It’s an extraordinarily competitive job market out there.
Unemployment in Australia is reported to be up by 28.8% in comparison to the same month last year. In fact, almost 1 million Australians lost their jobs after social-distancing measures were introduced. Many organisations are also facing internal restructures, causing widespread redundancies and people are being forced to reapply internally for their positions.
Simply put, today there are fewer jobs and more people looking.
It’s therefore more important than ever to be able to make the right impression at a job interview. We’re going to provide some interview tips that will help not only when preparing for an interview, they’ll also help you to feel more confident in the room itself so you can provide memorable and insightful answers.
If you’re an ambitious professional, looking to rise through the ranks and beat off the competition, but struggle at times to get the right message across, keep reading, as these job interview tips are for you.
How to prepare for an interview
The most important part of the interview process is preparation.
Of course, you’re unlikely to be able to predict exactly what you’re going to be asked, but you can prepare answers to the following common sense questions that you can dip into and adapt accordingly on the day.
- Why do you want to work here?
- What specific skills and experience can you bring to the table that will benefit the business/benefit you in this role?
- What drives you?
If you know the team/division you would be working with in the new position, research them in advance. What are their pain points? What are their methods? Try to build a picture of who they are in your mind and how you can best support their needs. Make sure the team (and the wider organisation) are at the center of your interview.
We advocate what we call a CPD framework for effective planning. Plan the overarching Concept (why you want the job), key Principles (why you’re perfect for the job) and supporting Details (examples and evidence) in advance, so there’s no risk of going off-topic.
Finally, even if you don’t get nervous about job interviews, don’t underestimate the value of practice. A practice interview with a friend or family member is always a good idea, as it means you’re less likely to be surprised and anxious on the day. Even better, use virtual reality as your practice environment to get as close to the real-life scenario as you can.
3 interview tips that will make you memorable for all the right reasons
1. Don’t be afraid to reveal something personal
A lot of interviewees believe they have to be all about the work in a job interview. While that is, of course, the ultimate focus of the meeting, you are a person with personal experiences that have shaped you as well as professional ones. Sharing a personal memory, either from your personal or professional life, can be a powerful storytelling technique to illustrate your point in a way that’s completely unique to you.
Adding a personal touch is an effective way for you to stand out in a crowded job market. Use a story to frame your response to help build a connection with your interviewer and give a better sense of who you are. This will ensure you are more memorable than your peers who stuck strictly to business-talk.
2. Paint a picture of the future with a story
Let’s think about that classic interview question: where do you want to be in five years time?
Questions like these are an opportunity for you to share your vision of the future. This is a moment for you to inspire and excite. Compare these two responses; which is more engaging for the listener?
- In five years time, I’d like to be managing a large team and actively participating in leadership discussions.
- Let’s look ahead. It’s five years from now. I’m managing the entire region. I’ve been given this extra responsibility as a result of dramatically increasing team productivity. I did this by […] My seniors and colleagues have come to rely on my strategic thinking and presentation skills. My passion is to […]
3. Tell a story about your past that got results
We all know how powerful case studies can be as a persuasive technique when it comes to business sales and marketing, but the same is also true of selling yourself in a job interview. Every interview candidate says what they can do, but only the most persuasive candidates detail how they have done it.
Illustrate your skills with short stories, or case studies, organised in the following way:
- What was the challenge?
- What was the solution/what did you do?
- What was the result?
These 3 interview tips all have storytelling at their heart, which is what makes them so ‘sticky’ or memorable to the hiring panel. Stories planned and told well will make you stand out from your competition when it matters most.
4. Do your research on the organisation
Taking the time to understand the organisation you’re applying to work for in advance is an absolute must. Not only will it help you in the interview if you’re asked about what they do, it will also give you a better understanding of whether you’re a good fit for them as well.
Coming prepared also means you can engage in a deeper conversation with the interviewer about the organisation’s history, future and current challenges. This immediately positions you as someone who is deeply engaged and switched on to what matters.
Here are some important places to start when researching:
- Company website
- Social media channels
- Annual Report (if available)
- Key competitors and industry trends
- Any recent news articles about the organisation
This deeper knowledge will elevate the quality of the conversation you have and prepare you for tricky questions in advance.
Want some more support to ace your interview? We’ve devised a BRAND NEW FREE training video on preparing effectively for virtual interviews. 100% relevant to the current job market, this is for any readers wanting to learn more and set their careers on the fast track up the ladder. Download our free training video now.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.