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How to be cool in the job interview hot seat


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When preparing for your time in the interview hot seat, knowledge of your employer and their company is your greatest source of power. Whether you’re a current university student applying for a job, a recent graduate getting prepared for a graduate position interview, or applying for a new role at any stage throughout your career, these tips will help you get prepared and help you feel ready to walk confidently into the interview room. From keeping up with industry trends and news, to searching the company website and knowing potential interview panel members, here’s how to research your employer so you can be as cool as a cucumber during a job interview. The Career Development team at Student Services have a range of information that can help make sure you’re as prepared as possible and will make the best first impression at your interview. Find out more. |

Published in: Career
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How to be cool in the job interview hot seat

  1. 1. How to be cool in the job interview hot seat We show you how to research your potential employer and stay cool, calm and collected during a job interview.
  2. 2. When walking into a job interview, it’s normal to be a little jittery about the whole process. Your potential employer has your entire profile of work history and skills right in front of them and you don’t really know the first thing about them, right? Actually, before you enter an interview there are many things you can research about your potential employer. By doing this, you’ll stand out from the other applicants and feel confident and prepared for whatever might be thrown at you. It’s true that knowledge is power and the more you know, the better you’ll do in an interview.
  3. 3. So, where should you begin? While a Google search can answer most queries these days, when it comes to researching a potential employer you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
  4. 4. Here are the things you need to research.
  5. 5. The company website
  6. 6. The company website A company’s website should be the first place you look when trying to learn about an organisation. What to look for: »» The employability skills and experiences valued by the organisation. »» The size of the organisation. How many employees/directors/clients does it have? »» The values, vision and mission behind all their hard work. What drives this company? »» Their target market and client base. Who do they work with? What service area do they cover? Keep an eye out for client testimonials. »» What services do they provide and, equally important, what don’t they do?
  7. 7. Know more, do better.
  8. 8. Key players and potential interview panel members
  9. 9. Key players and potential interview panel members If you know who you’re going to be talking to and what their role in the company entails, then it will give you a better idea as to what they might be looking for in an employee. An example of the other types of people to research include business owners, CEOs, senior partners, trading partners, executives and other business connections. LinkedIn profiles and the company website are a good place to start to find out who those key players are. What to look for: »» Their name. »» Their position description. Where do they fit within the organisation and how might that relate to the job you’re applying for? »» Their career history. Where have they worked before? What affiliations might they have? »» Who they’re connected to. Who do they know and do you have any mutual connections? »» The high school and/or university they attended. »» Any clubs, organisations or industry groups they follow or belong to.
  10. 10. Recent news or stories involving the company
  11. 11. Recent news or stories involving the company By simply Googling the company you want to work for, you’re likely to find plenty of relevant information, history and news stories. A positive news story can be a good ice-breaker. Doing this sort of research allows you to confidently engage in conversation about their current projects and accurately describe how your skills and experience could contribute to their business. What to look for: »» What sort of events or trade they are involved in. »» Who they are affiliated with. »» If they trade internationally. »» Are they involved in charity work? »» High profile projects. »» Developments. »» Disputes/lawsuits (although bringing these up in the interview may not be a good idea. These would be for your knowledge of the company only, so you can gather some idea as to whether they are reputable. Discussing these with the panel could be awkward!)
  12. 12. Industry trends
  13. 13. Industry trends Do you know what is going on in the industry right now? Are you up to speed with the latest trends? You need to be able to show that you have your finger on the pulse of the industry. What to look for: »» Is the company on the rise, or has it plateaued? »» Knowing if there have been any significant changes to the industry in the last 6 months or what the best practice or standard offering is could give you an advantage when answering questions about your career goals or why you want to be employed by the company; it will impress the panel. »» Governing bodies. Who is in charge? Who is on the rise? »» Key industry terms.
  14. 14. All the little extras
  15. 15. All the little extras Have you ever noticed the contact details listed at the bottom of a job advertisement? These details provide you with the exact person to contact if you are after any extra information about the role, the interview or the company. But despite this obvious and totally accessible resource, many applicants never reach out. It’s important to know that it’s perfectly okay to call this number! It shows tenacity and a keen interest in the job. What to ask for: »» A full position description. Get to know your potential job inside out! »» Any relevant policies or procedure manuals that they’re willing to share with you. »» If you’re granted an interview, suss out the parking availability, dress code and double check exactly when and where your interview is to be held.
  16. 16. Know more, do better.
  17. 17. Company culture
  18. 18. Company culture Research shows that 93% of employers will research job applicants through social media before offering them an interview (Jobvite Survey, 2014), so why wouldn’t you do the same? An organisation’s social media profile is a great place to find out about the ‘personality’ of the business and what is and isn’t appropriate in their workplace culture. What to look for: »» Annual reports. If the company is willing to share these with you, they’re a great resource for general background information about the company. These are sometimes available to the public on the website; be careful not to ask for something you’ve already got access to! »» What they post, like or share. »» Any photos they might have of their business and associated activities or events. »» What language are they using? Is it formal and corporate or casual and humorous? »» How often are they posting? »» How do they respond to people who engage with their posts? »» Are there any photos that might give you an idea of the dress code?
  19. 19. Interviews can certainly be nerve-wracking, but it’s easy to be cool and confident in the hot seat when you’ve done your research. Know exactly who you’re talking to and the ins and outs of the role you’re applying for. Take the time to do your research and get ahead of the crowd. Know more and do better!
  20. 20. CRICOS: QLD00244B  NSW02225M  TEQSA: PRV12081  29.2.5  10.2016  Graphics & Photos © Shutterstock The Career Development team at Student Services have a range of information that can help make sure you’re as prepared as possible and will make the best first impression at your interview. Find out more. |