Far too many people go into job interviews underprepared and for the person hiring, it shows. You wouldn’t try and win a running race without practicing before, so if you want to win the job you’ve applied for, it’s important to prepare.
There is always room to improve your interview skills and if you’re ready to put the work into doing this, then your chance of getting the job will increase tenfold.
Preparing for interviews doesn’t only include doing your research on the company and role (although these are important things too). We recommend you take the time to think through your strengths and achievements and make two lists:
1. What makes you good at your job?
Ask yourself what your potential employer is wanting from someone in the position they are looking to fill and mirror these things. Some of this may seem so obvious that it is not worth mentioning – but it is. If you are getting a job as a Property Lawyer, highlight your knowledge of Property Law. If you are a Tax Accountant, highlight your strength with tax returns.
The person hiring needs to be convinced that you are going to be able to perform the job they are employing you for. The key here is in emphasising your knowledge-based skills.
Consider the following to get your list started:
- Specifics of the role you currently perform
- The variety in the clients you have dealt with (such as size and industry type)
- Managerial responsibilities
- Ability to handle jobs and projects autonomously with minimal input from people above you
- Software and technology strengths
- Networking and business development experience
2. What are your personality strengths?
You can be very good at your job but if people don’t like you, they are not going to hire you.
Consider the following:
- Do you get on well with everyone internally? From administrative staff to those below and above you?
- Do the people that report to you respect you and seek you out for help? Have you got examples of people that you have helped grow and move up the ranks within the organisation?
- Are you trusted and respected by the people above you? Is this evidenced by your own promotions and responsibilities?
- Do clients like dealing with you and would they be disappointed that you are leaving?
- Are you a part of the social culture of the business? This may include attending functions that the company puts on, or playing in the company sporting team.
- What transferable skills or soft skills do you excel at? Soft skills are interpersonal skills that are vital components to your success in the workplace. They include: communications skills, emotional intelligence, dedication, honesty, creativity, ability to work in a team and leadership.
- Is there anything you are proud of outside of work, such as keeping healthy, playing in sporting teams, artistic pursuits or charity work? Just remember to be careful of saying anything here that may create the impression that work isn’t your number one priority. For example, employers are weary of staff that run a side business or compete in sports at high levels that require strict training schedules that can’t be shifted if needed.