Research, research, research!
First things first…. you hear of a job opening that you really want to apply for and most people will simply go to their laptop and apply… BUT there are a few vital steps missing in that process, namely the research! You want to find out about their business in the following ways.
What does their business do? This will tell you the industry they’re in and you should know if that industry is in downturn or growing. You should also know this because it may add key points that you can add to your resume to let them know you are interested in their industry.
Does their mission statement align with your core beliefs? This is important for longevity in a position. If their visions and values do not align with your personal views then you are unlikely to enjoy your time working for them. In turn, you won’t succeed to the levels you could and ultimately will leave ahead of schedule.
Are they formal or more relaxed, and does that suit your personality? some industries are more formal than others… Banks and the likes are obvious formal workplaces, they thrive on KPI’s and deadlines. Smaller business and more creative businesses tend to be slightly more relaxed. Assess you personal preference before applying.
Who works there and who will be liekly to interview you? LinkedIn is an amazing tool, you can check out the HR manager of the business you are applying for. It’s even more helpful if the advertisement lists who it is that will be interviewing. This way you can check them out, find out any personal/professional interests and incorporate at the interview.
Reviews from employees, from clients and general word of mouth? GOOOOOOOOGLE is your friend….go nuts! SEEK also have an employee review section now, check it out! Make sure that there aren’t any public red flags from employees.
Are they currently in the news, is this good or bad? Particularly important if you plan on being a frontline member of their business, as you could be dealing with complaints etc as part of this. Also important for anyone applying for PR/Communication based roles…you will need to know what you are walking into and let them know how you can help with that!
Do you view them as an employer of choice or necessity? Finally, decide if you want a job because of money ( which is sometimes necessary!!) or if you are seeking your dream job. Whatever you decide, make sure the role and their business reflect that!
First Impressions DO count!
A professional resume is of the utmost importance. Especially when Hiring managers take on average 6 seconds to decide yes….or no!
Social Media profiles need to be on private or show only generic boring photos. HR Managers will generally check you out on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter to gain better understanding of your personality.
Appearance needs to be professional / geared towards the role you are interviewing for. I suggest keeping this outfit washed and ironed, ready for each interview. Be careful not to over accessorise or wear too much perfume / make up.
Body Language is important in an interview and while I’m no expert in this field…. I am quite self aware… I know that folding arms closes you off to another person and sitting too far back and relaxed will show you are too casual and not all that interested. You want to make sure to keep a good amount of eye contact, actively listen and sit a little forward to show you are keen and interested in the role.
ALWAYS get there 10 minutes before the designated time!!!! If this means driving by the location the day before to get an understanding of parking arrangements, how long it will take to get there and where the location is….then so be it. It really is a small price to pay for being on time and showing you are reliable!
Listen to understand….not just to respond! So many people will merely listen to an interviewer only to respond…. not taking the time to ask questions and understand. When you effectively engage with your interviewer, you are showing your ability to understand complex situations, your interest in being hired, that you are already picturing yourself in the role (and they will too). It also means that you are interviewing them to ensure this is the role for you! Hell, my last interview turned into a 1 hour brainstorming session about growing their business in a new area.
Relevant questioning?? Always have 5 or 6 questions ready to go… and if they answer them all throughout the interview (like they should) tick them off in your head and have a back up that they can’t answer like “What else can I provide you with to show my suitability for this role?”
Last Impressions ALSO count! Leave them wanting more!! How you leave them feeling is how they will remember you and how they will refer to you whilst deciding who to hire. If you don’t look them in the eye and only give them a weak handshake, they are not likely to hire you… However if you maintain eye contact, tell them it was a pleasure to meet them and thank them for their time…. well you get the picture. Those last 20 seconds can make all the difference
A few golden rules!
Wait for the interviewer to bring up remuneration unless it hasn’t been discussed or advertised or you are applying for a sales based role
Do not swear during an interview! (I can’t believe I have to say that)
Treat a recruiter the same way you would the employer