The interview process is an important element of your job search. It provides the opportunity for an employer to measure your suitability to a role, and for the candidate to learn more about the company and the role they’re applying for. In this post, we’ll offer some advice on the full interview process, from preparation to leaving a lasting impression.
Research the company | Interview preparation
Before the interview, research the company that you’re interviewing with. This can often easily be done by visiting their website. A helpful tip is to take notes as you browse their site.
Look for information about the company values, services, and anything else that’s important to them. Knowing what the employer values can help you to understand what they’re looking for in an employee and this can give you key insights into how best to present yourself during the interview.
You should also note down any questions that you have regarding the role, however avoid topics like pay and specifics of hours. These matters will be addressed in the final stages of this interview, or at a second interview depending on the employer and should only be discussed if the employer initiates the conversation.
Where possible, it’s a good idea to visit and experience the business. For example, if you’re applying for a job at a retail store, it would be beneficial for you to visit the store and answer the following questions from your experience; What do they sell? How do they dress? How do they speak? This will help you understand more about the business from a day-to-day level. It can also influence the way you dress and present yourself for the interview.
A great tip is to imagine the question; “Tell me about >insert business name here<” being asked by the interviewer. If you can answer that, you’re well on your way to a successful interview.
Making sure your appearance is right for the interview
Appearance is an important factor to consider when you’re preparing for an interview. Presenting well will put you ahead of other candidates as interviewers will be imagining you interacting with their customers, particularly in the retail, sales, and hospitality industries.
Generally speaking, you should present yourself in a professional manner, be dressed in suitable attire, and ensure you are well groomed. For the vast majority of companies, a suit or other typical business attire is acceptable.
Arriving at the interview
Aim to arrive at the site of the interview approximately 10 minutes before the agreed time. Should you arrive earlier than this, it’s a good idea to find a seat somewhere nearby and read through your research notes for some final preparation.
Arriving too early can be just as bad as arriving late and can be seen as rude or unprofessional. If traffic, public transport or any other factor outside your control will cause you to be late, you should call (if safe to do so) and let the interviewer know as soon as possible.
Making a good first impression
When you arrive at the interview location, it’s likely that you’ll first speak to somebody at a reception desk, or another member of staff, not necessarily the interviewer. You should introduce yourself to this person and explain why you’re there and who you’re there to see.
For example, “Hello, my name’s John Smith, I’m here for an interview with Greg Mills”. This shows professionalism, confidence, and good interpersonal skills. When meeting the interviewer, it’s best practice to shake their hand and offer a pleasant greeting, such as; “Hi Greg, nice to meet you”.
During the interview
During the interview, you can expect the interviewer to ask you questions about yourself, both personally and professionally, and to explain the company and the role in more detail. Remember to listen carefully and absorb the information. When it’s your turn to speak, try and speak clearly and answer the question in a friendly but succinct manner.
Remember that this is a two-way street – you’re here to learn about the role and whether it’s right for you and the interviewer is here to learn more about you and your suitability for the role. Asking questions (that you wrote down during your research) is a great way to show that you’re interested in the role, and in learning more about the business.
Concluding the interview and leaving a lasting impression
Once the interview has concluded, shake hands with your interviewer and thank them for their time. For example, “thanks for time today Greg, it was nice to meet you”.
More often than not, a decision to employ you will not be made during the first interview, so you shouldn’t feel disheartened if you’re not offered the role immediately. There are generally other candidates to interview, so allowing a week for a response from an employer is quite normal.
MTC Australia are dedicated to helping job seekers find, and keep a job. Preparing for interviews is an example of the training we offer to best assist you with your job search. Through MTC’s interview training, you’ll gain the confidence and knowledge to represent yourself as a desirable candidate for the employer. Explore the range of Employment Services available