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My next move: How do I maximise my chance of success at a job interview?
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My next move: How do I maximise my chance of success at a job interview?

You have secured a job interview; congratulations! Securing an interview is an achievement in itself. It is a cautious, employer-driven market at the moment and employers are seeking to match their job briefs more tightly than ever before.

You have your foot in the door, but now you need to shine to secure the role. In this market, you will need to match your experience to the role and bridge any gaps in your experience.

To maximise your chance of success, you need to do your due diligence before the interview. Review the ad and any other information you have on the role. Research online for information on the employer and the interviewers, and check out any recent articles or press releases. (On the online topic, also ensure your LinkedIn profile is professional, honest and consistent with your CV.) If a recruiter has submitted you, they can generally provide information about the team you will be working with and the company/firm.

You can then prepare relevant, intelligent questions to ask at the interview. The answers you receive will assist you in determining whether the role is right for you.

Know your CV and take a copy to the interview. You will need to confidently talk about your experience and key achievements. When asked about your experience, gear your response towards the responsibilities of the role you are interviewing for. Be ready to explain reasons for previous career moves as well as account for any gaps.

Be prepared to talk about your strengths and weaknesses, and provide examples of good performance. Often, behavioural-based questions are asked to gauge how you will perform in particular situations. Think of examples where you can respond using the STAR method (set out the Situation, Task, Action you took and the Result). Ensure that you articulate your genuine interest in the role.

On the day of the interview, arrive around five to 10 minutes early. Generally, lateness will be a strike against your name (so remember to allocate time for traffic or work meetings running overtime). Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and a natural smile.

Some traps to avoid include:

Don’t waffle. Waffling can be seen as poor time management. Give complete but succinct answers to questions.

Don’t try to negotiate a salary package during the early stages of the interview process. The employer generally has a set budget range and bargaining is not helpful.

Don’t speak poorly about current or former employers. If asked “why do you want to leave your employer?”, be positive and answer the question based on the work provided, your involvement in matters, your need for career and professional development, and the environment you now seek.

In an interview, you need to show why you are right for the role. Prepare so that you can confidently articulate how your experience fits with the job brief.

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