How to Excel in Your Job Interview

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Excel in Your Job Interview  

Part 1

You successfully applied for the job, they obviously like what they read in your well-prepared resume. The day arrives, now it’s time to excel, and land this job.

You have decided, I want a new job. After searching and applying, an interview for a great job, with your name on it, has been offered. You have prepared extensively, follow all the ‘dress for success’ tips and arrive in a calm, well-rested manner.  You are feeling confident, arrive ahead of the scheduled interview time to enable you to sit, relax and wait; you are ready to excel !!!

You make sure you googled the organisation or company, perhaps contacted them to ask any relevant questions and prepare yourself about the organisations’ information, how they are going, where they want to be, their direction and their main competitors. You consider a point of difference this organisation has compared to their competition and how you embrace this difference. Your friend has coached you and practised with you beforehand, so you are now able to answer the anticipated interview questions within one to two minutes. You do not want to prolong an answer; direct and quick responses are best. You may listen to the brilliant self-confidence session to ensure your mind is focused and confidence is optimum. You are prepared and you going to nail this.

Of course, you have contacted the organisation to learn if the interview is one person or a panel. You have asked, recorded and learnt the names of the interview panel so you are familiar and can repeat their name when introduced. Being self-confident is an imperative part of your interview. Consider getting and listening to the self-confidence session to ensure you are so prepared and ready. Nothing can shake you as you look forward to this opportunity to shine and excel.

Make sure you know what you want them to see

You acknowledge the reception personnel or administrative assistant in a friendly, confident manner and announce that you are here to see xxx for an interview. You enter the interview room, you shake hands firmly and make eye contact with each interviewer as you repeat their name, saying hello.  You politely accept the drink of water you are offered as your mouth may become dry and there is nothing worse than trying to answer when your tongue is stuck to your throat.

As the interview gets going, you keep reminding yourself of your purpose in being there: to show the interview team that you fit the organisation’s criteria, culture and mission better than anyone else. You are there to convince this interview panel how fortunate they will be to have someone as clever, nice, committed and dependable as you.

You show your enthusiasm for the position in a number of ways throughout the interview. You never interrupt when the interview panel are speaking, even if you are dying to tell them your information and how wonderful you can fulfil that criterion. As the interview continues, you find ways to advise your own relevant insights into the conversation. Each answer is thoughtful, aiming to not only showcase your strengths and accomplishments, but also show how these fit with the organisation and would add value to it. Any questions about your former boss or co-workers come up, you respond positively. You may state you did not welcome their culture of individual accomplishments rather you enjoy a team environment where all members can share, participate and work toward the same outcome or goal.

The interview: How to ensure you remain number one selection:

Follow these rules to secure that job:

  1. Dress appropriately, never seductively, and dress in similar colours of the organisation, if they have any
  2. Follow their dress code. If it is hospitality, wear hair pulled back as we want the interview panel to see you as a worker in their organisation
  3. Arriving in plenty of time
  4. Turn off your phone just prior to the interview
  5. Learn all you can about the company or organisation – what they do, their position in the market, their future plans, their competitors, their team size, etc.
  6. Be clear on what’s in your resume and justify everything you have stated
  7. Ask for clarification to any question you may not fully understand
  8. Talk only as much as you need to respond to their questions
  9. Be prepared
  10. Only provide positive comments about past employers and co-workers should be stated, you never know who people know or may be connected to

Individual or panel interview

There is a difference in facing one person compared to a panel of normally three interviewers. The imagined grilling from a group of people with the power to decide their future can be nerve-wracking if you have not experienced it previously. This is where it is very important to practice not with one friend, but with a few people who can each individually ask you a set of questions plus a few legitimate questions you have not prepared for. Your goal is to showcase your strengths and accomplishments in such a way as to leave no doubt that you would the best choice for the job.

One advantage is that, with a number of people, you are not as likely to be caught up in the unfortunate scenario wherein the person you are meeting with just doesn’t connect with you. When there are several interviewers, you are likely to find compatibility with at least some of them.

There are a few extra tips for panel interviews over a single person interview:

  1. Be sure to respond to the person who asked you a specific question as you look directly at them when starting and finishing your response. Keeping eye contact with the other panel members as you respond is also wise.
  2. Memorising your resume is important. Be very aware of what you have written and described so you can expand on any jobs or responses they are interested in. You were selected for an interview because of your great resume content, this is your time to expand on these great attributes.
  3. Body language is valuable to be aware of because all those who did not ask a given question are gazing at you. Note the way you sit, relaxed, back on the chair. When you answer lean slightly toward the person asking the question then rest back when finished your response.
  4. Take note of each panel member’s name, by repeating their name with a ‘hello, Fred’ after being introduced by each panel interviewer, so that you can address him or her later
  5. Ask when being contacted for the interview the number of people interviewing you and their names. Google them to discover any affiliations they may have, likes or dislikes. Facebook them to learn if they love animals, have a family, are divorced. You can often structure your responses.

I remember one person I worked with who had a major interview coming up and she was extremely nervous. After she discovered the interview panel, she was advised to facebook them. She found one panel member was a major AFL team fan. As the company had no uniform or corporate colours I recommended she dress in similar colours to his AFL team. She mentioned loving sport, did some research on the team and yes, landed the job after she found later, a more experienced interviewee. Was this the right thing to do – absolutely. We must do whatever we can to impress, as long as we do not directly lie. By dressing in the team colours and stating she enjoyed AFL, which occasionally she did, and really liked his team, she had no favourites, she secured the job. She did actually start following his team to create conversation at work.

Remember, be as prepared as you can and use the Self-confidence session if you feel it may assist you. A small investment and time may take away many nerves and help make you feel ready and confident to succeed in this interview, and with life in general.

In Part 2 we will cover the challenging questions, how to respond and the critical step that follows the interview to ensure oyu are the prefered selected candidate.

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