How to prepare yourself for a job interview
It doesn't matter how many times you go for a job interview, you can only get better if you take the advice of the professionals who know the first things a potential employer will be looking for.
Tim (not his real name) is an experienced job search skills trainer used by Centrelink around Melbourne to help groups of people identify suitable jobs, get their resumes into shape and guide them through the steps in a job interview. He has some supportive, handy tips. He says we have all been knocked back for a job. Most of us have put in many applications. Very often we either don't get a reply to come in for an interview, or lose the job to another person who also put in for it. It doesn't mean someone is better than you are. What it could mean, though, is the person who got an offer was better prepared. It could have been that you were distracted for a moment, or you didn't really have the skills the ad clearly asked for. Maybe there was someone just that little bit more suited to the job or company. So stop blaming yourself.
Get Serious and sharpen up!
It is important that you get serious about how to be at your best. That way, you'll feel confident when you face the person who is looking for a good fit for the job you're after. According to Tim, below are the important things to put your efforts into before you front up.
- Arrive early to the appointment: Make sure you work out how much time you need to get to the appointment so you are not flustered. You can then sit and refocus while you wait to be called for your interview.
- Look your best and act professionally: A day or so before the interview decide what will look presentable for the job you are going for. In the job interview, focus on what the interviewer is saying to you and make eye contact. Bring your attention to what is being said to you. Stay focused and do not look aimlessly around the room.
- Bring an extra resume and cover letter: That will mean you will have extra copies if you need it.
- Be confident: When you prepare for your interview in advance, you will have thought things through so you don't feel frazzled and unprepared.
- Be enthusiastic: You want the job and feel you can do it, so show you are interested. Let them see you are positive and are prepared to put in your energy.
- Have a good understanding of the job qualifications and requirements: Read through the job description carefully, and then decide if you have the skills the employer wants. Are you sure you know and can do what is asked for? If you want to know more, there is often a phone number and the name of someone at the bottom of the ad that you can get further information from.
- Practice: Go over some of the tasks you have outlined in your resume so you feel comfortable talking at the interview about what you have achieved when the time comes.
- Be prepared – with questions: Do some research on the company. Make them see you are interested in the firm and the job.
- Follow up – If you don't get the job, put in a polite call to the interviewer for feedback. Ask if it's possible if the interviewer can briefly tell you how you went, both negative and positive things. Constructive criticism will help you sharpen your skills and help you communicate your strengths for the job you're going for.
Next in our Interview Skills series, 'Giving the right answers'.
For more information on jobs for people with disabilities, visit the Job Access website, http://jobaccess.gov.au/content/disability-work.
To read more about the Victorian State Disability Plan, visit https://www.divine.vic.gov.au/rights-and-policies/victorian-state-disability-plan.