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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Jun 23, 2023


The week we explore how to prepare for a job interview to give you the best chance of winning that new position.



Hello and welcome to episode 190 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we share practical tips to improve your leadership. This week we explore how to prepare for a job interview.

Job interviews are stressful and unpredictable. There are no guarantees in an interview and it can feel like a guessing game. But there are some simple things you can do to dramatically improve your chances of success.

  1. Take their perspective. An interview is an opportunity to learn more about you and your capability to take on a role. Think about the goals of the interviewer. They want to be confident that you can do the role, so the interviewer will be looking for specific things, which brings us to the next tip.
  2. Ask about the interview format and selection criteria. You will most likely already have the selection criteria as these are typically spelled out as part of the application process. If you don’t have the selection criteria, ask your contact if they can provide them. In addition it’s helpful to know the general format of the interview,  number of interviewers, and any tips they might have to make sure you’re as prepared as possible. Complete a self-assessment against the selection criteria. This will help prepare you to address any gaps that might come up during the interview.
  3. Create a narrative. How is this role a sensible next step in your career journey? It will be helpful to the interviewer to demonstrate the story or narrative that has led up to this point. Why this job specifically? And why this job now?
  4. Do your research. If you’re applying for a listed organisation, read through their annual report and latest investor briefings. If it’s a smaller organisation, look for any media releases or newsletters. Demonstrating that you understand how this role fits in to the broader organisational challenges and opportunities will impress any interviewer. Come into the interview with the mindset and awareness of an investor. Clearly explain how you can add value to the organisation through this role.
  5. Prepare evidence and examples. There are two broad types of interview questions - hypothetical and behavioural. A hypothetical question could be about a scenario such as “How would you deal with a difficult customer?” A behaviour question looks for a specific example of when you’ve done something, such as “Tell me about a time when you’ve dealt with a difficult customer?”. With either approach, make sure you include actual examples. Even if the questions are hypothetical in nature, providing behavioural answers through real examples is far more compelling. Ask a friend to help you practice by asking behavioural questions.
  6. Come with questions. A pretty standard way to finish an interview is to ask if you have any questions, so it is worth having one or two genuine questions prepared in advance. A great question to ask is whether there’s any other information you can provide that might help their decision making.
  7. Arrive early and dress appropriately. Make sure you’re not in a rush for the interview. If it’s online, log in early to test your technology. For clothing, err towards a step up from what others wear at the organisation. Dress standards vary widely between organisations and even offices. Wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident, but that also shows you’ve made an effort for the interview.
  8. Follow up. Send an email to say thank you for the opportunity, offer to provide further information if needed, and ask for feedback.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Interviews are always going to create some stress, but with a bit of planning and thought you can improve your odds of being successful dramatically.



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