8 tips to help you prepare for a job interview

So you’ve applied for a job and have now been invited to interview, well done! Time to nail it…

Congratulations on being invited for an interview! How are you feeling right now? Excited, nervous, anxious, confident, a little bit of everything maybe? Having mixed feelings is normal, it’s a common experience for a lot of people, but, with a little preparation you can make a great first impression.

Here are 8 tips to help ensure you’re ready for your upcoming interview…

Tip 1 - Know yourself & what you will bring to the role

Know your strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and accomplishments and ensure you can provide examples that you can relate to the role. It’s OK to say you’re good at teamwork but you must provide a real-world example that backs this up. Speak with teachers, family and friends and ask them what they think your strengths and weakness (things to work on) are and ensure you have a few examples ready to share.  

It can feel strange to talk about ourselves in this way at an interview, but showing your prospective employer that you are able to self-reflect is really important.

If you don’t have any previous work experience to draw from, don’t worry, we all must start somewhere, try using some examples from school, sport, music, or community involvement.

Tip 2 - Come prepared for key questions

You never know exactly what questions you’ll get asked but you’ll feel more prepared by practising your answers to common questions. Practice your responses to all the typical questions, such as, tell me about yourself, and what are your strengths? To help you prepare we have compiled a list of the 10 common interview questions.

It’s a good idea to set up an interview role play, have a friend or family member read over the position description and then act as the employer by asking you questions related to the position and keep practising until you answer each question confidently.​

Tip 3 - Research the organisation

Find out as much as you can about the organisation through their website or simply google them. Your effort will show in the job interview, and you’ll be seen as having an interest in the company and showing resourcefulness.

Ensure you understand the organisations mission, values, culture and what attracts you to the organisation but don’t get caught up studying their website word for word.

Tip 4 - Review the position description

Interviewers will almost always ask you about why you applied for the position, this can be worded in many ways, for example:

  • Why are you attracted to the position?
  • What interests you in the position?
  • What motivated you to apply?

Read over the position description, review your cover letter, and key selection criteria and ensure you’re ready to answer why you applied.

Be honest and genuine, your passion for the job and the company will be something the employer will notice and could be the difference between hiring you over someone else.

Tip 5 -Dress appropriately

Organisations have different dress requirements to suit their operations. Look on their website and check their social media accounts to help give you an idea of the office environment from business corporate too casual relaxed. Youth Central have a great article that breaks down in more detail how you should dress for an interview.

Whatever you decide to wear make sure you’re comfortable and true to yourself.

Tip 6 - Be on time and organised

Being on time and organised can help show the employer that you have the right attitude and behaviour. Find out in advance what parking is available, what the other travel options are and allow plenty of time to get there 15 minutes early. If the interview is online, ensure you test the video, mic, program that will be used, your internet connection, and ask the people you live with to try and be quiet during that time.

If you end up being early with extra time, it’s a bonus to try out the local café and read over your notes while you wait! It’s always better to be early rather than late!

Tip 7 - Maintain positive body language

First impressions, positive or negative, dramatically affect how you are seen and judged by the interview panel. Make sure you look interested and keen. Smile, sit up straight, avoid fidgeting, and maintain eye contact.

Tip 8 - Prepare questions to ask

An interview is also an opportunity for you to better understand the role and organisational culture and if it’s right for you. You will almost always get a chance at the end of the interview to ask any questions, so it’s a great idea to write a few down beforehand. Here are a few questions to help you get started:

  • What would a typical day look like for the role being offered?
  • Can you tell me a little bit more about the work culture?
  • What will be my biggest challenge in this role?
  • What are the next steps from here?

Make sure you don’t ask a question that was already answered in the position description.

The most important thing is to relax, smile, and be yourself! Employers will see your passion for the role if you are being genuine and authentic!

Good Luck! You got this.

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Last reviewed 29 October 2021.

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