How to Ace Interviews – Tips from UniGrad

With high school coming to an end for the year, the number one priority for many students is to find a job over some to earn some spending money. With so many other recently graduated Year 12 students on the hunt for work over the break, getting a job can be tough, so it is critical that you excel in any interviews that you may receive. To help you make the transition from school, into casual work over the summer, the team at UNIGRAD, Australia’s premier specialist in helping students find graduate work have put together critical tips on how to ace your interview, and leave the interviewer begging for more!

The biggest key to any form of success, whether an exam, a sporting event, or even a date, is preparation.  Just like you guys probably do a quick set of 50 push ups or you ladies spend time removing and styling your hair before picking up your date, you need to get your facts straight, your answers in check and your appearance on par.  Start by investigating the interview location.  The last thing you need to do on the day is get lost and show up late.  Check the map, check the traffic and plan to arrive early.  This process will take 5 minutes and save you plenty of stress.  Next, see if you can find out who you will be meeting with.  This will help in the next step, which is research.  Many talk about it, but not many do it.  From the local paper to the infinite internet, there is enough information out there to strangle an elephant so get your hands on some of it and dazzle your interviewer with knowledge of not only the company, but them as well.  Definitely throw some related current events in the mix.  Think along the lines of any major takeovers or policy changes that could directly effect the company.  Check briefly what the dress code for the office is and ensure you plan to dress one level up from that.  Next up, prepare anything you are supposed to bring.  If they have requested a portfolio, make sure it is up to date, sharp, and easy to navigate.  This means YOU should know exactly where everything is in it.  It will be helpful to ask questions about the format of the interview to know if you will be one on one, with a group of candidates or before the board of directors.  Will there be any kind of testing involved?  Remember to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more…and then do a little preparation.

Do your research and get to know your potential employers

Preparation complete.  You’ve made it to the office on time, you’ve made charming small talk with the receptionist and other candidates, you’ve spiked the really sharp looking one’s water and you’re ready to go into the interview room.  Your name is called and you immediately perspire.  STOP!  Take a deep breath and steady yourself.  Feign as if you are checking to ensure you haven’t left anything and just remind yourself that you are a high quality candidate that looks sharp, knows the business and has the skills to get the job done.  Now turn to face your challenge, put on your best smile and get in there!  Once inside, make eye contact with each individual in the room.  This lets them all know you have acknowledged their presence.  If you can, shake everyone’s hand to make a more intimate connection.  Don’t kid yourself, the handshake will be critical and for tips on how to nail it, go to unigrad.com.au/handshakes.   Over the next 5-30 minutes, as they grill you on your past, present and future, stay strong and confident.  If a question sways you, no one will think less of you for taking a second to consider your answer.  Besides, it is an age-old story telling technique that pausing for a second or two before delivering your reply (or anecdote) will spike the listener’s anticipation and key them in on your answer.  Be sure to put yourself on display.  Cite key examples of previous performance, as this will be the best window into your potential.  Don’t try to hide anything or fudge any numbers.  Be honest and forthright and let them know all the great skills you possess.  One little indicator interviewers will use is asking if you have any questions for them.  It only shows preparation if you do.  Make sure to have a couple general back ups in your pocket as well in case they answer all your queries through the interview.

Okay, the inquisition is over and now you can relax…but you aren’t finished just yet.  You need to make sure you leave with the same professionalism that you entered with.  You may want to revisit an area of the interview that you felt you didn’t completely nail and provide a quick explanation of your experience or perspective on that point.  Ask for clarification on what happens from here.  Most will give you a date they will make a decision by.  Will they contact you no matter what or only if you are successful?  Finish with a smile, making eye contact with everyone, shaking hands if the situation permits and thanking everyone for their time and the opportunity.  You may want to follow this up with a handwritten thank you note in the days to follow.  This might seem excessively keen, but you are, aren’t you?  This will also keep your details top of mind.  Now the waiting game starts and hard as it might be, you have to avoid the urge to contact them until at least the date of their decision and more appropriately, a day or two following.

Acing the job interview always feels great

The above only scratches the surface of hints and tips for performing your best in the interview but it is definitely a very good start and the process need not be that complicated.  By heeding the advice given, you increase your chances of selection significantly and at this stage, you want to do exactly that!  If you have any further queries, you can contact UNIGRAD at adam@unimail.com.au or check our student resources section of unigrad.com.au.

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5 Comments

  1. pharmacon says:

    i went to a job interview last week and was late by 15 minutes. they didnt even want to interview me after =x

  2. Jchan says:

    What sort of job were you going after? That was not very nice of them

  3. Adam says:

    Pharmacon…harsh lesson but a lesson nonetheless. We can often have unforeseen circumstances that makes us late like traffic, car trouble, etc. It is important that you do your best to eliminate these possibilities but of course, some are out of your hands. Were you given a chance to explain? What DID happen?

  4. pharmacon says:

    @jchan – it was an admin role for a law firm
    @adam – not really, they were not that impressed. lesson learnt is to always ask for a contact number when they first call you asking you to come in for an interview. i hate you cityrail!

  5. Kon says:

    That happened to me before too, you forget to take down the interviewee’s phone number and that can cause alot of issues, especially when you’re running late. A good counter is just to rock up an hour early in anticipation of public transport delays

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