Job interviews are nearly always daunting, but if it’s been years (maybe even decades) between interviews, the thought of facing up to a potential employer might be overwhelming.
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to take the pressure off. Lois Freeke talks to Pro Bono Australia and gives her top five tips on how to prepare for, and nail your interview.
Clean up your LinkedIn
Before you even get to the interview, it’s critical that you clean up and update your LinkedIn profile. This way you can make sure that when your potential employer inevitably checks LinkedIn pre-interview they get the most up-to-date version of your professional history, and it also gives you a chance to refresh and reflect on key skills and achievements.
“The job seeker has to bring themselves up to date and be very familiar and confident when speaking about what they’ve actually delivered,” Freeke says.
“It’s not just the scope of that job, but their accomplishments in their roles and making sure that that’s in the public domain.”
Prepare your interview story
You can’t prepare for everything that will happen in the interview, but reading through the position description carefully will help you anticipate what the main questions are going to be.
Freeke suggests constructing an interview story around these questions in a simple format such as explaining the challenge, how you handled it, and what the result of that was.
“It’s important to prepare these stories because the jobseeker might not be so familiar with what they’ve accomplished and what they’ve delivered if they haven’t spoken recently about their experience in an interview format,” she says.
While you do want to come prepared, it’s also important to keep your ears open during the interview and make sure you’re not reading off a script. This will help you feel a little more comfortable and help build rapport with the interviewer.
“Candidates will do so much preparation because they are so nervous and they want to bolster their confidence, but that means they don’t listen deeply,” Freeke says.
“But it’s so important you really listen to what the interviewer is saying and try to build a rapport with them through any research that you’ve done on them.”
Lights, camera, action!
If you’re interviewing for a job in 2020, it’s probably going to take place over webcam. To make sure that you’re ready for this, practice by recording yourself and watching back, or even organise a Zoom session with a friend to get the feel for it.
Freeke also suggests taking advantage of the LinkedIn interview prep tool, which can be found here.
Ask for feedback
Jumping back into the job market after an extended period of time in 2020 is no easy feat, so there is a chance you won’t land a job after your very first interview.
Asking for constructive feedback to hone your interview skills is a great way to remain positive even if you don’t get the role.
“If you get rejected, I think you should follow up and ask if they would provide some feedback to help you with future opportunities,” Freeke says.
“Getting some feedback will help you improve and reframe the situation as an opportunity to improve yourself and give you something constructive to work with.”