How to ace a job interview

26 September 2023

Career conversations

Putting yourself forward for a new job is an exciting time! And when you score that interview that you’ve worked so hard to get, you want to go in and nail it. Preparation is key, but searching the web for interview tips can sometimes leave you more confused than before.

So, we’ve broken it down to our top five tips for acing your next job interview.

1. Know before you go

Learning as much as you can about the business you want to work for is important. You'll get an idea of what they're looking for in an employee, and researching the organisation will prove you’re serious about getting (and nailing) the job.

So, do your research! Check out their website, subscribe to their email list, follow them on social media, connect with people that work there (or used to) on Linkedin – whatever helps you learn more. Do they talk about their culture, values and vision? Is the business involved in the community? Is it possible to visit before your interview? If it’s a retail store go in– maybe make a purchase and see how they deliver on the customer experience.

2. Show up early

The big day is here! You’ve worked so hard to perfect your resume and prepare for the interview. To show you’re keen, you decide to show up early...

But how early is too early?

If you're nervous about being on time, why not have a ‘dress rehearsal’, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Pick a day earlier that week and commute to the location at the same time of day, so you can plan your travel time appropriately.

If you do end up running late, don’t panic. Life happens. All you can do is apologise with sincerity and get on with the interview!

And if you’re running mega early on the day? Find a nearby coffee shop and grab a hot drink to calm your nerves – who knows? It could end up being your new local.

3.Create a strong first impression

We all know first impressions matter. And it’s no different with job interviews. No pressure, but some hiring managers say they know within the first 30 seconds or so whether you have a shot at getting hired.

Realistically, you probably have a little more time than that, but it’s still important to make the best impression you can within the first few minutes of meeting your interviewer.

In a post-COVID world, handshakes can be a tricky one! While many people are comfortable returning to the good ole’ fashioned handshake, if you or the person interviewing you isn’t comfortable shaking hands, just embrace the awkwardness – make a joke about it and call it out specifically.

People with strong interpersonal skills are more likely to be hired, so don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm and personality. It’s fine to let the interviewer know that you love your work and are excited about this opportunity.

4.Prepare your answers

While this whole article is about giving you tips to prepare, here are some very specific things you can do to help you feel organised on the day:

5.Have a conversation

Interviews are a two-way street. It’s just as much about you figuring out whether the job and organisation is the right fit for you, as it is about them sussing you out. Treat it as a conversation and make sure you have some good questions to ask. Try not to waffle, which can be hard when you're nervous – having some real examples from your work history that demonstrate what you have achieved in the past can be a good way to focus the conversation.

Ask your interviewer questions about the work environment and the future of the company. By doing that, you’re no longer in the middle of a nerve-wracking interview but having a conversation where both sides are building a relationship.

Here are some example questions you can start with (but make sure to come up with some of your own that are specific to the role too!):

If you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t hesitate to take a breath, or a sip of water and simply say, “let me think about that for a moment.” A good employer will appreciate you taking the time to give them a thoughtful answer.

Good Luck!

Don’t forget to take us with you! If you do land the job, make sure you tell them that you’d like to keep your Child Care Super account. Find out how to do this on our Changing Jobs page.