You’ve gotten past the resume and cover letter stage, and have reached the final hurdle.
*Cue dramatic music*
Do you find yourself constantly falling down at this point? Nerves getting the better of you?
We spoke to Nicola Evans, Employability Consultant at Careers Services about common mistakes people make during interviews and how to make a great impression.
1. Not selling yourself
Quoting the poet Eminem, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow,
this opportunity comes once in a lifetime”.
Ditto for job interviews.
“A job interview is a very small window of time in which the organisation wants to find out who you are and how your skills are relevant to the role. You need to provide a clear summary of your qualifications, skills and experience,” Nicola said.
Show the employer why YOU are the best candidate for the job. Get to the point. Tell them your professional narrative.
Develop your personal brand as this is ultimately what will make you stand out from the crowd.
Ask yourself ‘what kind of impression do I want to leave behind?
How do you go about doing this you ask?
Nicola says, “have a good physical energy as well as convey a positive way of approaching problems. Sit up straight, maintain eye contact, and show confidence in who are and what you have to offer”.
2. Failing to research the organisation or industry
A quick way to see yourself out of the running for a job is by not knowing anything about the organisation or industry you are applying for.
Employers want to see you actually want to work for their organisation. Show the interviewer that you know how their organisation works. Even better, tell them how your skills and experience will be of value to their specific industry.
“Research the company before you go into the interview. This will help you to better understand their core operations and target your answers. It also allows you to develop targeted questions in response to the common question: ‘Do you have any final questions?’ Nicola said.
Also make sure you understand the job description. Read over the job description and focus on the required skills and responsibilities.
3. Not answering questions properly
Not providing evidence for your answers is an area lots of people fall down in. Just like how you would in an essay, you need to answer all aspects of the question.
“There is no point replying with just ‘yes’ of ‘no’ answers. Think about the types of skills your potential employer is looking for and then select from your list of strengths, to demonstrate exactly how you’re the ideal candidate,” explained Nicola.
If you’re feeling nervous, look up common questions online. Practice answering these questions with either your family or friends, or even in front of the mirror!
All that extra effort will pay off. Confidence in answering their questions is a sure way to impress the interviewer.
4. Dressing unprofessionally
Not making the effort to dress professionally shows the employer you couldn’t be bothered to prepare and don’t really care about the job. This is an easy mistake to avoid.
“Your wardrobe tells its own story. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to match the organisation’s dress code as closely as you can. If you can’t quite determine the dress code pre-interview, err on the side of caution and look to slightly overdress rather than underdress,” Nicola said.
Often the employer will tell you the dress code prior to the interview, but if you’re feeling particularly unsure, call them and ask.
5. Winging it
You may be oozing with confidence, but in every scenario the person who prepares for the interview will be leaps and bounds ahead of the person who decides to just give it go.
As the saying goes, ‘prior preparation prevents poor performance’.
“The job interview is about you and how you can add value. Take the time to get to know yourself well – outline your qualifications, evaluate your skills, reflect on your strengths, review your weaknesses, and think about how you can add value to the job,” Nicola said.
She also recommends visualising yourself performing well at the interview and succeeding. This is a great way to overcome nerves and get comfortable talking about your achievements and abilities.
Basically, prepare prepare prepare!