The more preparation you do before your interview, the more confident and relaxed you will feel at the interview. Here are some key steps to take before, during and after the interview to enhance your chances of being successful.
Before the interview
Review the skills and knowledge requirements listed in the position description and think of relevant examples that you could use to demonstrate how you have developed those skills.
Practice responding to interview questions. You can do this by yourself, perhaps in front of a mirror, or with a friend. In the section below we outline some common interview questions, these are a good place to start, but you can also try to think of other questions, particularly technical questions related to your occupational area.
Read as much information as you can about the company, including annual reports and news articles. Write down any questions that you have about what you have read, and ask these at the interview.
Use LinkedIn to view the profiles of the people who will be on the interview panel. This may help you understand their backgrounds and identify anything you have in common with them
Watch a short video about preparing for an interview.
At the interview
Here are some tips to help you to plan ahead and maximise your chances of success.
Plan to arrive at the interview location ten minutes before your interview – then find a quiet spot to collect your thoughts for five minutes before you ‘check in’. This is a good time to turn off your mobile phone.
When you arrive at the office, approach the reception desk and introduce yourself and the reason you are there. For example “Good morning, my name is… and I am here for the 10.30am interview with….” Reception staff are often asked their opinion of how candidates behaved in the waiting area, so make sure you are always polite and courteous to everyone you encounter when on the premises.
Meeting the interviewers
When you are introduced to the interviewers, smile, greet them by name, look them in the eye and firmly shake hands. This is not only good manners but it conveys confidence. In Australia, it is expected that you will shake hands with men and women in a business situation.
Once you have been shown to your chair, make sure you sit upright, perhaps even leaning very slightly forward to show that you are interested and appear enthusiastic.
During the interview
Smile! Part of the reason the employer wants to meet you is to find out whether you will fit into the work group. A smile tends to indicate someone who is friendly and warm.
Maintain eye contact. This shows confidence and sincerity. If you are being interviewed by more than one person, direct most of your answer to the person who asked the question but occasionally include the rest of the panel by glancing in their direction.
If you don’t understand a question, seek clarification. You can do this by simply asking the interviewer to repeat the question or paraphrasing it back to them to ensure you have understood it correctly
Ask the questions you have prepared beforehand – and any others that have come to mind during the course of the interview.
End the interview on a positive note by smiling, thanking the interviewer for their time and shaking their hand.
After the interview
Take time to reflect on your performance.
- What did you do well?
- What questions did you find hard?
- How could you improve in the future?
If you were unsuccessful, ask if you can have some feedback. Some organisations will be unwilling to do this but they will respect your right to ask and the initiative that you have shown in doing so. Those who are willing to give you feedback will usually do it in a constructive way so that you learn from the experience.
If you are interested in learning how to use your posture or body language to demonstrate confidence, take a look at this TED talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy.