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Reaching the interview stage is perhaps one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome when you’re on the hunt for a new job. You can go through hundreds of job application forms and CV submissions until you finally get the perfect job interview for you.
At first you think, ‘Yes! This is exciting!’ – Which it really is, and you should be very proud of yourself for getting this far. However, a job interview puts you in the spotlight whilst a potential employer determines whether you are suitable for the job. For this reason, it’s no wonder many of us feel nervous as the job interview approaches.
The good news is that there’s lots of advice out there around how to prepare for an interview. You can start by reading our top tips below:
It should go without saying that when preparing for a job interview you should familiarise yourself with not only the role, but also the company. In doing so, you will not only be able to clearly highlight what makes you a good fit for the job during your interview, but also express enthusiasm about how the job will be of value to you. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more likely you are to shine during a job interview, and ultimately seal the deal. You can learn a lot about a company from an array of sources online, including their website, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
Most interviews follow a competency-based framework which tests one’s previous experiences as an indicator of future performance in a job. For this reason, it’s important you practice using the STAR technique when you prepare for a job interview
STAR stands for – Situation, Task, Action and Result. Plotting your interview answers around that framework is particularly helpful when answering questions which zero in on your behaviour towards challenges in previous jobs, as well as your specific achievements within them. Since past performance can be a good prediction of the future, interviewers ask these questions to see if candidates have the skills and experiences required for the job.
STAR is an acronym for four key concepts. Each concept is a step the candidate can take to answer a behavioural interview question:
Situation: Describe the context within which you performed a job or faced a challenge at work. For example, perhaps you were working on a group project, or you had a conflict with a co-worker. This situation can be from a work experience, a volunteer position, or any other relevant event. Be as specific as possible.
Task: Next, describe your responsibility in that situation. Perhaps you had to help your group complete a project under a tight deadline, resolve a conflict with a co-worker, or hit a sales target.
Action: You then describe how you completed the task or endeavoured to meet the challenge. Focus on what you did, rather than what your team, boss, or colleaguedid. (Tip: Instead of saying "We did xyz," say "I did xyz.")
Result: Finally, explain the outcomes or results generated by the action taken. You might emphasize what you accomplished, or what you learned.
Although it’s impossible to know in advance what specific questions will be asked during your next job interview, it is certainly worthwhile preparing several scenarios based on your career history. Create a list of the skills and/or experiences required for the job you will be interviewed for, and if necessary, look at the job advert or speficiation for suggestions that can be directly linked to your career experience.
Once you have done the preliminary research into the vacancy you’re targeting, consider specific examples of times that you displayed those skills in previous jobs. For each example, name the situation, task, action, and result.
Most interviews are concluded with the opportunity for candidates to ask questions of their own. This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the company and the job youhave applied for. Think about some questions you can ask during your next job interview, and make sure they are as closely related as possible to the specific job you’re interviewing for. Some examples may include:
What are the career development opportunities for this specific role?
What are the biggest challenges facing the department at the moment?
Describe the culture of the company.
Whatever you do, avoid asking about salary at this stage of the job interview process. Wait until you have been offered a job before you start to negotiate the salary.
With the right interview techniques under your belt, preparing for a job interview is so much simpler and you’ll have your brand new job in no time. If you apply for a job through Search, your dedicated recruitment consultant will help you with preparing for a job interview.