3 common mistakes to avoid at interview – and what to do instead!

You’ve just received the phone call or email confirming you’ve been shortlisted to interview for your dream job. The weeks of hard work honing your CV, building your network and embarking on a creative job search seem to be paying off.
But how do you make sure you stand out from the crowd and wow at interview so you land your perfect role?  Check out my top tips for Workpond on how to stand out from the crowd.

Mistake number 1: Falling at the first hurdle

One of the biggest mistakes job hunters make is not preparing properly for a common first question “tell me about yourself.” With the right preparation this question can be a gift that allows you to the knock the socks of a potential employer by showcasing why they should hire you. So make sure you spend the time ahead of the interview preparing and rehearsing your answer so you can create a great first impression.
The employer is looking for a succinct overview of your career, rather than a blow-by-blow account of your CV. Make sure you use this question as an opportunity to get across any themes in your career that demonstrate what motivates you and what you are naturally interested in – for example people development or project management. It’s also a good time to reference some of your key skills that illustrate why you are a great fit for this particular role.

Mistake number 2: Answering the “why do you want to work for us?” question unconvincingly

“Why do you want to work for us?” is one of the most important questions to answer in the right way. It is almost guaranteed to come up during a job interview, so once again you should always prepare for this in advance. The last thing the recruiter wants to hear is that it’s because it is ‘part time’, ‘local to your home’ or ‘the hours fit around your family commitments’. Instead they want to hear why you are motivated by this opportunity. So always answer with something like “I’m excited by this role because it really plays to my strengths of x, y and z and I feel motivated by the thought of working in this company as I’m passionate about creative design” (or whatever the company does).

Mistake number 3: Failing to prepare for competency based questions

These are the questions that ask for evidence of skills, such as “give me an example of when you have had to deal with conflict” or “tell me about a time when you have successfully managed a team.” An important way to prepare for these types of questions is to re-read the job spec and pick out the key skills the employer is looking for. Then think through how you can demonstrate you have these particular skills. Structure your answers clearly so it is easy to follow and always ensure you use this opportunity to highlight any transferable skills and share quantifiable results wherever possible.

I hope that by sharing these top tips you will feel more confident about your interview technique. Having coached hundreds of mums to help them secure their dream job, I can honestly say that preparation and practice play a huge role in interview success.

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