9 Interview Tips To Help Land Your Dream Job (Or Promotion)
So, you’ve managed to score yourself an interview for your dream job or promotion. Congrats! The big day is looming and you’re in need of some solid interview tips to help you put your best foot forward.
These nine interview tips from career coach and recruiter, Stephanie Ellul (pictured below) from General Assembly, are exactly what you need to help practice and prepare. Use these simple tips and you'll be on your way to having the best interview of your life – and hopefully walk out with your new dream job or promotion!
1. Preparation is key
Showing up to your interview well prepared is a good way to impress an interviewer. It’s a good idea to research everything about the role so that the interviewer sees you’re interested in the company and excited by the role.
Read up on information about projects that the company has worked on, its clients and any news stories that it’s been involved in. LinkedIn and the Google News search function are great ways to contextualise a business within its industry. Memorise a bit about the company and find a way to work these talking points into the conversation even if it doesn’t naturally tend that way. This is your time to show what you know, so take the conversation there.
2. Practise, practise, practise
There’s really no way around this one. If you want to wow them at your interview, you’ll need to put in the time to practice commonly asked behavioural questions. A quick Google search will reveal endless lists of commonly asked interview questions. While you cannot prepare an answer for everything, you can do your best to cultivate responses to the most common questions, which can be re-purposed on the spot to answer any rogue questions fired your way. Having specific examples is the key to acing these types of questions.
3. Use the 'STAR' method
Use the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method when designing your answers to behavioural questions.
1. First, describe the situation you were in.
2. Explain what the specific task you needed to perform was.
3. Talk about what action you took to respond to the situation
4. What was the outcome or result
4. Put the job description to use
The job description will be your most powerful tool to help prepare for your interview. Interviewers usually draw most of their questions from this document, so use it to help get ready for specific questions that might be asked. As an exercise, try turning the list of requirements into questions and come up with example answers of how you have demonstrated these skills in the past.
Tip: job descriptions that are posted on webpages (rather than as downloadable PDFs) are often removed once the job application window closes. To ensure you don’t get caught out preparing without one, save a digital copy of the job description for every job you apply for, just in case you get an interview.
5. Arm yourself with the right tools
It’s important to have all your materials prepared in advance of the interview. Make sure to check with the interviewer if there’s anything specific you’ll need to bring or prepare for. As a rule of thumb, take a printed copy of your CV with you. You probably won’t need it but it’s good to have on hand just in case. If you’re going for a job within the tech or creative industries, a portfolio (either hardcopy or digital) is a powerful resource to showcase your experience.
6. Find out everything you can about the interview
Don’t be afraid to call or email the person who’ll be conducting the interview to ask them what the interview will entail. This is a step many people fail to take but it’s also one of the best things you can do to psychologically and practically prepare. Find out what kind of interview you’re in for – will it be a group interview, interview by panel or phone? How people will be there? Will there be a test element that you’ll need to complete? Additionally, will you be interviewed on the basis of technical, behavioural or cultural fit? It’s likely you’ll be informed if your interview will be more than the traditional face-to-face, but ask anyway so you aren’t caught off guard.
7. Plan your journey
Wouldn’t it be tragic if you did all this preparation only to be late through the door? Always plan your journey ahead and factor in a 30-minute cushion to account for any possible delays. One word of warning, if you plan to drive, avoid asking your interviewer where you should park your car. You’re being assessed at every stage of the recruitment process, so asking this question may give the interviewer the impression that you lack initiative.
8. Dress to impress
What you should wear to your interview is dictated by the dress code of the company. For example, an interview at a corporate organisation where the day-to-day attire is business professional should be followed suit (pun intended). If you’re interviewing at a digital or creative agency, you can probably go a little less formal – but still dress to impress! If you’re really unsure as to the dress code, check out the vibe on the company’s website, especially on the staff page. When it comes to dressing down a little, it helps to think about what you’d wear to Friday night drinks with your colleagues. And if all else fails just remember: when in doubt, dress conservative.
9. It’s going to be fine, just act natural
Last but not least, when the nerves hit, just keep in mind that your interviewer (and hopefully your future manager/colleague) is a person too. Engage in the conversation as you would anyone else; ask questions and let them know if you’re feeling nervous. They are probably interviewing numerous candidates, so being up front and honest about the situation will make for a more enjoyable experience for all. Just be your natural, amazing self because this is the best way to help them see that you’re authentic, memorable and someone they’d be happy to work with. Good luck out there!