You’re almost there. Your resume has landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what is the best way to prepare?
1. Research – know the organisation, their values, vision and the role. Remember to feed what you know into your responses. (I was really excited to see on your website that the organisation is …. I am passionate/have experience in …)
2. Practice – Review possible questions the employer might ask and practice answering using your experiences in stories. Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action and Result) to give a full response.
3. Present yourself – how would you represent the organisation. Keep your outfit simple – clean and ironed. Dress up, not down and if you’re not sure, ask someone for help.
4. Prepare – Have a folder of your certificates and examples of your work/experience. Sometimes visual aids (photos or documents) help to remind you of experiences you had.
5. Be confident – The best way to be confident is to tell yourself you ARE CONFIDENT. If you’re not, fake it until you are. Before walking into the interview, practice power poses. Stand tall, stretching your arms above your head and back onto your hips. Use power poses to make you look and feel bigger, stronger and more confident. Remember to breathe.
6. Nail your first impression – Be on time, there is nothing more stressful than being late for an interview. Make sure you take plenty of time to get to the interview location and settle your thoughts. Turn your mobile phone off. Offer a firm, dry handshake. Make eye contact and smile. Listen and remember the names of the interviewers.
7. Talk – The purpose of an interview is for the employer to get to know you. Provide detail in your answers so the interviewer can get to know you. Use a variety of experiences in your responses, these could include employment, work experience, volunteerism, sporting or community activities or personal experiences. The aim is to answer the questions in a way that shows you understand the question, provide an example of your experience and demonstrate what you will bring to the organisation.
8. Connect - Try and provide answers and experience stories that will connect with the interviewer/s. Watch their body language to see if you are on the right track. Closed arms or looking away when you make eye contact could mean you aren’t getting through. Open arms, smiling and good eye contact are positive signs.
9. Ask questions – Have a list of questions you can ask to see if the position is right for you. Questions could be around career progression, training available or opportunities to expand on the position. This is not the time to discuss pay rates or work hours. That can come with the job offer.
10. Follow up – send a thank you email and restate your interest in the role. If requested, follow up quickly with requests for further information.
11. Celebrate - When you’re done, celebrate the opportunity to practice your interview techniques. Interviews are a great learning experience.
Crystal McGregor authored My Career Passport, a resource that supports young people to understand key foundation skills and articulate their experience, based on work, volunteer, sport and life experiences. www.yep.careers