• Mark Pearce

6 simple steps to a better job interview

Updated: Aug 1, 2018

Job interviews are not easy. Here are some interview tips to give you an edge over other candidates.

This recruitment blog won't give you common interview questions and answers but it will help you understand how to perform better in a job interview. 

We're going to assume you've applied for a job and you've been selected to attend an interview. Congratulations on getting this far. The objective from here is to ensure you impress in an interview and receive an offer of employment.

Please understand you'll be one of a handful of other hopeful people going for this job interview. How you approach it is paramount to your chances of being hired for the job.

Let's get started. The powerful interview technique you're about to read can significantly increase your chances of being offered a job. You'll also gather some structure and remove some of the nervousness you may feel prior to the interview.

The following six steps will be implemented prior, during and after your interview.

Step One

Make sure you have the following prior to your interview:

  1. A full job description

  2. Information about the opportunity (career development, possible promotions, company culture, strategy and why the company is a great place to work - if you haven't got this information, research it.)

  3. Background information on the company (size, successes, projects)

  4. Background information on the person(s) interviewing you (their team, successes, articles they have written)

  5. Your recently updated CV (complete with achievements)

If you're working with a recruitment consultant, they will help you collect the above information prior to your interview.

Step Two

Before your interview, find or buy an A4 pad and a pen. You'll need them to prepare yourself for the interview. You'll also be taking the same pad and pen with you to the job interview - with some prepared interview questions.

Check you have the information outlined in 1-5 above. Spend time running through this information until you are confident you have a full understanding of the job, the company an the people you are meeting.

If you're working with a recruitment consultant, ask questions if you're unsure of anything prior to your interview. It is important you feel fully briefed.

Why is this important? One of the biggest complaints by employers is most people aren't prepared for a job interview.

Tip: Companies will ask you at an interview what you know about them and their job opportunity. It’s important you are fully prepared to answer these questions and others.

Step Three

This is where your A4 pad and pen come in handy. Plan 5 carefully crafted interview questions and write them down on your pad.

These questions should be relevant to the job and the company. They should be structured well enough to get the interviewer(s) to think carefully before answering.

You may wish to cover such areas as training and development, employee engagement, management styles, company successes and a potential career plan.

Whatever you base your questions on, ensure you are comfortable asking them - write them down in your own words and how you would ask them.

You will also need to plan some closing questions that you can ask at the end of your interview. (As the interview comes to a close, it is always better to know what the next step is and if you’re feeling confident, how you’ve performed.)

Here is a small list of closing questions:

- What is the next stage from here?

- When are you expecting to hire someone for this job?

- How many people are you expecting to see at the next stage? 

And if you’re feeling confident…

- Is there anything you feel I've not answered fully before we finish?

You are going to take these questions with you to the interview. Naturally some of them will be answered during the interview, however you will find a couple of questions won’t be. You should ask at least two of your questions.

We’ll cover why shortly.

Tip: If you plan any more than 5 job interview questions you will find most of your questions will be answered and you'll feel less inclined to ask any questions when you get the opportunity. You don't want to feel distracted. 

Keep your questions to a maximum of 5 as it will allow you to focus during the interview.

Step Four

You’ve arrived for your interview. You’ve shaken hands with the person(s) interviewing you and you’ve been invited to take a seat. What happens next? Take out your pad and pen and place it on the table in front of you.

If you feel you need to mention anything about your pad and pen, ask if it's OK to take notes. Of course, it will be.

Think of the perception you have just created in the mind of your interviewer(s). It shows that you have prepared for your interview and that you would like to take down some notes - you are naturally taking an interest before the interview has started.

During the interview, ensure you write down important notes. Write down information that you can refer to. Write down areas of interest.

Whatever you write down you will be viewed in the eyes of the interviewer(s) that you are naturally taking an interest in what they say.

People are naturally drawn to others who take an active interest in them.

Step Five

Depending on how your interview is going you may have built rapport well enough to ask 2 or more questions.  If not, there will normally be an opportunity to be invited to ask them.

This is the part where you have the chance to ask our questions. Don’t be worried if you still have more than 2 questions. The chances of the interviewer(s) answering all of your questions will be low.

This is your chance to obtain some key information but also to impress your interviewer(s).

Tip: What's the most common response when an interviewer asks an applicant whether they have any questions? It's normally something like, “No, you’ve covered everything." 

Continue to impress your interviewer(s) with your questions. Again this re-enforces to the interviewer(s) that you are actively taking an interest.

Step Six - The final steps

As your interview comes to a close, ask your closing questions to give yourself an idea of what the next steps are - and how you’ve done.

Your interview will end and you’ll have impressed your potential employer with your approach.

Always thank them for their time and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them.

If you're interested in the job still, you can follow up with a 'thank you' email. Most people don't. Keep the communication alive.

Where necessary, call or meet with your recruitment consultant again after your interview to run through the interview feedback. It’s likely that the employer will want to hear your feedback from the recruitment agency as soon as possible, if they have been impressed with you at the interview.

And that’s it. Simple, yet powerful. You've shown you plan and prepare, you're organised and you take a genuine interest in what people say.

The company’s perception of you has been elevated.

Is it likely that each other person at the interview stage has performed exactly the same as you did?

Probably not.

You’ve done an amazing job. Now it’s fingers crossed for you with an offer of employment.

What’s next?

  1. Hit a glass ceiling at work or your boss is a micromanaging idiot? Maybe it’s time to look for a better job?

  2. Finding it tough to attract high-performing people to chat with your business?

  3. Neither, however, I’m happy to sign up with 600+ people for future employment and market insights.

Inverse Energy is a recruitment / search consultancy based in Perth, Western Australia with a focus on mid to senior management and leadership jobs across the energy, mining, infrastructure and defence sectors - worked on a retained or exclusive basis.