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What does it take to get your dream job? Does the most suitable candidate always get the position or is there more at play when it comes to securing your dream role?

We’ve all been in organisations where we have seen star performers go unnoticed, chipping away at their roles quietly, earnestly and producing consistent quality outcomes repeatedly that go unnoticed by upper management. Perhaps you’ve been that person who has been overlooked in an organisation, but you and your colleagues are acutely aware of your consistent quality of performance. We don’t often market ourselves well enough in our current roles or in performance reviews so is it any wonder we often fall short marketing ourselves to a panel of complete strangers?

From the moment you submit your application through to the moment you accept an offer you are essentially marketing yourself to a prospective organisation. If you think about the fact that an employer is paying a salary for you and expecting a certain level of performance that would impact their bottom line, then it makes sense that they would want to hire the best person for the role. However, the challenge is, how do you ensure that someone who has never met you is able to determine in just a 45-minute timeslot that you are the person for the role?

The key to ensuring you combat those nerves and walk away with the satisfaction of putting your best foot forward for a role is to follow a couple of key steps prior to the interview.

Present yourself like you work in the company

Presentation is key but also try and get a sense of the attire of the organisation- is it smart casual? Suit and tie? Ask the question of your recruitment agent or person interviewing you so you are prepared in this area and can walk in like you already work there.

Plan and prepare your responses

The first step is ensuring you put some ground work in prior to the interview and research the selection criteria to get a sense of what you will need to demonstrate in the role. If a selection criterion isn’t available the required credentials will be available in the advertisement. If you are dealing with a recruitment consultant and there is no advertisement available- discuss with them what the client is looking for and what it was about your experience that appealed to them for this position.

In situations where a panel is scoring interview attendees the interview guide is based around competencies that are outlined in the selection criteria. Have a review of the selection criteria yourself, or you can get the assistance of a family member or friend and compile a couple of example questions yourself that could solicit your experience. If in doubt do some of your on internet research on behavioural questions for that particular competency.

Practise through “real play”

Once you’ve compiled some example questions the next step is practise detailing your answers. A good place to start is just going through your career history to date and making note to mention some of your most impressive roles or projects you have been involved in that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for. You can then drill down on some more specifics through challenging yourself to some behavioural questions.

For example, say that in the selection criteria they talk of demonstrated leadership capability. Try answering a question such as “Tell me about a time where you have had to lead a diverse team through a challenging project in the workplace”. Most interviews operate on the STAR (situation, task, action, result) model so practise structuring your answers in this way.

Taking a couple of hours prior to an interview to do some research and attend an interview prepared will help you maintain a level of confidence and consistency in an interview process. When you have already worked through in your mind the best examples of your competency to do the role not only do you have them readily available for a prospective employer but you also are feeling more confident about your ability to in that position and that confidence shows. You’ve put in the work to do your resume and searched for that dream role, don’t forget to make sure you put in the work at the interview stage and sell yourself too.

Lauren Karan

Written by Lauren Karan, Recruitment Executive at Appoint Pty Ltd
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