For your reading pleasure, Careers Consultant Lindsey McLeod’s top 5 interview tips all in one place.
1) Be Prepared
You’ve heard it before: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. As dramatic as that sounds, its true. You may have submitted several applications recently but if you can’t find your application you submitted for this interview, to refresh your memory – what did you actually write all those weeks ago, then that lack of preparedness is going to come across during interview. Preparation involves time and research across all aspects. Who is interviewing you – can you find out beforehand? Where are you being interviewed – can you get there in good time?
2) Not trying to trip you up
Believe it or not the majority of employers want you to do well at interview, that’s why they invited you there in the first place. They enjoyed your application and this is your chance to shine and expand on the application. It lets them see what you’re like as a person and they also recognise you’re probably nervous – they’ve been there too! Try to enjoy the experience; that enjoyment will come across in the delivery of your answers.
You may think you can wing it, but you can’t. Like everything interviews take practice and persistence. The more you practice the more confident you will become in articulating your answers. You don’t want it to come across in parrot fashion though, as if it were a script. Once you feel confident with your range of answers you can adapt and interchange these during the course of an interview, so you avoid relying solely on e.g. your Volunteer experience for your teamwork example. In fact, your Volunteering could be utilised as evidence of your interpersonal/initiative/reliability. Once you’ve practiced and got the tools to answer a question, you will feel more confident adapting examples accordingly.
4) Be specific
Noone likes a general answer. You immediately lose the Employer’s interest if you speak in general terms. Go specific. Use S.T.A.R for competency based questions. Finding out about that specific volunteer event you ran in semester two of third year, as a member of the Yoga society in conjunction with the Guinea Pig Appreciation society is far more memorable then talking about every event you’ve ever organised in a general, top-level way.
5) Tell them something they don’t know
Only you know what interests you about a certain company and rather than regurgitating what’s on a company’s website about them being a ‘top 100 graduate employer’ why not find out something they aren’t necessarily aware of. A recent news article mentioning them which caught your attention and got you thinking or that Employer event you attended and spoke to a really enthusiastic employee; the personal angle will have far more impact.