Tips for acing a job interview

Are you trying to get a job, but have no idea how to handle an interview? Job interviews can be pretty nerve-racking, especially if you haven’t had much experience or success in the past. Get better prepared with these tips below.

1. Dress to impress

What you wear to a job interview makes a strong first impression – good or bad! Don’t panic, you don’t need to buy a suit if you’re after a job at the local supermarket. Just make sure you have an outfit that is neat, simple and conservative. Avoid see-through clothes, jeans with rips, hoodies, exercise clothes, thongs and sneakers. Tie back long hair neatly, and make sure that you and your clothes are clean. 

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2. Be punctual

Being late to an interview suggests that you’ll be late to work, so it’s important to be on time.  Look up where you’re going before, and work out how you’ll get there. Aim to be there around 15 minutes before, and then let the interviewer know that you are there about 5 minutes before your interview time.  

Remember though, there is such a thing as being too early! You don't want to be the person that shows up 45 minutes before your interview. Whoever is interviewing you has set aside time in their schedule to meet with you. You don't want to put pressure on them to reorganise their day because you showed up way too early!

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3. Know your questions (and answers!)

Prepare to be asked about yourself, your experience, and what you are good at. Try to refer to your skills and experience in previous jobs or volunteer work. Haven’t had a job before? No problem, try to talk about school, or any informal work (like babysitting or tutoring classmates) instead. 

You might be asked about your weaknesses. To answer this, mention something small that you aren’t great at, and a way that you are improving in this area. For example, you could say that you aren’t very good at spelling, but you always check your work carefully for errors.  There’s no need to mention your weaknesses unless you’re asked.

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4. Be confident, keep cool

If you aren’t feeling confident, just pretend to be! Shake your interviewer’s hand, smile, and make eye contact. This shows that you will be comfortable talking to your future co-workers and customers. Remember not to talk too fast. This is a really normal thing to do when you are nervous, but it won’t help you to get the job. Try to talk at the same speed you would to a family member or friend. 

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5. Practice, practice, practice

The best way to feel relaxed and confident is to practice answering questions and talking about yourself. See if you can rope in a family member or friend to help you out. 

It's important not to overdo the practicing. Try not to think about the interview the evening before, to give yourself a break and allow yourself to relax.

Good luck!

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Last reviewed: 08 July, 2015
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