The process of acquiring a new job can be stressful and demoralising. From sending out resumes to attending interviews, being outstanding candidate is essential for you to lock in a job offer and land the role of your dream. Collectively, we have 55 years of working experience, several career changes and attended plenty of interviews so we have a few job interview tips up our sleeves. Here we present you 12 Job Interview Hacks That Will Surely Impress Prospective Employers Into Hiring You. These are real-life tips we have learned from all the job interviews (successes and failures!) we have attended over the course of our career.
#1. Get All Your Ducks in a Row
During a job search, you would often attend at least 2 interviews. How often do you bomb the first one and excel the subsequent time. Most of the times you get nervous because you don’t know what to expect. Here’s the thing, no matter what the job interview is for (new career, promotion, new industry, new company) they will always ask you the same questions. The only thing that changes are the way they worded the questions. The questions will always revolve around your skills, ability, personality and how you handle workplace situations.
The most helpful tip is to come up with a set of winning answers. These answers aim to impress the interviewer(s) and make you an outstanding candidate – consistently; every time. Practice your answer and ad-libbing to suit different scenarios. Repeat it to yourself daily or anyone who would listen until it is embedded in your head. You may have to create and remember a set of 10 to 20 answers, but once you get these down pat; you will pretty much excel in all your interviews!
Just remember, the fundamentals are always the same. The narratives will always be about you, your capability and how you can use them to benefit the company.
Another helpful tip is, to make sure you bring all your documents with you neatly organised. Using sticky tab to name all your documents prevents that awkward moment where you go through every single one of your certificates finding that one you are looking for (which is usually the second last document..).
#2. Everybody Loves a Good Story
People – even in an interview, loves a good story. I am not asking you to lie, but I am asking you to learn to tell an interesting and compelling story. Something that shows courage, leadership, problem solving and achievements. Use it to add more dynamic to your answer. You want them to remember you and go “yeah, I like the one who spoke about saving the cat from behind hit by a car, I think we should get him back for a second interview”
#3. The Interview Goes Both Ways
Realise that for every job interview you attend, it is not just about them interviewing you as a suitable future employee. It is also about you interviewing them as a suitable future employer. Candidates need to realize this; you will be spending a 1/3 (or more) of your day, with a bunch of people at work. It is important that the organisation you choose, will be the best place for you and it will make you happy.
#4. Ask Relevant Questions
Candidates worry a lot about the difficult questions they will be asked. This is to the point where they forget that the interview is the best chance for them to find out about the company. As mentioned in #3, you need to be confident enough to ask them relevant and engaging questions. The aim is to show interest and to also assert some control over the interview. A one-sided interview where you wait for questions to be asked often invite plenty of awkward silence. Which is no fun. The questions do not have to be amazing. The aim is to engage.
Questions like ‘What is the work culture like?’, ‘What is the company’s policy on workplace harassment?’ , ‘What is the employee turnover like in this company ?‘. One of my favourite question to ask the interviewer is ‘How long have you been in this company, and why do you like the most about working here?’. Most interviewers don’t expect to be asked “about them” and I have had some interesting answers. Their answers sort of give me an indication of what working there is going to be like.
#5. Be Yourself
This may seem obvious (of course to be yourself, who else right?). That is not exactly what I mean. One of the main thing employers look for in a candidate is the feel of ‘How they would fit into the workplace environment’. While the interviewer would never say what is it like to work there (or over exaggerate the awesomeness), this is something you can gauge during the interview. This way, you can outshine a certain part of your personality ‘deemed fit’ and suppress the others. Be the best and suitable version of your self, for that job.
One of the job interview I attended asked several questions regarding dealing with ‘workplace bitchiness’. The interviewer focused quite a bit on different ‘nasty’ scenarios and how I would deal with it. In most interviews, I always emphasize on my thinking outside the box skills, my strong desire to achieve and to lead. But in this interview, I found myself emphasizing on my ‘no tolerance for bullshit attitude’, which is who I am.
After the third scenarios, I came to realise that the management is dealing with lots of harassment, bullying, cattiness and toxic behavior in the organisation. Which to be honest would not bode well with me as I don’t put up with assholes. The interviewer did not seem pleased with my any bull approach answers. I quickly realised that while the job was good on paper, it was not a good fit for me. Surprisingly I was offered the position which I turned down since the interview focused more on how I would fend off toxic behaviours than my skills and how I can add value to the company.
