Looking for a job right now? Perhaps you’re returning to the workforce for the first time in years, need to make a change or just want to explore your options. Or maybe it’s your first career move out of college!
Interviewing for jobs can be the most daunting part of the process – we get it. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our top tips for interviewing well.
Make a great first impression
While having your outfit and hairstyle on point is well and good, first impressions aren’t all about how you look. A great first impression can be achieved by how you speak, act and respond to questions. Nonverbal and body language also plays a big role in how you’re perceived, so try to relax, smile and make eye contact.
Whether it’s an interview, meeting someone at a networking event, or engaging in an important conversation with your boss, emotional intelligence can do a lot for you.
A few ways to apply emotional intelligence in an interview include:
- Reading the room – match your language to your interviewers’
- Focusing – remove distractions (like notifications on your phone) and pay your interviewer your full attention
- Finding common ground – try to find a topic your interviewer is passionate about (whether related to work or not) and get them talking about it.
Flout your soft skills
You may not match the position description perfectly, but you don’t need to! LinkedIn research found that women feel they need to meet 100% of requirements in a job ad, whereas men only need to meet 60% of requirements to apply. Remember, you can learn new tools and systems, but your soft skills are invaluable. In fact, up to 64% of hirers agree that people with strong soft skills are more likely to land a job.
Employers today prioritise soft skills. How you work with colleagues, the ways you manage your work, and how you solve problems mean more than what software you can use.
Think about what your unique soft skills are, and consider real-life examples that showcase these skills. For example, some of the top skills employers look for in the wake of Covid-19 include:
- Resilience – the ability to ‘bounce back’ from adversity. You can display your resilience by talking about times you’ve met challenges, recovered from setbacks or even sharing about how you managed working from home during the pandemic.
- Agility – not only do individuals have to adapt to change, organizations do too. Employees that can easily pivot and adopt new systems and processes to assist changes are highly regarded. Demonstrate agility by discussing times you’ve raised your hand to take on more responsibility, or how you’ve helped coworkers adjust to change.
- Proactivity – employers love it when team members can think for themselves. To demonstrate your proactivity, you could use examples of what you’ve achieved outside of work – professional development activities or courses to strengthen your skills. (Girls in Tech programs are a great name-drop in interviews!)
Flip the interview
Interviews can often feel like one-sided interrogations, but the point of meeting is to see if you’re a good fit for the role, and vice versa. You and your interviewer are both entitled to ask questions.
Asking some smart, open-ended questions of your own will put you in a positive light during an interview.
- Why is the role available? – This can help you ascertain if there’s a high turnover for this position (a red flag!), or if it’s a position created out of demand for your skills.
- What are the plans for the team in the next two years? – This can help you identify if there are opportunities for growth and development in your future. You may be striving for a leadership position or promotion.
- What kind of employee is going to fit best in your team? – This can help you understand what the employer wants, for example, a number-cruncher or more creative input.
- How do you celebrate success in your team? – This can give you insight into if the team is tight-knit or more siloed.
- Why do YOU love working here? – This forces the interviewer to speak subjectively. It will give you insights into the culture, team and organization.
Be prepared for the salary question
Discussing money can be awkward, particularly if the question catches you by surprise. Consider getting clear on the salary range prior to an interview. It may be visible in the job ad, or you could ask about this during a pre-screening call.
If you’re forced to say your expected salary range first, it can be stressful knowing what to say. If you give a figure too high, you may be written off for the position, or if it’s too low you may be undervaluing yourself.
Getting paid what you’re worth is important. Make sure you’re offered a fair salary by doing some market research beforehand and consider total compensation (beyond money), including extra perks, discounts or flexible work options.
Interview for jobs you actually want
There’s no use interviewing for jobs you don’t want to get! Save yourself time and effort by looking in the right place for great opportunities at exciting companies.
The Girls in Tech Jobs Board is a great first port of call. Good luck with your search!