8 Tips To Making A Good Impression At Interview

 By Ben Wright

So you’ve put in all the hard work of getting your CV up to scratch, you’ve applied for roles and have managed to secure an interview.

How well do you think you’ll perform at interview?

It’s a difficult process for anyone at any level, and I’ll try my best to guide you through some of the likely questions and situations you might find yourself having to deal with.

  1. First impressions

The obvious one – first impressions do count! You have no idea how true this is. You need to smile and make the right amount of eye contact, so keep your gaze just a few seconds longer than usual, without looking like a bit of a weirdo.

  1. Questions and answers

Let the interview panel lead the interview but remember that you don’t have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions. While they’re telling you all about the job and the company, questions from you at this point will emphasise your interest in the position. They may start with the question “Tell us about yourself and your experience, and why you think you would be the best candidate for the job”. This is where it helps to have your pitch handy as a brief introduction to who you are and what you can do.

  1. Preparation

Before the interview you should consider how you handle situations like interviews. How will you answer a question like “What are your salary expectations”? A difficult one if you don’t know whether you are over or under selling yourself. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are – you need to be able to say what you’re good at with confidence.

  1. Your reasons for wanting the job

Ask yourself why you want this job because you’ll likely be asked this on the day. Only you know the answer and you need to make it a good one. Just because you need a job isn’t a good enough reason for someone to hire you. Ask yourself what you actually know about the company. Are you interested in a long-term career or is this simply a stopgap for you? They might ask you where you see yourself in 6 months or 5 years’ time – how will you answer this. Easy if you see yourself long-term with the company, but not so easy to answer if you don’t.

  1. Dress Code

I can’t stress this enough – make sure that you dress professionally. Casual is not good and gives the wrong impression. Of course, this will entirely depend on what type of job you are applying for, but for a professional career position, get it right and rock that killer suit.

  1. Be enthusiastic!

You’ve been invited for interview because they believe you can do the job. It’s just down to you on the day to show that you can do it better than anyone else. Even if you don’t tick all the boxes for the job criteria, I’ll bet you have something just as good or even better to offer. The interview panel don’t know this yet, so you have to tell them. Don’t be negative about a past (or present) employer, working conditions etc., as this will give a really bad impression. Try to show that you are flexible and willing to take on responsibility.

  1. Timing is critical

Whatever happens don’t be late!  Arrive 10 minutes prior – and if you’re too early then take a walk around the block.  Just don’t leave it until 5 minutes before the interview is due to start, because the interview room might be some distance away from the reception area you have reported to.

  1. The evening before the interview

I’m not going to say try to relax the evening before because you won’t, but get some sleep! If you really want the job you’ll be pretty nervous… that’s natural – and that’s the best advice anyone can give, to just be natural and be yourself. That’s the person they’re looking for. Good Luck!

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How much information is too much information

Nikki HardingIt’s the age old question, do I disclose everything about myself in an interview, warts and all, or do I cover over any indiscretions in my personality or my career that may hamper my chances of obtaining my ideal job.

So lets look at the pro’s & con’s.

The purpose of an interview, whether it’s with a client directly or a recruitment consultant is to ascertain your suitability for a specific position, so it’s our job to ascertain your technical skill set first and foremost – can you actually do the job?

But more importantly it seems in our current climate it’s ‘can you do the job well’?

Will you fit with the current team? What does your personality say about you?

More often than not you are extremely well behaved in an interview when you are vying for that coveted role with the sensational company, making sure to answer questions as accurately as possible, smiling, and generally being polite. But how about in the real world, are you as polite? Are you as accommodating? That’s what we have to systematically ”unpeel” in an interview, how do you handle certain situations, are you a diamond in the rough? Or are you just rough?

When an external consultant is engaged to source the very best candidates that the market has to offer, these are the kind of subtle differences that get you across the line, what your personality traits are really like and how that can enhance the client’s business.

So what should you disclose? Provide real life examples, whether situations turned out well or not, proves you are an open communicator, you have learnt and grown as an individual, that you are adaptable to change and confident enough that you are still desirable as a candidate of choice.

It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being the best you can be, and the honesty surrounding that makes you the perfect candidate and an asset to any business.

Redundancy – The Worst Thing Ever or The Opportunity of a Life Time

Recently we have been subject to the headlines of significant job reductions being the focus of Queensland Government. More and more people are finding themselves faced with uncertainty and possibilities of redundancy.

Tempting as the money is, and your dream to go on a long vacation, away from the trials and tribulations of the work environment, reality is, the money only lasts for so long.  The commitment to a mortgage, school fees and ongoing costs means that most of us must continue to work.

So how do you make that transition from working in government or working in an organization that you have known forever to the world of the great unknown?

As frightening as this may be, a career transition can sometimes be a blessing in disguise and an opportunity to make positive change to your career. It all depends on how you approach it. Of course you can fight and resist change, and most of us do this for a period of time.  But how about working through this resistance and then allowing yourself to explore the open door ahead of you.

Take advantage of this moment in your life and honestly ask yourself, do I love what I do?  Whether you answer yes or no, it doesn’t matter as you have just been given a huge opportunity to make what might be the biggest change in your life. It is important to remember the skills you have gained within your career can be used anywhere, and that there are opportunities for the future.

It isn’t so much about the job but more about leaving what feels comfortable and what you know.  Taking you out of your comfort zone. It is exploring the unknown, which can make us hesitate when making a decision.

Why not take advantage of coaching and support outplacement services. Yes there may be a cost, but aren’t you worth it. It is these very services that will help you see this moment as an opportunity to review your career and take on new challenges. Lets face it, most of us would have been reluctant to embark upon this journey, while employed under the safety net of permanent employment.

Preparation is the key.  Evaluate your options, identify your best opportunities, create an outstanding resume, use social media and learn to interview effectively.  This takes time, planning, commitment and effort on your part. You cannot expect that this transition will occur without speed bumps on the way.

We are here to help you navigate your way through this new world of opportunity, contact us to discuss career transition psychological testing, career coaching, creating a red hot resume, using social media to find employment opportunities and tips for preparing for that dreaded interview.