How to ace your next job interview

The Latitude team and I have coached literally thousands of candidates through every permutation and combination of interview types you could possibly think of. We’ll dig into the details of how to tick the boxes of most hiring managers checklists.


“The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road; long before I dance under those lights.” Muhammed Ali

Unless you’re auditioning for the ballet, I wouldn’t suggest dancing in a job interview, but the words of the champ certainly apply to standing out in the job market. Preparation and a little know-how will go a long way to ensuring you can remain confident under pressure. 

Once you’ve armed yourself with as much background information as possible, there’s still a few tricks and tips you should know which can be just as important in landing the role. The Latitude team and I have coached literally thousands of candidates through every permutation and combination of interview types you could possibly think of. We’ll dig into the details of how to tick the boxes of most hiring managers checklists.

Punctuality

Do not be late. Period.

If the location is somewhere you’re unfamiliar with, go there the day before so there’s no surprises. Give yourself double the amount of time Google Maps tells you.    

Presentation

First impressions last, so invest time in your appearance. Always ask your recruiter in advance what is expected in terms of standard of dress. If in doubt, it’s better to err on the conservative side. Make absolutely sure your breath and body odour is addressed before arriving. 

Under observation

Be aware that everything you do in an interview will be carefully examined. This goes beyond your choice of words and clothes. 

A shrewd interviewer will pay specific attention to:

  • The presence you bring into a room
  • The volume and speed of your speech
  • Eye contact and facial expressions
  • Posture and gestures

Be an active listener

There’s some really easy wins here:

  • Engage them with eye contact 
  • Use small gestures at appropriate times
  • Encourage the interviewer to continue with small verbal comments

Nothing loses the goodwill of an employer more quickly than a candidate who consistently misses the point of a question. 

Always aim to directly address what’s posed, with an example from your work history if possible, even if doing so strays away from your prepared responses. If you’re struggling...   

Buy time 

Asking for clarification of a question will give you more time to prepare a response. It also shows that you’re engaged in the process, moving the interviewer away from their prepared questions and creating a more open dialogue.  

Enthusiasm sells

Being passionate about the role is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Walking a tightrope between professionalism and letting your own personality shine, and displaying a deep-seeded interest will go a long way here.  

Know thyself

When preparing for your interview, review as much of your work achievements as possible, and practice linking your experience to any expected questions. 

Being able to give in-depth examples of how you’ve met expectations is always more effective than theoretical answers. 

Prepare your own questions in advance. Always.

The questions you ask in an interview can be as important as your responses to questions posed to you. These will give you the opportunity not only to assess the suitability of a potential employer, but to display your research of the business and the seriousness of your application. 

Most commonly asked interview questions:

Check out some of the standard interview questions we see being asked time and time again across all disciplines:

  • Why did you choose this particular role? 
  • What do you really want to do in your next career move? 
  • Why would you like to work for our organisation? 
  • What do you want to be doing in your career five years from now? Why? 
  • What style of management gets the best from you? 
  • What interests you about our products or services? 
  • Can you get recommendations from previous employers? What would they say about you? 
  • What is your major weakness? What have you done about it? 
  • What do you think determines a person's progress in a good company? 
  • What does “teamwork” mean to you? 
  • What experience have you had working to tight deadlines? 
  • Have you any experience managing a team of people? 
  • Could you specifically outline your technical expertise? 
  • What training have you recently undertaken? 
  • Do you regularly attend conferences or workshops? 

Always

If all else fails, remember:

  • Look your best
  • Arrive early
  • Look your interviewer in the eye 
  • Speak clearly. 
  • Take supporting documentation
  • Actively listen
  • Observe the body language of your interviewer
  • Ask questions specific to the tasks you will perform
  • Give your interviewer confidence that you can perform the tasks required

Never

Don’t. Under any circumstances.

  • Give a limp handshake
  • Be aggressive or arrogant
  • Swear
  • Appear overly nervous
  • Only be interested in remuneration
  • Make excuses
  • Condemn your current or previous employers
  • Fail to ask questions

If you have an upcoming interview don’t hesitate to reach out for some advice or coaching. Good luck!


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