So today I went to Macquarie University here in Sydney to talk to their undergrads in the education department about how to ace the interview and how to dress for the interview.
Interview skills. Make sure you know everything you possibly can about the company or business you are applying for, not just the things that are relevant for your (future!) role.
Often one of the first questions an interviewer may ask you is; “So, tell me a little about yourself Maddy.” Don’t panic – its not really a trick question, its just something to get you talking and to see that you have a personality before the start talking about more technical aspects of the job. Don’t tell them you love Law and Order SVU reruns with your dad and that you love online shopping, that’s not what they want to hear – although if you’re anything like me that could be exactly what a weekend well spent looks like… Anyway what they want to hear is that you can interact well with others. Prepare something about your hobbies outside lounging inside. Maybe you run marathons… no not the fridge, actual marathons. Maybe you have an unusual hobby ( I said unusual not weird. Think riding horses not spider breeding – there is a difference y’know!?!) or you play in a social netball team on weekends. They love those sorts of things as openers.
You need to show them that you have an interest in their business and their philosophy which drives the company. Look for slogans, mottos, and values. You need to think about how these values etc can apply to you. For example, many schools list Commitment as one of their school wide values. You need to think of examples of how you have already shown commitment in the life you have lead and how you will show commitment to the school (or company).
Next up, google some generic interview questions and record yourself answering them. Why the recording? I hear you ask. Well, its actually really useful so you can analyse your mannerisms, maybe you wave your hands when you speak a little too enthusiastically or maybe you scratch your nose every time you don’t have something to say. The recording allows you to pick up on these silly habits so you can eliminate them before you try your interview skills for real…in front of family. Get your husband, wife, significant other, son, daughter, or parents to ask you your questions, and ask them for feedback.
Finally, plan your outfit. You need to be dressed classically – this is not the time to decide to try a new statement pair of thigh high boots. Regardless of the job you are going for, dress up. Suit up! If its an outdoors-y type job depending on the context, you can get away with a sports coat and slacks or blazer. If its a more traditional type job then you need to let the detail do all the work. My go to interview style is a grey pencil skirt and matching suit jacket, black stilettos, and a black blouse. The traditional white blouse can be boring and predictable as can the black suit. The grey and black are perfect together and really make a sophisticated, confident statement… without blinding them with razzle dazzle colour, glitz, and jewelry.
If you have any specific questions, style advice for an interview or anything else to do with first impressions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org