3 tips to ace your next interview
Be curious. Research the company you are applying to
Heard of the saying “failure to plan is planning to fail"? Well turning up to a job interview without doing your research won’t do you any favours.
Having a great understanding of what the company does not only makes you look good, it can also boost your confidence too. Employers are looking for candidates who are a good fit for the company, so doing your homework to understand how your interests and skills match those of the company and not just the role you’re applying for, is a good place to start.
Be creative with your research. Don’t just read the “About us” section on their website. Find out who’s interviewing you, their role at the company and what projects they’re working on that interest you. Having these insights can help you break the ice in interviews and create a conversation that goes beyond the basic question and answer format – show your personality!
Interviews can be stressful but remember you are also interviewing them, so make sure you have a couple of questions prepared at the end. This will show the employer that you are serious about the role.
Joining a great work culture is important too. Check out the company's activity on social media to see what activities you could get involved in.
Use the STAR technique
Competency or behaviour based interview questions can be tough to answer and require some planning, for example “tell me a time when you managed multiple deadlines effectively”.
The best way to prepare for this type of question is to start by looking at the job description and highlight the key skills required for the role. It is likely you will be asked to demonstrate these, so you should have an example ready for each one.
To help structure your answer and avoid mind blanks (it happens to the best of us!) follow the STAR technique below:
- Situation: briefly describe the situation. Where were you? Did it occur at your current workplace?
- Task: explain the task you were given to do. Keep to the facts here.
- Action: describe what steps you made. This is where you mention the skills required to achieve the task.
- Result: describe the outcome. What happened because of your actions and what did you learn? Could you have approached the task differently?
Remember the aim of this question is not only to demonstrate an example of your skills, it also gives you an opportunity to tell the interviewer about your work style, how you solve problems and communicate with others.
Be smart with your weaknesses. Choose wisely
We all dread this part of the interview but there are some things you can do to answer this question well:
- Provide a weakness that isn’t essential to the role.
- Always provide an example and explain how you are addressing it. Being able to understand what you need to work on can boost your productivity at work, and improve your working relationship with your manager. For example, if you find time management difficult, you could say you have a task manager app to help you stick to your to-do list and meet deadlines.
- Don’t say you’re a perfectionist. They’ve heard this before and it is too general. Beware this could create a negative impression.
Good luck! You got this.