Interview tips to impress with during your next job-hunt

They say death, divorce and moving house are the most stressful situations you can find yourself in.

But, as HR Manager, I can add a fourth… going for an interview.

Whether it is your first interview or your 100th, it always seems to keep you up the night before with your stomach in knots. But interviewing for a small team has taught me a few valuable lessons about answering those tough questions and making a great impression on the hiring manager.

The first (and probably only) lesson is to be prepared.

Don’t underestimate how obvious this may seem, nor how often even a little prep is neglected. Thirty minutes researching the company you’re interviewing with will come in very handy when you’re asked: "Why do you want to work for us?".

When faced with this question, use this opportunity to show them that you already know what they do and how you can envision yourself making a positive impact. If the company recently hosted a training event, mention that you appreciate them investing in their employees. We want to see that you can be 'part of the family' and that you really care about what we do. Please don’t ever say you want to work for a company because you need the money. *facepalm*

But another important part of your pre-interview preparation should be some self-reflection.

Despite new, off-beat questions popping up in interviews, hiring managers will have their favourites such as "Tell us more about yourself" and "What is your greatest weakness/strengths?". Don’t launch into your life story and keep your answer professional and succinct. As hiring managers, we’re interested in your skills and if you will be a good fit for the company.

One proven way to illustrate your successful projects, skills or techniques is by using the STAR method. Situation, Task, Action & Result.

These types of questions will show your interviewer that you not only know yourself but you also how you can add value to our team. And trust me, "working overtime too much" is not a weakness. Don’t use clichés to make your weakness seem like a strength. Rather own up to it and tell us how you are overcoming your weaknesses. This gives the impression that you are mature, emotionally intelligent and proactive about becoming a better person and employee.

This seems like a lot, but don’t let your nerves get the better of you. Remember, you won’t be invited for an interview if your CV didn’t impress. The interview is the opportunity for you to let your personality shine. After all, you’re hoping to work with us, so we like to see the real you as well as talking about your professional skills.

One way to communicate your skills and contribution to your previous team without feeling overwhelmed is to refer to examples. One proven way to illustrate your successful projects, skills or techniques is by using the STAR method:

Situation: Give some context to the story you’re about to tell or the challenge you had to face.

Task: Describe what you were doing and if you faced any challenges whilst doing it.

Action: Then explain the actions you took to complete the task and how you tackled any challenges you faced.

Results: Finally, reveal the outcome. Ideally, this should demonstrate your skills, what you achieved and also anything you learnt from the situation.

Keep this method in mind and come up with a few go-to examples prior to your interview. If you’ve done your research, you can easily link and tailor these answers to the role you are interviewing for.

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of your interview! Now comes the last question: "Do You Have Any Questions For Me?".

Around 75 per cent of job seekers will say “No, I think that’s everything” to this question. And that’s a terrible response 100% of the time. This is your last opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and passion for the company, so be prepared with a few questions you can refer to.

Focus your questions on the company and what you can do for them. If you had a great interview and asked questions throughout the interview, you might genuinely have nothing to ask. As hiring managers, we appreciate it if you can tell us that you had a certain question but that it’s been answered.

Now it’s up to you to go an conquer your next interview with confidence!

Abraham Ong

HR & Office Manager | Vital Corporate Solutions