job seeker interview guide
A recent report found that only 12% of job applicants are invited to attend a job interview.
If you are one of those12% to land an interview — congratulations!
The next step is to focus your efforts on preparing for the interview. This includes thoroughly researching the industry, the company, and the job, as well as preparing for both the easy questions and the hardball ones.
Plus, you will need to think about how you will present yourself in a professional manner with the way you dress, the way you carry yourself, and the confidence you exude.
It may sound a bit overwhelming but nailing the interview and landing the job of your dreams is entirely possible. And luckily for you, that’s our specialty.
Here is everything you need to know to feel confident and prepare for a successful interview:
How to prepare for an interview
Never go into an interview without thorough preparation.
If you’re serious about landing the job, you’re going to have to work for it. It all comes down to proper research — and just skimming the "About Us" page of the company website at the last minute definitely won't cut it.
If they’re an ASX listed company, for example, consider checking their financials, news sites for press releases about exciting acquisitions, new technology, or changes to the way they do business. Look over reviews on sites like Glassdoor to get a feel for their company culture and take it a step further by reading customer reviews.
You want to understand not only their industry but where they fall in the market. Who are their competitors? What are their goals for this year and the next five years?
The more you know, the more you’ll impress the interviewer and increase your odds of getting an offer.
How to present yourself in an interview
Preparation is key, but it’s not the only ingredient to a successful interview.
If you show up with all the right answers but look dishevelled, tired, and unorganised, the hiring manager is going to think twice about considering you for the job. The same goes for your tone and body language — if you’re standoffish, avoid eye contact, cross your arms, and fidget, you'll come across as nervous, conceited, or plain rude.
On the other hand, if you show up dressed professionally, with a fresh haircut, a large smile, a firm handshake, and plenty of enthusiasm, you’re going to make a better first impression and possibly have a more comfortable interview.
Sometimes, it’s the little details that matter most during high-pressure interviews. There’s a strong chance the candidate entering the room after you is highly qualified and eager to impress as well, so make sure you're doing everything you can to stand out and give yourself a better chance.
preparing yourself fo
preparing yourself for the essential interview questions
General, competency (both technical and behavioural interview questions), and situational questions are staples of just about every interview. Each one is going to challenge you in a different way, so it’s good to prepare equally for each type:
General questions touch on basic information about you, such as your strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. They’re largely considered layup questions, but it’s important not to overlook them. Think from the point of view of the interviewer and what answer would pique their interest. Consider where you’d fit into their organisation and how your answer aligns with the overall strategy of the company.
Competency-based questions rely on the assumption that your past behaviour is a strong indicator of future behaviour. These questions will dig into your previous experience. How did you handle obstacles at your previous job? What were your high points? What were the greatest lessons you learned?
Situational questions touch on what you would do in certain hypothetical situations. These answers complement the competency-based questions because they touch on your critical thinking skills. Often, these questions are meant to test your aptitude for handling high-pressure situations, common challenges, and worst-case scenarios.
In the end, it’s impossible to prepare for every situation or question they may toss your way. What you can do is take stock of what you’re good at, what examples you have to back it up, and how you’d handle some of the worst situations you’d face in the role.
How to avoid common interview mistakes
If you’ve prepared for the most common interview questions, done your homework on the company, and ironed out the details of what you’ll wear and how you’ll make a strong first impression, then you’re 90% there.
However, there are some common mistakes that interviewees make that you’ll want to ensure you’re aware of so you can avoid them. Interviewers will test your integrity, challenge your character, intentionally ask hard questions, and may dig deeper into your career history than you might expect.
You also need to know in your own mind what salary you are looking for and if you are willing to compromise on any component for your dream job. But this shouldn’t be done once you are in the interview process; make sure it is understood by all parties prior to going for the first meeting.
Here’s where a little due diligence and a helping hand go a long way.
Solidify your success with the right partner.
Switching careers or searching for a new job is both an exciting and exhausting experience. Like most candidates, you’re probably going to feel frustrated along the way. There’s so much conflicting advice out there, and every company is looking for something different. It can be hard to keep up.
But you’re not alone. Here at Richard Lloyd, we’ve spent over a decade helping candidates get jobs, and helping companies hire all-stars. Naturally, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way about how to set yourself up for success and how to stand out from the competition.