Most advice on acing a job interview is about memorising answers to an endless number of possible questions. And there, we’ve got a fundamental problem. Because the interview is not an exam; it’s a discussion to establish yourself as a competent, motivated and trustworthy person.
Do you want to win your dream job? We have some radically different advice for you. Are they secrets? Well, we don’t know, but, for sure, they are tips based on our experience and research:
1. Prepare, don’t just show up:
Interviews are not walk-ins. Always know the role you are applying for and the company you will be interviewing with. What business are they in, how do they make money, and how will hiring you make a difference to them?
2. First impressions count:
From the time you keep to the clothes you wear, from your composure on arrival to the way you greet security in the lobby; it’s best to assume that all of this is being observed. Don’t let yourself down. Start on a professional note.
3. Tell your story, furnish evidence:
The interview is your opportunity to show why you should be hired. So, come prepared to talk about your biggest achievements and highlights of your professional journey. How are they relevant to the new job? How do they put you above what the rest of the herd can do?
4. Even freshers have experience:
If you are fresh out of university with no job experience, talk about what worked well for you in coursework and internships, the experiences that have shaped you this far and the lessons learned. Forget the myth that you have no experience worth talking about.
5. Leadership skills matter:
Companies are looking for a good match and for people who have the potential for bigger things. If the role they are trying to fill today does not exist tomorrow, will they still have a need for you? Can today’s junior analyst be the leader of the business unit in eight years’ time? What you know doesn’t matter as much as how you work. Be ready to discuss teamwork, your ability to influence and inspire, and what keeps you going each and every day.
6. An interview is not a one way:
Use the interview to get to know the company better. Is their work culture aligned with what matters to you? Is this the right organisation for you at the stage of life you find yourself in? If you are a young parent, a 24×7 work culture might not exactly be what you are looking for. Remember that a lot of your motivation and happiness will come from the company you join.
7. Rejection is part of the game:
For all the work that you put in and the advice we can provide, interviewing is still a process loaded with unknowns. If an opportunity does not open up, take it in your stride.Maybe you didn’t fit the bill, maybe the position was already spoken for, or the budget disappeared. The truth will never come out. Don’t let a rejection bring you down, but learn what you can and keep going.
Think about these tips, take your time and prepare how you will convey your message. Right through your professional journey, whether you are in the final days of your notice period or in the first weeks of your new job, nurture your personal brand. How do you want people to talk about you in your absence, what would you like them to say? Careers are marathons; the interview is just an intermediate step.