Planning for a career change? If so, you’ll need to be interview ready. At TTM we’re backing you all the way: we want you to go in there feeling confident, relaxed and in control so you can ace the interview and get the job you want and deserve. So, let’s look at some top interview tips and advice, and understand what employers are looking for.
#1 Research the organisation
This is the first building block to a great interview and means you need to do everything you can to understand the company/organisation offering the job. Review their website, read their blogs, scan their social media. Get to grips with the mission, vision, values and goals of the business. It’s this kind of knowledge that will help you ask sound, relevant questions and show that you’re interested.
Tip: Use LinkedIn to see if anyone in your network is working at the company you’re looking into. And check out current news articles about the organisation.
#2 Understand the Role
Did you know the most common reason for a candidate not succeeding in a job interview is a lack of understanding of the role? Taking time to explore the opportunity offered shows the interviewer that you’re qualified and serious about it – and it will help you prepare questions. Remember – the same job can differ within different organisations.
Tip: Look beyond the functional tasks of the job. Eg. if the job posting says ‘needs to work well within a team’ – explore what this means in the context of this role and be prepared to give examples of how you achieve this.
#3 Practice Answers to Questions
Put time into preparing your answers to typical questions. Focus on your strengths and what you can bring to the role. Using flash cards can help you prep your answers. Questions might include:
• Tell us about yourself?
• Why are you interested in the job?
• What are your strengths and weaknesses?
• Give an example of when you overcame a specific challenge at work.
• Tell us about a time when you might have made a mistake and what you learned from it.
• How would your co-workers describe you?
• How do you deal with pressure?
Tip: Your answer to ‘tell us about yourself’ should put the organisation’s needs first and only give examples of your profile and experience that are relevant to the job. Think about what gives you the edge. This is more than just ‘hard skills;’ characteristics such as your drive and motivation are just as important.
#4 Prepare Your Own Questions
Having good questions at the ready shows that you are engaged and interested. Prepare around five questions so you have backups if some are addressed during your interview. Examples are:
• Can you describe the work culture of the organisation?
• What do you enjoy the most about working here?
• What are the opportunities for training and progression?
Tip: Avoid asking too many questions about what the company can do for you. A question like ‘how might I impress you in my first few months in the job?’ shows you’re thinking about the contribution you can make.
#5 Get the Basics Right
• Dress appropriately
• Bring copies of your CV and list of references.
• Bring a notebook/pen to take notes.
• Arrive early.
• Switch off your mobile phone so you remain focussed.
#6 For Online Interviews
There are some important extras to bear in mind when your interview is online:
• Check that your have a strong internet connection.
• Use a quiet location.
• Consider using a virtual or blurred background.
• Make sure the window light is facing you and sit an arm’s length from the camera.
Tip: Read more about preparing for online interviews in our blog
#7 Use Good Body Language
How can you use body language and non-verbal cues to make a good impression?
• Give a good, firm, confident handshake before and after the interview.
• Sit up straight in your chair – feet flat on the floor.
• Don’t cross your arms – it denotes your closed off, nervous or bored.
• Maintain eye contact but avoid staring.
#8 Be aware of your speech and language
Use appropriate language and avoid too many ‘fillers’ like ‘um’ and ‘er.’ Think before you speak, talk slowly and clearly, avoiding rambling.
Tip: If you need time to structure your answer to a question, asking if you can take half a minute to jot down main points is OK.
#9 Be the best version of YOU
Don’t play a role – you need to be the authentic you. Demonstrate your best characteristics such as:
• Likeability – you’re easy to get along with.
• Confidence – show that you believe in yourself and your value.
• Passion – share your enthusiasm about your skills, works and goals.
• Your soft skills – such as empathy, integrity, creativity.
• Leadership – give an example of a time you took charge with a good outcome.
• Motivation and willingness – show that you’re eager to bring value to the job.
Tip: You need to be relaxed to feel confident. Slow, deep breathing will send oxygen to the brain – helping you stay present and thinking clearly.
#10 Send a Thank You Note
Sending a ‘thank you’ email or LinkedIn message is good business etiquette; it helps you stand out from the crowd and build rapport with your interviewer.
Tip: Keep it short, sweet and customised to the job