We asked our HR Manager Linda Williams about some of the best and worst things you can do in an job interview.

Linda can call on a wealth of experience in recruitment, staff induction, training and development. She provides advice and assistance in a range of areas, including workplace relations, helping employees to reach their career potential.

When in a job interview what’s the best way to make a great first impression?

  • Research the Company you are going to for an interview. Look on the Company website and ensure you are well prepared and know about the Company and the role.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early – no more no less.
  • Know your audience – i.e. the person who is interviewing you. Check them out on LinkedIn or on the company website. Remember the name/s and position/s of the people you are meeting with. If they offer their business card/s, place in them front of you to refer to the name/s throughout the interview.
  • Dress appropriately – this doesn’t have to mean a suit but at least wear smart casual business attire. No shorts, thongs or revealing clothing. You’d be surprised what I’ve seen in my career 🙂 Be clean neat and appropriate in your presentation for your interview. Don’t smoke just before your interview as the smell is very strong and that will be off-putting.
  • Go into the interview with a smile. Shake the hands of the people who will be meeting with you. Practice in the mirror beforehand.
  • Stick to the point and to the question being asked. No life stories necessary. Be enthusiastic in your responses and give yourself a plug as you’ll only get one chance to do it.
  • Be authentic! Thank the interviewer/s for their time and if you are unsuccessful be gracious about it and perhaps ask for feedback as to what you could do to improve for next time.

What’s the worst thing someone can do in an interview?

  • Do not interrupt the interviewer and jump in before they have finished asking the question or if they are explaining something.
  • Never bad mouth a former employer or colleague as it comes across as negative.
  • Never lie in an interview. Again you’d be surprised what people say thinking they are impressing the interviewer.
  • Don’t use offensive language e.g sexually explicit, sexist, racially offensive language or swearing.
  • Can’t help but share this one – someone once accepted a cup of tea and a biscuit (the old days) and then dipped the biscuit in my tea (true story!)

How do you answer tough interview questions like ‘What’s your greatest weakness?

This is often one people can get stuck on. Be truthful. I prefer to ask the question as an area you’d like to develop in. Responses like – I can take things too personally, sometimes I over analyze situations or procrastinate or sometimes I jump in too quickly to decisions show that you are human and that you are comfortable to admit that you are not perfect and are looking to improve in that area. It won’t be held against you.

What do you look for in a good job candidate?

A well presented individual with good communication and listening skills who can articulate answers clearly and succinctly. Friendly disposition, positive attitude, enthusiastic, professional and reliable, team player.

What’s your top 3 pieces of advice for modern day jobseekers?

      1.Preparation is key.
      2.Be prepared to answer behavioural based style questions so with examples. The STAR method is used by most interviewers so you will need to respond by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.

      3.Think of a question that shows you understand the Company and the role you at applying for.

Linda is our CHESS Human Resources manager with significant experience in the development and implementation of a range of progressive human resource initiatives. Linda is a passionate volunteer and volunteers regularly in Coffs Harbour. Other passions include Zumba, Paddle Boarding and Yoga.