By Mia Casey
The New Year is a popular time for people to start making changes in their lives, and a change of career (or career status) is a popular choice. This is similar for employers as well – a lot of companies use the New Year as a time to take stock and start looking at hiring new people. If this is you, and you’re currently in the process of applying for new work, then it may be time to start preparing for the next step: the interview. They may not be the most enjoyable element of the job search process, but mastering your interview technique is essential in landing your next dream role. So! Here are a few quick tips to help ensure you’re prepared for your next job interview.
Build your brand
To generalise, people seem to fall into two categories: those who know who they are and what they want, and those who are still a bit unsure. You want to be the former.
Developing and knowing your brand is essential for any successful job interview. It dictates how the interviewer sees you, how you present your responses, and how confident you come across. Your brand is who you are, what you stand for, your passions, and your interests. Think about what you’re really good at, and what areas need improvement. Being self-aware and knowing which areas you excel at cannot only help you appear more self-assured, but also help you think of how you want to answer certain questions.
When you’re in a job interview you’re not having a chat with a friend, you’re selling something: you. The interviewer may be the loveliest person in the world, and the two of you may become close friends, but in an interview you’re there to convince that person that you’re right for the job. A bit daunting, but true. This means preparing for an interview goes beyond simply practising and answering the questions (although that is also super important).
You need to think about what the interviewer is looking for, what you have to offer, and how you’re going to communicate that. If they ask you to talk a bit about yourself, be confident in your response and tailor it to the job you’re applying for. Obviously include a bit of yourself in there (you can’t just repeat the company’s mission statement!), but think about what values you share with the company, and draw on them in your response. Just keep asking yourself: Who am I, where do I succeed, and what can I do for this company?
Don’t forget that they’re human too
Interviewers are human, and therefore flawed. Humans are prone to making split-second decisions, relying on first impressions, and have their own unique implicit prejudices. To help you navigate this minefield, you really do need to do your research. If you know who they are, check out the interviewers’ profiles – either on their company website, or on LinkedIn. See what posts they share, what ideas they value, and their own career trajectory. You can get a good idea of who a person is from even the most basic bit of research, and doing so can potentially help you better understand an interviewer’s drive and motivations.
The other thing you need to remember is to not take things personally. Chances are, interviewers need to see dozens of applicants within a short space of time, which may mean they have to be a bit blunter than usual conversation will allow. This often will have nothing to do with you, so don’t let it discourage you! You’re great, they’re great, the situation is just stressful.
Don’t give up
This may not be your first interview for this round of job applications, so an important step in preparing for your next one is reminding yourself not to give up. Take each interview – whether successful or not – as an opportunity to practice your technique, learn new ways to connect with employers, and increase your confidence. After all, if you’ve done it before then it’s not that hard to do it again, right? It’ll also help you figure some of the more common interview questions for your field, which is a great resource to help you prepare.
Ashwini Mrinal Bhagat went on 32 job interviews before she landed the job. 32! Luckily, she didn’t beat herself up over her failures but instead looked at each interview as a way to learn more so she could be better in her next one. Check out her TED Talk below, as she talks about what she learned from the process:
Job interviews are tough, but so are you! With some preparation and perseverance you can ace your next interview – so get practising, and good luck!
If you’re a UTS Nursing or Midwifery student looking to improve your interview and employability skills, sign up for Health Horizons. This program gives you the chance to learn the skills needed to perfect your interview technique, navigate the graduate application process, and successfully transition to professional practice. Application forms need to be completed before 5pm on Friday, 10th February 2017, so get yours in quick as spaces are limited!
UTS Nursing or Midwifery student? Apply for Health Horizons today!
Featured image courtesy of Death to The Stock Photo (photo by Ray Kang)