puts you at a disadvantage from the start and you’ll have to work harder to win the approval of the interviewing panel. If it’s a corporate role, dressing in corporate apparel is a must! Even if you are going for a warehousing job, I’d definitely recommend long pants and a button-up shirt.
In terms of other things to bring, never leave home without a good pen! Depending on the company, you may have to fill out application paperwork when you arrive. A simple gesture of having a pen ready can show that you are organised and proactive. Depending on what role you are applying for, I’d also recommend bringing examples of your past work such as a portfolio. I remember interviewing for a marketing role and one applicant had prepared a physical portfolio to show us and another got out her phone and showed us some things on Instagram as a spur-of-the-moment idea. While the stuff on Instagram was good, the pre-prepared portfolio came across much better!
When should you arrive?
You might be tempted to think that arriving half an hour early might make you look really good! However, the interviewers are probably in the middle of other things and aren’t ready to see you yet. I’d recommend arriving at the place itself nice and early to avoid being late and then waiting in your car or at a nearby café and walking in 10 minutes before the interview time. If something goes wrong and you are going to be late, make sure to call ahead!
How can you ensure nervousness doesn’t impact your interview performance?
Don’t stress! 99% of people are nervous when they go for a job interview. I got the biggest boost in confidence in being interviewed when I started being an interviewer myself. It made me understand that these people weren’t scary and trying to trick or scrutinise me, they just wanted to learn as much information as possible about me to be sure that I’m the right person! It can also break the ice if you tell them ‘’sorry I’m just a bit nervous” and that is usually followed by reassurance by the interviewers and can make you feel more confident going forward.
What is a mistake most people make when they first start going to interviews and how can they avoid it?
The biggest mistake you can make is to give short nondescriptive answers. Remember, as that interviewer we just want to be able to get as much information out of you as possible so we can determine if you’ll fit in. Nothing is more frustrating when you think a candidate could be good for the role, but getting information out of them is like getting blood from a stone. If you find you can be nervous or seize up in interviews, practice practice practice! There are heaps of helpful online resources that can help you prepare and give you an idea of what questions may be asked.
What is something that you think is crucial to having a good interview?
Most interviews these days will follow what’s known as behavioural interviewing. It’s all about predicting future behaviour by learning about a person’s past behaviour. Therefore, the interviewers will most likely be asking you to tell them heaps of ‘stories’ about how you do things in your current job and past job. Think about what you will most likely be asked and think about examples and have all those stories ready in your mind! When I interviewed for my role at Taipan, I asked for a copy of the position description and then thought of an example of a time I had done each of those tasks really well. Being prepared helped me nail that interview!
How do you make a good impression?
Other than dressing properly and walking in 10 minutes early, I would say the other easy thing you can do is make an effort to learn a bit more about the company. It shows us that you’ve really taken an interest in us as a potential future employer. Look through the company’s website and be familiar with what they do, their mission statement and values. It shows extra initiative and gives the company confidence that you want to work for them.
What do you do when you are asked a question you don’t think you can answer?
Again, just remember the interview panel isn’t trying to trick you or be mean. They just want to know as much about you as possible. They will often try and help you out and prompt you. Someone once gave me a tip that you can buy yourself a few seconds extra of thinking time by saying something along the lines of “Hmmm good question”. Just do your best!
Do you have any parting words of wisdom or quotes to give those who are in the interviewing process?
Just relax, prepare, do your research and good luck!