You’ve made the tough decision that you want to change jobs. But interviewing for a new role fills you with dread, is something you haven’t done for years, or when you interviewed in the past, it hasn’t gone well.
You’re not alone; performing confidently at interviews doesn't come naturally to many people.
Most find it difficult to promote themselves and talk confidently about what they’re good at, their experience and achievements, especially since a lot of interviews are being conducted remotely during COVID-19.
However, if you understand how to interview well it will become less daunting and more likely you’ll land that new job.
Let’s look at the top 5 tips for nailing job interviews:
1. Preparation is everything
Take notes in preparation for the interview. Use the job advertisement or any information you have about the job and make sure you understand the job criteria and the experience they are looking for.
Research both the business and the people you are meeting with.
Review the Careers or About pages on their website to build your understanding or, if they are a small business, review their social media and any other information you can find.
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2. Get familiar with the BAR method
Most interviews are conducted in what is called a behavioural interview format which is based on the premise that if you can demonstrate you have done similar work successfully before then you are likely to be able to do it again.
To help you answer interview questions well follow the BAR format: Background, Actions, Results. Explain the background to the situation, the actions you took and the results achieved.
The questions will usually be based on the job criteria. So prepare examples of work you have done before using the BAR format against the criteria and instead of being under to pressure to think of answers on the spot, you will already have a range of possible examples to draw on.
3. Numbers can speak louder than words
When you talk about the things you have done and the results you have achieved, using numbers differentiates you from the competition and makes you stand out as the most suitable candidate for the job.
Things like talking about any improvements, increases, achievements, size or scope of work. For example, "I exceeded retail sales targets" is a great achievement.
However, to make it even better, say: "I regularly exceeded the weekly sales by 10 per cent, achieving $1,100 in sales against a $1,000 target."
4. Make a connection
The reality of the interview process is that, first, people are assessing whether they like you, and then they determine whether you are right for the job.
So your goal is to try to build a connection with the people interviewing you in a short time. Be respectful, using please and thank you, and share something about yourself that you might have in common with the interviewers.
Show genuine curiosity and interest with a warm smile, lean forward and look at who is talking to you.
5. Don't leave any room for doubt
Leave them with no doubt that you want the job. Have questions prepared for the end of the interview to show that you are interested and to understand more about the job, team and business.
It is just as important for you to decide if you like them and if the opportunity is a good match for what you are looking for.
At the end of the interview tell them how grateful you are for the opportunity and that you would be very keen to pursue further if successful.
The interview is a two-way process, so while you want them to get know you and to like you, so do you. In making a change, you want to make sure that the work, conditions and environment meet what you are looking for and will fit well with your life.
If you prepare, answer well, make a connection and leave them with no doubt that you want the job then the choice will be yours.
Amalia Chilianis is a career and capability development expert, and author of Work-a-holistic: A practical guide to changing your career. She is a coach, consultant, speaker and facilitator working internationally.