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How to nail interviews and get hired

By Julie Gearie | Executive Director – IT and Executive recruitment

Interviews take most people way out of their comfort zone. I’m often asked for tips and tricks on how to “nail” an interview. While there is no winning formula, here’s a few tips that will give you the edge and hopefully help you land your next job.

1. Do your research

There’s generally more than one person whose qualified for the job, but knowing more about the company and the key market trends and challenges can help to make you stand out and sound smart in an interview.

Think about how you will respond to the question “tell us what you know about our business?”. To prepare, don’t jump on the company website an hour before the interview, do some in-depth research in advance.

Of course, you will find out about the company’s history, products, services, management structure etc. But don’t stop there. Research the industry, what are the market trends and challenges? Who are their competitors? What economic or political factors effect this industry? Research the people that you are meeting. What are their backgrounds? When you do your research thoroughly it’s easy to impress!

2. Read your CV

It’s simple I know but it’s surprising how many people haven’t read through their CV before going into an interview.

The problem is you can’t always predict what the employer will ask you so you need to be prepared to discuss all of your roles and achievements in detail. For every project you worked on be ready to discuss the size, scope, budget, vendors, challenges, stakeholders, methodologies and so on. If you are scratching your head trying to recall details during an interview, this will quickly disengage your audience.

3. Develop strategies to manage your nerves

If you suffer from sweaty palms, shaky voice or a thumping heart rate in an interview you’re not alone. One way to deal with nervousness in an interview is to acknowledge how you feel upfront. Here’s how. Give your nerves a seat at the table by saying something like “thanks for inviting me along today and please forgive me if I appear a little nervous”. This can work as an icebreaker and it also seems to help calm the interviewee as well.

After a comment like this I’ve seen the most rigid interview panel break into warm and friendly smiles to put people at ease. Introducing your nerves will tell the interviewer 2 very important things: 1) you want the job and 2) you are self-aware. That should tick a few of their boxes.

4. Plan your questions and make them play to your strengths

Having a few intelligent questions will leave a good impression on the interview panel. So, think about what questions you will ask in the interview.

Ideally, these questions will play to your strengths. For example, you may have a lot of experience with Change Management so you might ask “is there a change management strategy to support this project?” or you may be doing an SEO / analytics course, therefore you could ask “how are you currently measuring the success of this marketing campaign?” You now have an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in these areas.

5. Do a post-interview summary 

After the interview, most of us step into the elevator and say to ourselves “thank goodness that’s over”. We might pat ourselves on the back and think, I couldn’t have done anything else. But one of the most valuable things you can do happens when you walk out of the interview.

Within the first 10 minutes’ post interview, find a quiet spot in a café or even sit in your car and write down as many questions and responses that you can recall from the meeting. This document will then become a very important part of your preparation for either a second interview or your next opportunity. If you wait until you get home, you’ll be lucky to remember 10% so the sooner you do this, the better.

Most importantly, if you’re being represented by a recruitment consultant, make sure you take advantage of their knowledge and experience and seek out their advice. Your consultant will have a deep understanding of the company, the culture and the people you will meet at interview. They’ll want you to perform at your best and will be more than happy to share their insights.

Best of luck!

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