Selection interviews are still the most common way of appointing new staff.
If you are the candidate, your objective is to persuade those hiring that you are the best person for the job.
Having been interviewed many times myself and interviewed loads of applicants and helped clients do better in job interviews, I believe that there are 5 things that you must be able to demonstrate in job interviews:
- Experience so that you can step into the role and make an impact from day one. Remember you are unlikely to be able to show experience in every aspect of the job but look for areas where you have something similar to what is required. Remember too that you never want to go into a new job being able to do 100% of the job on day 1. There has to be an element of growth and development in the job.
- Results and achievements. Too often candidates focus on talking about their responsibilities rather than what they have delivered in terms of results. Yes employers want to know what you can do. What’s equally important is what you have contributed. This in my experience is where the majority of job applicants fail. I’ve seen people at all levels from those at junior levels to seasoned professionals really struggle to articulate key career achievements.
- Potential. Recruiting someone is expensive so it is important to demonstrate that you have the potential to grow and progress within the organisation. The way in which you answer questions about the organisation or the sector in which it operates is one way to demonstrate potential. Highlighting opportunities for the sector based on prior experience is another way of demonstrating potential.
- Fit. Employers want to know that you can get on with others and work successfully as part of a team. Know what you will bring to the team. Think about examples of times when you worked really effectively as part of a team. Be clear about the type of people and organisation you will prosper in.
- Confidence. At interviews we are all nervous. Being confident is about knowing and believing that you have something to offer. The way you interact during the interview and handle challenging questions demonstrates confidence. It’s also really important to keep the job interview in perspective. It’s not life or death. The worst that can happen is you don’t get the job offer (and this happens to everyone from time to time)
Job interviews are not always predictable but I believe that you can increase your chances of success by focusing on the above areas.
Of course the real work takes place before you get anywhere near the job interview. So make sure you really focus on your preparation for the job interview too.