Last minute interview tips

Congratulations, you have a job interview! What are some last-minute, quick tips to make sure you give yourself the best chance at success?

During the job-hunting process it’s not uncommon to become disillusioned and frustrated by the number of hoops you need to jump through before you even reach the interview stage. You’ve probably already spent an hour responding to the key selection criteria and tailoring your resume, figuring out public transport routes and maybe even buying a new outfit to wear.

As exhausting as the lead-up has been, when it comes to your interview it’s important that you’re in the zone because you don’t want all the hard yards to be for nothing. Job interviews never seem to get any easier, but if you follow our last minute interview tips you might just land the job you’ve been wanting.

  • When to arrive
    The best time to arrive is five to ten minutes before your interview.  Any earlier and you become annoying, putting pressure on the interviewer and leaving them unprepared, any later and you’ll leave them waiting which reflects very badly on you.
  • Know who to ask for
    When standing at the reception desk, don’t go flicking through your phone trying to find the email from the recruitment agency containing the interviewer’s name. Know who to ask for and ask with confidence – introducing yourself.
  • Make a great first impression with everyone, including the receptionist
    Often employers will talk with their staff about you after you leave.  While the interviewer is primarily interested in how your skills relate to the job at hand, everyone else in the office will want to know what you’re like to work with as a person.
  • Answering interview questions
    Feel free to take your time and breathe.  Answer confidently and wherever possible, use a specific example.  If you need an extra few seconds to think of an example, rather than get flustered and say “um...”, tell them “that’s a great question” then go into deep (and confident) thought.
  • Focus on your body language
    Smile, make eye contact, have good posture and listen actively. Don’t fidget!
  • When they ask if you have any questions?
    This is an ideal opportunity to find out about the culture of the workplace. You could ask the interviewer to describe the culture of the company, how many staff it employs and how long it has been in operation. This is also the moment to sell yourself and let them know how interested you are in the position. Be careful not to sound scripted – you want to use this as a catalyst to turn a structured interview into a friendly discussion and put your best foot forward. A great example is: “I really love what you guys do here and it seems like a role I would be perfect in. Can you tell me where you see the company going in the next 12 months so I can start thinking of ideas on how I could contribute?”  You’ll score bonus points if you can think of some great ideas on the spot.

Good Luck!

Category: 
Interview

Lessons in life from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, wasn’t just smart and successful – he was inspiring.

Here are some of his most memorable quotes:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.”

You may be in a ridiculously high-paying job, but does it make you happy? The take home message from this quote is to pursue your passion in life. Steve combined his passion for design with technology; the very act of doing what he loved is what allowed him to create such a successful product.

“My favourite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

Steve thought from a young age that he wouldn’t live long so it was really important to him to make the most of life. Every minute that passes is a minute we’ll never get back – use your time on this earth wisely and make every minute count.

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That's how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people.”

Steve was never the best at what he did but he was great at leveraging the skills of others – whether it be Wozniak’s programming skills or the expertise of a designer – to create his products.

Don’t buy your lunch

Buying your lunch is an expensive exercise – if you spend $10 a day on lunch, five days a week, that’s $2,400 a year.

You’re at work to make money, so don’t spend it at work.

Planning and preparing your weekday lunches on a Sunday not only saves you money, it saves time.

Try the following brain food recipe for an easy week day lunch. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function.

Japanese style salmon patties

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 180g can pink salmon, drained, bones removed and flaked
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 small red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus 1 tablespoon extra
  • 1 bunch choy sum, trimmed
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine rice, salmon, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, ginger, soy, coriander and chill. Mix well. Shape into 8 even-sized, flattened patties. Chill, covered, for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan on high. Fry patties in two batches, 3-4 minutes each side, until golden. Drain on paper towel.
  3. Wipe pan clean. Heat extra oil on medium. Stir-fry choy sum and tomatoes for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve patties with wasabi mayonnaise (see tip) and fresh vegetables.

Top tip

  • To make wasabi mayonnaise, combine 1/3 cup whole egg mayonnaise with 1-2 teaspoons of wasabi paste.

Recipe courtesy of Ninemsn Food.

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About Us

The Institute of Careers is a leading career development and advisory support service, equipping Australian job-seekers and employees with the know-how to supercharge their careers. We offer a wide range of resources, including cheat sheets, FAQs and customisable templates, covering all aspects of professional development – from writing a cracking cover letter, searching for a job and selling yourself in an interview, to landing a promotion and becoming a great manager.