Practical hints and tips to help you confidently get your next job
In my recent job search I had 10 job interviews over a span of 14 days.
A few were phone interviews and most interviews were in person. Some were with recruiters and some were with employers direct.
In this time there’s a lot I learnt about how to get the ideal job, and that is what I want to share with you.
Why? So you can confidently pursue your career dreams and feel your most confident self in any interview situation.
Before My Job Search
Sometimes in life we are faced with needing to find our next job. Life circumstances change, we may want a new challenge, or we find ourselves out of work due to a company decision.
For the times when we have a choice, and some lead time, there are some foundational steps we can take to set ourselves up for when the job search truly begins.
In fact, these steps can be taken at any time – we don’t have to wait until we need to find a job to do them.
It is all about knowing ourselves – what our ideal situation is, the next best alternative, the non-negotiables and our baseline needs.
Going through a thinking process such as this allows us to figure out what we ultimately want, if all things come into alignment
That is pretty powerful knowledge to have.
I did some of this work last year during my soul searching about my purpose in life. This was bigger picture stuff, but it laid the foundation for the work I did to prepare for my latest job search.
Once I knew we were moving, and that I would need to find a new job, I started working out my ideal situation. I thought about the type of work, the team culture, the company values and details such as hours of work/flexibility, pay and location.
I was confident in my ideal situation – and that is what I put out there. Trusting this would eventuate. I believed it was possible to achieve this ideal state.
About Those Interviews
Once I arrived in our new city I began my job search – applying for things that best fit the criteria I had envisioned.
Then came the two-week window of 10 job interviews. Of course, I didn’t know ahead of time how many interviews I would get, or how long it would take me to get a job.
Having a condensed period of interviewing gave me an opportunity to learn lessons, apply them immediately and improve my interviewing technique.
The preparation before interviews is the most important phase – it is also where you have the most time in the process. Using this time to your best advantage can set you up for a confident interview where your brilliance can shine through.
Before the Interviews
I’ve always thought of interviews as the opportunity to share about yourself, and no-one knows you better than you do. This is a mindset I have carried with me through my career.
Every interview I go into, I take the belief that I can’t fail. Why? Because I am always going to be good at talking about me, my skills, achievements, lessons and goals. I can’t fail because I know me best – no-one else can do a better interview on me than me.
This mindset brings a sense of comfort to the process.
I admit – going through interviews is not always easy. Especially when we have commitments and pressure on us, as I did in my latest job search, e.g. financial commitments that require us to get a job by a certain timeframe.
Giving ourselves every edge and boost in confidence helps. This is why I choose to adopt a positive mindset.
Taking care of some logistics beforehand helps too. All these things take away decisions and unnecessary stress for the day of your interview.
- Working out a killer interview outfit – so you know you’ll feel comfortable and look the part
- Planning your transport route – how long will it take to get there, will I know the way once I get off public transport etc…
- Give yourself plenty of time to get there – don’t wait until the last possible train to start your journey to the interview
- Show up on time – it is ideal to get to an interview 5 to 10 minutes early – any earlier and it can annoy your interviewers who know you are sitting there waiting for them, and any later and you run the risk of being late which is a bad reflection on your time management and diligence
Some of these may seem obvious but trust me – from my own experience attending interviews and interviewing others – these things can easily be taken for granted and forgotten.
You want to set yourself up for success by having the basics taken care of, not stress about avoidable things like logistics.
Planning Your Interview
The other major area of preparation comes from what you plan to discuss during the interview.
How I approach this is:
- Review my resume and think through examples of things I have worked through so I have plenty to recall and discuss in the interview. If the job has specific selection criteria – make sure you have each of these points covered with an example
- Think about my why – why do I want this job and why do I want to join this company – this is often asked in interviews and a thoughtful answer comes across as genuine and is a nice compliment for the interviewer, showing that you think this is a great company
- Do some research – what is the company’s mission, values and strategic priorities – learning about what they stand for and where they are going in future can help tailor your responses to show that you are in alignment with not just the job, but the company overall
During the Interviews
I like to give myself a further confidence boost right before the interview begins. It may sound funny, but it really helps me trust my abilities and allows me to relax into the process.
I find a mirror – whether it is at home before I leave, or at the location – I then look at myself and smile and say “I’ve got this”.
This might sound corny – but it works for me. I smile, it relaxes my face, I affirm my value. My mind is conditioned to know I am talented and capable.
In the interview:
- Smile and make eye contact – not too intensely (ha-ha), but I do make sure I have made eye contact and smiled with each person who is interviewing me. For a phone interview, I make sure I smile while talking – you can hear it in someone’s voice
- Listen to the question being asked – if it is a multi-part question, then I work through the answer, and check-in with the interviewer if I have covered all parts of the question
- Pause, if I need to – sometimes I am asked a question and don’t immediately know which example I might use. I pause, take a breath and think for a moment rather than rushing into a response. Giving yourself space to think allow for a considered answer
- Be concise – keep it short, keep it on point. The purpose of an answer is to give information the interviewer needs, not all the periphery stuff. Sometimes I will check if my response is enough or would they like me to expand further. If so, then this is my invitation to elaborate.
- Don’t shy away from giving an example that didn’t have a great result – I am ok with sharing some of the times when things didn’t go to plan, it shows I work through the lessons I can take out of a situation to improve for future
- Ask some questions about them – this shows you are curious and genuinely thinking about what working there would be like. Some questions I have used – “what is the team like?”, “what are some priorities for the team over the next 12 months?”, “if I am the successful candidate, what else should I research before starting?”
After the Interviews
After each interview I think about what worked well.
There might be some examples I gave that were seamless – they came out clearly and sold my abilities. I take note and remember these for future interviews.
I also think about what didn’t work well.
Not to beat myself up about it, but to take away a lesson and improvement for next time. For instance, if I was too long-winded I think about how I can shorten that example.
I view each interview as part of the process to get me to my goal of finding a job that meets my ideal scenario.
The reflection enables you to strengthen your interviewing abilities for next time.
I practised all the above hints and tips in my latest job search. I saw myself get better and better with each interview.
The job I ended up getting is a position I didn’t find – it found me. A recruiter contacted me based on my LinkedIn profile and asked if I would be interested in this position.
I love the thought that what I envisioned before my job search began is what came to me.
Knowing what we want, believing it, trusting the process, then proceeding is not only important, but transformational.
I wish you all the best in your next job search.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips that have worked well for you. Useful knowledge is best shared so we can all live to our potential.