Prepare for your job interview

The hour that you spend in your job interview could be the most important hour that you ever spend. This is because your job interview is the time frame that you have to get that job that you really want. You need to have some winning strategies in place so that when you’re sitting in that interview room you put every minute to good use.

Be as prepared as you can for any number of questions that come your way and you need to have the right answers at your fingertips so that you exude self confidence and credibility. One of your main goals in your job interview is to stand out from the rest of the people who are applying for the same position. One of the ways that you can do this is by finding out as much as you can about the company that you want to work for and the position that you’re applying for. The more knowledgeable you sound about the job that you want the better the impression you’ll leave with your interviewer. You could visit the organisation personally or via their website to find specific details about the organisation.

Another way to impress is with your body language as the interviewer will usually sum you up within the first 5 seconds with either a favourable impression or a poor impression. Dressing well in clean, smart and semi-formal attire will leave you in good stead to impress. Ensure that you have a firm handshake and as you approach the interviewer have an outstretched hand which is slightly palm up. This is an appropriate gesture (as deemed by body language experts) which conveys that you respect their power in that situation.

During your interview avoid using words that sound unprofessional such as “cool” and “awesome”. Most companies are looking for a professional attitude and this attitude should be displayed in your job interview to show your seriousness about getting the job. Try to be as prepared as you can for the interview by guessing at some of the questions you’ll be asked and coming up with some answers. There are some questions you can be sure that you’ll be asked, such as “why do you want this job”, "what are your strengths (or weaknesses)", and questions such as your availability.

Remember as a VCE student you want to try to work no more than 10 hours per week, particularly if you aiming for a high ENTER score. Keep this in mind before committing to any set hours. Additionally try to come up with something better than the standard answer which most interviewees will give and be prepared to elaborate on any responses you give, although try to limit your response time to about a minute. You don't want to talk too much about yourself yet you also don’t want to give too little information about who you are.

It’s important that you listen, make eye contact and acknowledge your interviewer (with a nod of the head, a smile or even saying "yes") so that you show that you have listening skills as well as speaking skills. Interviewers want to see a well rounded individual in front of them who is ready to tackle all aspects of the job.

When you are asked if you have any questions you should have at least 2 specific questions (which could be something like the rates of pay, the uniform worn etc) just make sure that they weren't covered earlier in conversations.

I have always finished every job interview with one final question that goes like this:

" If I am unsuccessful in my interview here today would you mind if I contacted you for some feedback so I can improve my interview performances in future"
(or words to that effect)

What this does is 4 things: 1. It tells your interviewer that you are keen to work (and that you will continue to apply for jobs if unsuccessful. 2. You will stand out amongst the other candidates because very few students will actually do this. 3. Finishes the interview with a strong impression because... 4. (and this is probably the most important) it tells your interviewer that you want to learn and improve (which are important traits of anyone in a new job).

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