Walking into an interview often feels similar to walking the plank. You can be one of two types of people in an interview: a worrier or a warrior. And, since most of us haven’t mastered the Jack Sparrow escape route, we either freak out and fidget or get through it with shining colors.
According to Carol Kanna, the Careers and Employment Officer at the Australian Institute of Professional Education (AIPE), “first impressions are key, and it’s imperative you make a great first impression.” Kanna furthers our insight by stating, “It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed,” so leave your thongs and singlet at home for another occasion.
Always start by looking in the mirror. Guys, it’s all about a solid-coloured suit. Think dark grey or navy. Consider what your suit says about you before you even begin the interview. Heads up, don’t wear white socks. Seriously gents, this is a PSA that no matter if they’re Hugo Boss or Calvin Klein make sure it’s dark socks and leather shoes. And don’t overdo it on the aftershave or deodorant. Interviewers can’t always smell fear, but they can smell if you’ve sprayed yourself enough to become 90% aftershave, 10% you. Girls, wear a conservative dress, one that reaches to your knees or just above, or a sophisticated look of nice pants, tucked-in shirt, and blazer. Remember to choose sensible shoes. You don’t want to be falling over on your way there or when you get up at the end of the interview. Heels may make your legs look amazing, but you won’t be looking so amazing if you’re falling all over the place. Limit the amount of jewellery you wear to the interview, as it will detract from what you have to say.
“Make sure you now which job you are being interviewed for. It may sound silly, but perhaps you’ve applied for numerous jobs and could get confused,” advises Carol. Research is also important. You don’t want to stumble over the question “What do you know about the company?” You won’t be the only one cringing at your response if you start talking and don’t know where you’re going with the answer. There’s always a time at the end of an interview where the interviewer asks if you have any questions. This is your moment. Write some questions down the night before so you’re ready with some awesomesauce questions. Examples we’re keen on include, “What are the most important skills for someone in this position?” or “What is the company culture like?”
Don’t be late.
“Be there 15 minutes before the interview, just in case you need to complete any forms. And don’t bring anyone with you,” says Carol. It’d be super weird if you rocked up to the interview with your mum. It’d be even more awkward if you brought a whole cheer squad with banners and music and the whole nine yards. Also, try to avoid #strugglestreet by making sure you know exactly where the company is before you try to get there.
Don’t be boring.
According to Carol, the most-asked question in an interview is, “So, tell me a little bit about yourself?” This is to get you talking, but remember this isn’t an interview for someone writing your memoirs. Keep it light and professional instead of long and boring. Your next potential employer doesn’t need to hear about last week’s rage fest with the mates. Doing your research on the company also means doing your research about the job you’re applying for and the industry it’s in. Try using terms like ‘communication’, ‘multitask’, ‘innovation’ and ‘problem solving’ when talking about yourself. Research. Research. Research. The more you know before the interview the more impressive you’ll be as a potential employee.
The most undervalued resource for an interview is a good sleep the night before. Don’t stress too much about it. You’re amazing and, if you use these tips, they’ll think so too.
The Australian Institute of Professional Education (AIPE) extends a warm invitation for you to consider furthering your education at our innovative institute centrally-located in the centre of Sydney, or from the comfort of your home or office through our online e-Learning portal, AIPE Connect.