Acing the Interview Process

The word 'Interview' can fill us with a sense of nervousness and dread. The interview process isn't something we go through that often, so it is easy to feel like you might be a little rusty. Not to mention, if you are job hunting in New Zealand for the first time. Here are some tips and pointers and the who, what, when, where and why of the interview process.

Virtue Consulting - Acing the interview - positive body language

The start of your job search

When many of us start the job hunt, it is all about our written communication.

  1. Writing your CV to best market your skills, attributes, working history, experience and education.
  2. A personalised cover letter to show your interest in the role, outlining how your transferable skills would suit that particular position.

For others, the process may start a little more out of the blue. You may be headhunted via LinkedIn or Seek as you have a the right experience for a role on offer – you might night even be looking. Even if you aren’t interested, be sure to get back in contact with the person/company to thank them for the offer. NZ is a small place and you don’t want to close any doors.

Either way, if they like what they read, they will invite you to an interview. And this is where the fun begins.

The 1st interview

Depending on the role you are looking at, the first interview will be with either a Recruitment Consultant or directly with the business. No matter who you are meeting, the rules are the same – this is your time to shine and impress.

Remember, your interviewer has already read your CV and although they might be interested in a recap of your hard skills, it is your soft skills they really want to see. Your personality, ambition and overall attitude that can’t be shown in a CV. Hence, these are the skills you really want to show.

Soft Skills

Soft skills is the term used for transferable skills that are not technical or job-related. Skills that help define your relationships with people and your approach to life. These can include active listening skills, collaboration, social skills, interpersonal skills, and a positive attitude. Strong soft skills are highly valued in a modern workplace and ensure a productive, collaborative and healthy work environment.

You’ll never get a second chance at making a good first impression

Here are a few things to keep in mind when wanting to make a good impression at an interview

  • Do your research

With Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Company Websites, it is easier than ever to see the culture of a business. Get to know the company, their values and think how you can add value to them. Connect with your interviewer on LinkedIn, this shows that you are interested in the role and the people.

  • “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Remember, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than under dressed. Again, look at the company to get an idea of the culture. Should you wear a dress suit or can you be more professional? Is it a company that wants you to blend in or stand out?

  • Read your audience.

Like a comedian or actor, your interview is your time to shine and entertain. Look for signs that your interviewer is feeling engaged and interested. Are they leaning forward, nodding and smiling as you give your answers?

  • Confidence is key

Plenty of people might have your skill set – but no one else is you! Back yourself and why you are the best fit for the role. Remember, culture fit, team fit and attitude are often the main things they are looking for, so show your personalty.

Commonly Asked Questions

Straight from the recruiters mouth, here are a few samples questions that tend to pop up at interviews.

  1. What are your professional strengths?
  2. Do you have a weakness or area of opportunity that you would like to work on in the future?
  3. What do you know about our company and why do you want to work here?
  4. What kind of career progression are you after?

Note: It is also important to expect the unexpected!!

Don’t fall at the final hurdle.

‘We would like to offer you the role, pending reference checks, testing and forms’

Once you’ve aced the interview process, there are still a few things to watch out for. Be as organised and aim to complete these within 48 hours unless otherwise specified.

Forms, Forms, Forms

Many roles in the Banking and Financial Services industry will want to do a Credit Check and Criminal History check. Be sure to have all the correct details and if you think something will show up – be honest with your recruiter or future employer.

Verbal References

This is one of the MOST important aspects of the final stage. If you are from outside of New Zealand and Australia, this may be new to you, as we conduct verbal references which will usually consist of a 10-15 minute conversation with ex Managers and direct reports of yours.

Prep the people you want as your referees and check that they will give you a positive reference. If you know that references have to come through the HR department, learn the process and preempt the hoops that you may need to jump through to help save on time and frustrations.

For more information, listen to Virtue’s Director Chris Heswall chat about ‘How to make sure you Verbal References stack up’

Don’t Give Up

Last, but not least. If you don’t land the first role, don’t be disheartened. Keep trying, adapt your approach and learn.

Here’s a great article I will leave you with ‘Experts’ share the best career advice they ever received