#6. Weaknesses Aren’t Always a Bad Thing
This is in my opinion, one of the most difficult parts of an interview process. Reflecting and acknowledging your weakness, and then to demonstrate that you are working towards improving yourself / or you have improved. Why not use your weakness to benefit you. I would love nothing more than to answer ‘No weakness, I am perfect’ everytime I get asked the weakness question. But I know I tend to get more pointers by acknowledging my weakness and what I have been doing to improve myself.
My favourite weakness to discuss is the fact that English is not my first language. I tend to acknowledge that at the start of my interview ” English is not my first language, hence I apologise in advance if my accent is a little too strong, or if I had to ask you to repeat your question, or if it takes me a while to take it the question. Similarly, if you require me to explain and elaborate on my answer, please let me know” . The interviewer will mostly empathise and accommodate.
So when the topic of weakness comes up again, I will use the same weakness on different scenarios. For instance, “Since English is not my first language, communicating with other team members can sometimes be difficult and miscommunication may occur. I solved this issue by simplifying communication between team members using a checklist and forms. I was also persistent in ensuring that every single one of the team member is well aware of job requirements and the KPI’s from the start so great results are achieved from the get-go“. Knowing earlier that this is my weakness, reemphasizing it only shows that this weakness is something I am continuously working on to be better.
#7. It’s About I, Not We
Demonstrating your ability to work as part of a team is great, but sometimes it is just about “I”. I noticed while men have no issue embellishing their achievements, women almost always talk about being part of a team when it comes to discussing accomplishment . While that is probably closer to the truth, remember, they are not interviewing your team. People are only looking at you and your achievements. Speak proudly about you, your skills and achievement. Go on, brag a little, this is your time you shine about how awesome you are!
#8. Study Your Prospective Employer
After Uni, I applied to enter several Graduate Programs. I scored a phone interview with a Global Management Consulting Company. I was told to study about the company, which I did. But little did I know it was more about studying about their technology (which was at the time was something about ‘the cloud’). The interview consisted of several technical questions which I had no idea how to answer. It was embarrassing and I never felt so stupid. I actually was given another chance for another phone interview the next day. I studied again that night and realised that I know jack shit about this whole concept, I never took the second call because I know I would embarrass my self again.
Since then, I made sure I take the time to study as much as I could about my prospective employer and what they do. By the way, Accenture would have been lucky to have me as an employee.
#9. You Cannot Please Everybody
Okay, this is something that you sometimes cannot help. Sometimes the interviewer took an immediate dislike to you the moment they saw you, or the moment they hear your voice or the moment you said something they disagree with. But that’s okay. Be firm with your stance and your sense of self. If they don’t like you because of your stupid face, there’s nothing you can do about that right? I have had a few interviewers who sounded disappointed the moment they hear my accent on the phone because my resume made them think that I’m Australian. I also had a boss who ended up saying ‘I am glad I didn’t listen to XXX who thinks that you are just ‘meh’, I trusted my gut and took you on anyway and I am glad I did and glad you are part of my team’ – it’s the best feeling ever.
#10. Sometimes You Just Have to Hustle
If you really think the job is awesome for you and you want it bad, its okay to make a pitch for them to pick you. Sell yourself, tell them how good you are and how you really think you are a great fit and you can add value to the team. Show them you really would love to give this job a crack and why they should really consider you. They might not say yes right away (or at all), but you know you have given it your best. Sometimes you just have to hustle. I have once negotiated my starting pay this way.
#11. There Is A Difference Between Being Cocky And Confident
Realise that there is a difference between being cocky and being confident. Look, there’s nothing wrong with being a cocky mofo, but you got to make sure you are the best and f**king great at what you do. If you are just so-so, what will get you through the line is your confidence and how you carry yourself. Being confident is knowing what you are talking about but at the same time, is sure of yourself to admit when you don’t know something and admit that, that will be your learning curve.
#12. Network, Network, Network
Network, network, network …and make an impression. Nothing gives you a bigger employment possibility than when someone the interviewer ‘know’ vouch about how awesome you are. Make acquaintances, be genuinely interested in them, see how you can add value to their lives. Where I live now, there is a saying that ‘ when it comes to getting a job ….it’s who you know, not what you know’.
To Sum Up
If there is one lesson you could take out of this, it is that job interview is a two-way street. If any it should lean more towards you as you only have one life. You must make sure your job is going to change your life for the better (not just monetary wise) . Especially since the effect on you is greater than the employer. Knowledge on yourself and your skills translate to power and confidence which comes across as value adding factor for the employer.