What employers want: 9 ways to nail a job interview
It’s a common scenario: you toil over a job application, your hard work pays off and you land an interview – but afterwards you feel like you somehow missed the mark.
But you were prepared! You met most of the role requirements! So what went wrong in the interview?
Here’s the thing: when they meet you, employers are actually observing specific aspects of your behaviour and answers – things you may not have thought of. While your skills, experience and education are highly important, in your interview you’re being sized up in a slightly different way.
With this in mind, here are nine tips to remember ahead of your next interview…
Understand the company
Your potential employer wants to see that you’re interested in working with them, specifically. Show that you’ve done your research on what they do, and that you’re keen to be part of their business.
It’s easy to jump into answering a question and then lose direction halfway through your answer. Half the battle lies in really listening to the question. Pause and absorb what you’re being asked and give yourself a moment to formulate the main points of your answer. If you still lose direction, or you can’t remember the second part of a two-pronged question, stop and ask, “Does that answer your question?” or “What was the second part of that question?”. This gives the interviewer the chance to prompt or steer you if necessary.
It’s important to come across as someone they’ll like working with, so present yourself with confidence and focus on building a rapport with your interviewer.
Know your strengths
Ahead of the interview, determine which of your strengths will be beneficial for this role. If you know what you’re best at you can weave this into your answers.
Show your soft skills
While it’s straightforward to convey hard skills (your knowledge and experience) on paper, an interview is often the best way for an employer to measure soft skills, such as flexibility, resourcefulness, conflict management and problem solving. Be aware of this and choose examples that showcase your best personal attributes.
Be ambitious and open to learning
Organisations want to know that you’re passionate and dedicated, that you want to improve and that you’re open to learning new things, because this shows you’ll be a good long-term investment for them.
Remember your body language
Sit up straight and don’t fidget! Maintaining eye contact also shows the interviewer that you’re focused, confident and interested in the job. Your choice of clothes can come into play here too – make sure you’re dressed appropriately (check the company’s dress code with your recruiter if necessary) and that you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing.
Ask your own questions
Coming prepared with some questions shows that you’ve thought about the interview and that you are genuinely interested in the job. Things you may ask about include: what created the need to fill this position; what is likely to be the most challenging aspect of the role; and how the role relates to the company’s broader strategies and goals.
Don’t let nerves get the better of you
It’s completely natural to get the jitters, so have a strategy for keeping them at bay. It’s helpful to run through potential questions with a friend or partner ahead of the interview so that your mind feels more prepared. When you arrive, take a deep breath and remember that everyone in the room is a person just like you. Interviewers don’t want you to feel nervous – they want you to succeed. So smile, don’t rush your answers and do your best.