First Job or Next Job Interview? You Must Do This!
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Tired of reading the same old advice on how to prepare for your job interview? When has doing the same thing as everyone else ever made someone prepared to shine? Never, that’s when.
Employers get lost in a sea of Sues and an avalanche of Adams, so how are they going to remember you, if you don’t know how to make an impact?
We’ve got some pretty snappy ideas for you and although I wrote this with entry level candidates in mind, it applies to any job seeker.
Get ready to spitball ideas that you will like or loathe, depending upon your personality. My point is… you can pick and choose those ideas that work for you and you feel comfortable with, and are appropriate for the role you are applying for.
How will you be remembered in a sea of Sues
and an avalanche of Adams?
I’m just throwing them out there, opening the door and challenging the status quo - always a good way to get noticed.
Put a foot in the door. Even if the door is only open by a crack, shove your foot in and wrench it open. Any opportunity is ‘a crack’ by the way. Waiting around until you are invited, asked, cajoled or selected and you will be waiting foreverrrrr.
Employers like people who have initiative. And ‘initiative’ looks like this:
Volunteer for anything, ‘I’ll do that’ or ‘pick me’ ‘and ‘yes I can’ are all phrases we love to hear. Just like work experience, show them what you can do as a volunteer. Who will be top of mind when a role comes around? You!
Even if a job has not been advertised and you want to work for a particular employer, don’t wait for the advertisement. Introduce yourself via LinkedIn now. Start building a relationship, but be smart about it. Don’t fire off ‘connect’ requests to every Tom, Dick and Mary (Harry is currently hijacked due to one particular Prince-at-large). Read their profiles and select someone you can relate to - send a personal message to that person within the business.
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Even if a job has not been advertised
and you want to work for a particular
employer, introduce yourself.
Bring ideas - no idea is silly.
Done your research? You better. If you don’t know about the business goals, visions, culture, products, people and services - don’t go to the interview, it’s that simple. I’m going to assume you have now done that, so here’s the next step.
Think about what the business is NOT doing. What’s missing from their product or service base? What’s missing from their website that would add value like maybe testimonials or a guarantee? Think about that and then take it further, what ideas spring to mind for you around this industry? Write those things down.
And… suggest them!
It makes no difference at all if they like the idea, don’t like the idea or have tried it before, you are showing your initiative and preparation - go you!
Do the research or…
Don’t go to the interview
Over Prepare. They want 3 referees? Provide 5. And consider bringing props! That could be:
A ‘Fast Fact’ sales sheet
Physical evidence that you have trialled their products
What about a pitch deck or presentation of your work to date?
Samples for other same-same businesses that you can discuss (creates talking points)
A list of the high profile clients you have worked for
A memory stick of videos of your achievements, exploits or adventures
Like they say at Macca’s, would you like fries with that… So bring the fries, they might want them!
Employers value some things you might not automatically add to your application so consider adding these, as highlighted in SEEKs recent research, hirers want to know about:
Teamwork and Collaboration
Attention to Detail
Don't do what they expect, take a calculated risk!
I once took muffins into an interview for the panel - a risk, sure, but who doesn’t like at muffin at 10 am? They loved it.
One client designed and costed a dinner menu for 10 people, cooked some of the items and sent them in an esky with her application - do you think she was short listed - hard yes! The role included managing client entertainment for a high profile businessperson. Out of the box sure, but still relevant to the role.
Yet another did a photo shoot, atop a horse, promoting the clients equine food product for a State Sales Rep role. She was the youngest person to ever gain the role.
Everyone else is taken, so be YOU and show YOUR personality. You are unique.
They are hiring you, not a super formal, scripted version of you. If an employer cannot see who you are and see how you fit into their team, you might slip silently into the ‘not sure’ pile and fade away into oblivion. Your personality is yours, it’s great as it is, let them see it.
It might include:
Appropriate humour, or just your normal cheekiness (remember to read your audience before you launch into something too riotous)
Mention a mentor who has shaped and guided you and who you aspire to emulate.
Or a business figure, who you want to be like one day. The other day a young fire fighter said very matter of factly - I want to be Commissioner! ‘Why not!’ Was my thought.
If you are super passionate about something, tell them and back it up with why. Especially if it is relevant. A client recently told us that he hiked the Kokoda Trek - which Coach Tanja did a few years back - instant rapport right there.
Other aspirations you might have - to run your first half marathon or raise awareness for science or perhaps help save the elephants?
That stuff says a lot about you as a person without you having to say ‘I’m this sort of person’. Which feels mildly odd, don’t you agree?
Scout, stalk or ‘recce’ the hirer.
Jump on LinkedIn, Facey, Twitty and Insty and all those other social sites that share our lives with the world. They have a great purpose - inside insight into the lives and lifestyles of the hirer, recruiter, manager and owner of the businesses you might just wish to work for.
Most of the time you will have a name (or several names) before you step foot in the interview or zoom room.
Dig around and find something in common - talk about that!
Talking about stuff that matters to the
other person = instant rapport - again.
Ok my brain explosion is over, ideas and mixing up the status quo is my thing, it may not be yours. But that does not mean you cannot still be you, and make a memorable impact in your own way. As long as you are prepared and come to an interview with evidence of the individual you are.
Kirsty Anne Ferguson
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