How to shine at your next job interview

Every job interview is a potential doorway to a new life.

Job Interview
Every job interview is a potential doorway to a new life. Your job is to impress. Being well informed and well-practised will help you relax, be more confident, articulate and successful.

Here are some interview tips that may help our working carers who are seeking a new job.

Practice makes perfect  

You will have the most confidence going into an interview if you have practised well beforehand in an interview setting. This is where your best friend, partner, mum, dad or the cat come in handy! Sit them down and give them a list of potential questions and ask them to grill you, while you sit across the table and answer.

Well okay, maybe not the cat, but if that is your only audience, ask yourself the questions and direct the answers to the mirror! You should dedicate a few hours each day to practising for interviews.

Another idea is to pay for a career development or recruitment service that offers mock interviews.

Try and get interviews with lots of similar organisations – even if you don’t want that particular job – the practice will be beneficial and you will have much more confidence when that dream job comes along.

Keep a list of how you answered each question and reflect on how you could answer better next time.

Prepare a structure you can use to answer questions

You need to have a well-developed structure for answering questions – especially problem-solving questions – and memorise it.

You need an idea of how to start. Sitting there blank-faced will not help you one iota.

Always repeat the question to the interviewer. You want to be sure you understand it and have all the relevant details. This will clarify your thinking and buy you a little bit of time to get your thoughts in order.

Tell them any assumptions you are making. Be clear what the OUTCOME or OBJECTIVES are that they wish to achieve in the given scenario. Don’t be afraid to ask any clarifying questions.

Even if you don’t know HOW to solve the issue, give them the APPROACH you might use. Discuss the trade-offs of the approach (authority to act/staff conflict/time/space/complexity of issue/likely consequences of two different courses of action and so on).

They are more likely to be interested in your thought processes and approach than the ultimate solution you propose.

Create a bank of pre-rehearsed answers for standard questions.

Give job hunting dedicated time

Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to invest in your job search process. You should be checking job ads every single day.

Set aside necessary money for travel expenses (you may have to pay fares if the job interview is distant).

Be prepared to get on the bus, train, plane or drive halfway to the moon and back to attend interviews. Be on time, even if it means being an hour early.

Always, always call if you are going to be late or cannot make it – whatever the reason.

Get well informed

You need to treat every job interview as a test of your knowledge – and study for it.

Read articles or borrow books from the library about the industry in which you are seeking a position.

You need to be informed about the main issues facing that industry; the global implications to Australian businesses, the main problems your organisation is likely to be facing in their marketplace – even if it doesn’t directly relate to your particular position. What is government policy relating to that particular industry? What is the ‘bible’ for that industry? Read it!

Follow these tips and you will be prepared and relaxed for any interview, which will significantly increase your chances of getting that job. Good luck in your next interview!

Get behind workplace flexibility – or lose out

Diversity Council Australia (DCA) has developed online resources to help organisations build flexible teams, jobs and organisations.

Article 2 get flexible thumbnail
Diversity Council Australia (DCA) has developed online resources to help organisations build flexible teams, jobs and organisations.

The Future-Flex resources are adaptable to different industry sectors and we have written about many of them in previous issues.

They can help make the dream of flexibility a mainstream element of any workplace and we encourage our working carers to share them with their managers.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see workplace flexibility implemented across the entire workplace?

For example, if you want to design a particular role to be more flexible, you can use the Future-Flex Tool 2. It uses a ‘work design’ mindset to step you through a process of (re)designing an individual’s job for flexibility.

About job design

Job design means designing an individual’s job to enable flexibility. This involves restructuring the parts of a particular job (e.g. tasks, duties, responsibilities, location, timing) to improve the performance and wellbeing of the organisation, the team, and individuals.

Future-Flex 2 Tool takes individual employees through six steps to re-design their job. Steps 1 to 5 can be done by employees by themselves or with a team member if this is easier.

In the final Step 6, the employee discusses their job design proposal with a trusted team member (if they have not done this already) and then their manager.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: what are your job characteristics?

Describe the main characteristics of your job. For example, your job title, key job/work outcomes, job location and timing, and the flexibility of your job, team and organisation.

Step 2: what are your main tasks, responsibilities & connections?

List your main job tasks and responsibilities. Estimate the percentage of time and energy you give to each task. Rate how important each task is to achieving your job/work outcomes.

List your main job connections. Your job connections are the people you need to connect with (have on-going relationships with) to deliver your job/work outcomes. Rate how important each connection is to achieving your job/work outcomes.

Step 3: what are the flexible parts of your job?

Identify which job tasks, responsibilities, and/or connections could be changed to be more flexible. Try to be open-minded and creative about your job and possible changes. Remember, the aim is to make changes which maintain or improve performance and wellbeing – your own and that of your team and organisation. What type of flexibility would you like (e.g. greater control of shifts, working from more than one location)? Keep this in mind to create ways to make your job tasks, responsibilities, and/or connections more flexible. See the Future-Flex Getting Creative Guide for ideas (link below).

Step 4: design your job for flexibility!  

Create your re-designed job. Use your findings from the Step 3 to summarise your re-designed job. As part of this, redefine your job’s characteristics and main tasks, responsibilities and/or connections (where relevant), and the job flexibility you propose.

Step 5: what are the opportunities and implications?

Identify the positive impacts of your proposed re-design – for yourself, your team, and your organisation (e.g. Are there any financial savings such as better productivity or reduced office space?)

Identify and address any negative impacts – for yourself, your team and your organisation (e.g. Are there any costs relating to back-filling roles or providing new equipment?)

Step 6: discuss and finalise your new flexible job design

Talk about your proposed design with a trusted team-mate. Refine your proposed design based on the feedback provided by your team-mate.

Talk about your proposed design with your immediate manager or your team (if you or your manager is keen to take a team-based approach to flexible work).

Future-Flex is a partnership initiative between DCA, the Retail Council, National Australia Bank, Allens, IBM, BAE Systems Australia and IAG, which generates practical guidance for managers, teams and individuals on how to implement and mainstream workplace flexibility through work design.

You can download a synopsis of the report here:

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