CAREER FILES: Lesser known tips for acing a job interview

When it comes to interviews, what are some lesser known tips for acing an interview?

Before you’ve even arrived, one of the biggest things you can work on is your presentation, particularly if it's an online interview. It's critical to still be dressed up, even if the person conducting the interview is very casual. They most likely work from home all day so they're in casual attire. Don’t use them as an example of what is appropriate to wear - always dress to impress. I think that's the biggest thing - wearing something that's appropriate. Nothing too low cut. If you’ve got a white background, maybe not a white top where you’ll blend in.

For online interviews I’d also say make sure there's no noise. If you have to go and do the interview in the bathroom, because that's the quietest room in the house, that’s what you’ve got to do. But your presentation is probably the most important aspect to bear in mind because it just sets you up for success right from the start.

In terms of lesser known tips, a lot of people really struggle with the question, ‘what are your strengths?’ So prepare for that one. Another tip would be to speak very clearly and slowly. A lot of people get nervous and speed up. But particularly now when a lot of interviews are online, with unpredictable internet connections, you don't want your sentences to be breaking up. So speak slowly and clearly. If you miss a question, say ‘do you mind repeating that question’ or ‘apologies I just missed that, can you please explain that again’ so you can actually hear.

Even when you're face to face, people will mumble when they ask you questions. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I actually didn’t get all of that. Do you mind just repeating the end of that?’ so that you can answer the question with confidence.

It's also critical to know about an organisation and what they do. In every interview they will ask, ‘what do you know about our organisation and why do you want to work with us’? You've got to be able to answer that and have knowledge of the company and articulate that you have done your research. Then if you’ve set yourself up well, gotten along with the interviewer and showcased your skills, it will be down to your skills and industry experience.

Personality does play a factor but being able to sort of mimic the person you’re meeting with and somewhat mirroring their behaviour will hold you in good stead. For instance, if they’re quiet, ensuring you’re not too loud. Just be on their level. They’ll set the expectations and guidelines on how things should run.

They may ask questions about your interests and things like that to get a sense of your personality but ultimately if you are the right fit, you'll get the job. You just have to be very true to yourself and answer to the best of your ability.

There are times when you’ll apply for roles and not hear back. Patience here is critical. If it’s not meant to be, it's not meant to be. Often, you’ll look back and it will be a blessing in disguise, although at the time you might be quite disheartened because you really wanted that job.

Ultimately if you were true to yourself, you did a lot of preparation and performed to the best of your ability in the interview, then you should have no regrets. If you don't get it, then it's very unfortunate, but you just have to look back on it and have that resilience and patience to go, okay, I'm going to try and get it on the next one.

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