If you are looking to advance to the next stage of your career, but you feel you need to brush up on your interview skills, then the following A-Z guide may help. Here we outline tips that can help you land that next great role.
One of the best ways to make an impression on an employer is by clearly highlighting your achievements on your CV. Make sure you highlight your key skills and the type of experience you can bring to the company. Be prepared to explain them in more detail during an interview.
Make sure that you’re flexible so you suit the employer’s needs. An employer is likely looking to hire a new member of staff within a specific time frame. They may even be looking for candidates who can start immediately. Try and be as flexible as you can, even if that means scheduling an interview early in the morning before you start work at your current job.
Having a current and up-to-date CV is crucial. You should be constantly updating your CV, even when you’re not looking for a job, so you don’t forget something important that could be useful later on. Ensure the layout is clear and that you have proofread for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
Don’t worry about date of birth
It’s only expected that candidates include their date of birth on their CV, if they live outside New Zealand. However, if you are applying for a role in New Zealand, there is no need as it’s unlawful to discriminate against job seekers and employees because of their age.
You must always project enthusiasm and positivity when you go for an interview. Think about your body language and show your interest not only in the role, but the company also. Remember to ask relevant questions and always make eye contact with the employer.
If you are not offered the role after the interview, make sure you ask for feedback. It’s the only way to learn how you can improve. However, some employers don’t provide individual feedback due to lack of time and company policy. Be sure to let them know how important it is to you that you receive feedback.
In addition to setting career goals, you should always attend an interview with a goal in mind. What do you want to get across to the interviewer? How do you want the interviewer to think and feel? Set clear goals you can make for a more successful interview.
When speaking to an employer, always be honest about what is most important to you in a job role. Be clear about the type of environment you like to work in and be honest about your career ambitions.
Whatever level of IT skills you have, make sure you include them on your CV. When you’ve had a few jobs, it may seem unnecessary to highlight Microsoft Word and Excel experience, but your employer might be looking for those exact skills. It could put you ahead of the competition.
Job boards are not the only answer
Don’t rely on job boards alone. You should email companies outright as many don’t advertise certain job roles. Also, register your details with an agency that specialise in the industry you’re looking to work in.
Keep it realistic
Always be realistic about the roles you apply for. You may not have the required level of skill and experience for certain roles. It’s good be ambitious but focus your core strengths and apply for positions that you know you can fill.
Look the part
Dress for the occasion. You will be judged in the first few moments of the interview, so your appearance is very important. Look smart and professional, and make sure your outfit looks neat and tidy.
Every job seeker faces rejection. It’s part of the process and you must treat it as a learning curve. It takes resilience and motivation to overcome the setbacks and keep moving forward in your job search. Always persevere and visualise success to keep you motivated.
Name your CV
Employers receive hundreds of CVs, many of which don’t get read. If you don’t put a name on your CV, chances are it will go straight in the bin. Distinguish your CV and include your name and contact details.
The more prepared you are for the interview, the more relaxed you will feel on the day. Make sure you research the company beforehand, so you are familiar with the company’s culture and are aware of any recent stories and news. Most importantly, you need to have a solid understanding of what the company do.
Asking questions at the end of the interview is essential. It signals you are serious about the role and the company. It’s good to arm yourself with around 5-6 questions, in case some have already been answered throughout the interview. Demonstrate your passion for the industry and eagerness to learn more about the company.
Reason for your move
The employer will more than likely be asked why you are looking for a new role. Make sure you have prepared a positive answer to this question. Never display negativity in an interview. You may hate your current job, but during an interview is not the time to share this information. Always be positive and enthusiastic at all times.
Be realistic about your salary expectations. Research the salary average for the role you’re applying for, so you’ll have an answer if the employer asks you how much you expect to earn. If you are told from the outset how much the salary of the role will be, don’t negotiate a higher wage as this will antagonise the employer and could cost you the job.
Timing is everything
Arrive on time to the interview. Do a trial run of your route to check the journey time. If you arrive late to an interview, there could be no recovery. You would have already made a bad impression before the interview has even started. Leave plenty of time before you start your journey.
Make sure you keep track of all the roles you have applied for. Writing up a list of all the places you’ve applied to is the best way to ensure your job-hunting process is smooth and organised.
You should always make sure your social media profiles are clean and professional. Many employers look at candidates’ LinkedIn, Twitter and other online profiles. Make sure there isn’t anything inappropriate on your profiles and keep them consistent with how they represent you.
You may be approached by multiple agencies about the same position. Decide which agency is the most beneficial for you. Certain agencies may specialise in your field, while others may have a more general approach. It’s worth weighing up which you feel is the better agency to represent you.
X-marks the spot
Before you apply for any role, make sure you know the exact location and whether the travel time is going to be realistic for you. You need to decide how far you’re willing to travel and if the added time is worth the career development.
Your last chance
Make sure you close the interview with professionalism and leave a lasting impression. You should ask the employer what the next steps are in the hiring process and what you can expect going forward. It’s a good way of getting a gauge of what the interviewer thinks of you and it further demonstrates your interest in the role.
Finally, get a good night sleep before the interview! This will make you more alert and better equipped to think on your feet.