You have a story to tell

It’s a great achievement to get an interview, and something that should give you confidence.

Many of the tips in our web page called “Applying for jobs” can also help in your interview.

Your interview will give you a better opportunity to show you:

  • have the skills required
  • understand the job
  • have personal attributes and experience aligned with the mission and purpose of the organisation.

In the video below, career coach Anne Kirby-Fahey and HR specialist Dianne Underwood recommend thinking about your experience and attributes as your unique story.

Telling your story

Anne Kirkby-Fahey (AKF), Career Options Tasmania

Dianne Underwood (DU), formerly Federal Group

How do I tell employers why I applied for the job?

DU – It’s the art of storytelling isn’t it and it resonates with people, a good story, and you have to be comfortable with what your story is as well, and I think that comes across when you nail it.

AKF – And again it’s practice. We have a thing call the 5 Ps. What does that mean? Prior preparation prevents poor performance. So, whether it means you’re on your own doing it or you’re with us or a friend, keep practicing it. There’s a thing called the elevator speech, which quite a lot of people have heard of, and it’s like have a genuine story about what you’re looking for and why you’re looking for it and what you might bring to it and be able to get that across in a couple of minutes.

It helps to practice

It’s not unusual for applicants to be interviewed by two or three people. It’s also possible that you’ll be asked to attend more than one interview. And your second interview might be with someone who wasn’t at your first interview – possibly someone more senior.

If you worry about being interviewed, it might help to join a group like Speaking Made Easy (for women) or Toastmasters. They’ll give you opportunities to build your confidence by practising in front of other members and getting their feedback.

It’s quite likely at least one of the people who interview you will be a younger person. If you haven’t had that experience before, practising with a younger person you know might help you feel comfortable.

You may need to do a video interview

Video interviews are becoming increasingly common. If you’re not yet familiar with tools such as Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts, ask your employment service provider to assist you or visit one of Libraries Tasmania‘s computing and technology courses in online collaborations/communications.

You may be able to use a smartphone or tablet. If you’re using a computer it will need to have a camera and a microphone either built in or attached.

Make sure you find out well in advance what conference provider will be used – Skype, Zoom etc. – and whether you will be talking live to an interviewer or answering pre-recorded questions. Both formats are common today.

Websites such as LinkedIn, Seek and Indeed have detailed help sheets, so do have a look at those before you begin.

Dressing well can give you confidence

It may seem self-evident but it really is important to dress in neat, comfortable clothes appropriate to the organisation and role. If you do this, those interviewing you won’t be distracted by your clothes. More importantly, clothes that make you feel good will probably give you confidence, which is something we know employers and recruiters value.

If you’re a woman living in or near Hobart and you don’t have the financial resources to buy the kind of clothes you need for an interview, you can contact Amanda French at Dress for Success Hobart by emailing Amanda can supply work-appropriate clothes, mentoring, access to career development workshops and a supportive network to help you on your path to employment.

Another good tip to help make your interview go smoothly is to visit the venue before hand, so you know how long it will take to get there, the best route and the easiest transport. On the day, leave yourself more time than you think you’ll need, in case something goes wrong. The last thing you want is to arrive puffed and red-faced because you had to rush.

It’s good to ask for feedback

It’s reasonable to expect to be advised of the outcome of your interview, whether or not you are successful. Hundreds of people might apply for a job, but only a few will be interviewed, so there’s really no excuse for an employer or recruiter not letting you know the outcome.

If someone who interviews you doesn’t tell you when to expect to hear the outcome, it’s okay for you to ask this question before you leave.

It can be dispiriting if you don’t hear back for a long time. It may mean you’ve been unsuccessful, but it’s possible there are other reasons for the delay. For example, it may take time to contact referees and to get approval to make an offer.

If you feel you did a good interview but were unsuccessful, remember that you may have been one of several applicants who were well suited to the position.

After interviews, some employers keep a register of applicants who were suitable but unsuccessful. If you’re still interested in working for the organisation, make sure your contact knows you would like to be considered for future positions.

Staying positive

Mark Boonstra (MB) and Samantha Lawrence (SL), both of Impact Communities

How do I stay positive if I find I keep missing out on jobs?

MB – I think it’s really important to not let one or two or three or sometimes four or five setbacks knock you too much because there is something out there that might just be the fifth or sixth job that you go for will be the one that you get.

How can I do better in my next interview?

SL – In building resilience, particularly when you are applying for lots of jobs and you’re constantly getting the knockbacks and then the other component to it is you’re actually not getting any feedback or call back to say why, I would personally call the employer and seek out that information myself so if there’s is a particular area why you weren’t successful, so that you can build upon that and use that feedback.

When you get the interview but don’t get the job

Kaylene Chalmers (KC), Job Seeker

Do you have any tips for people who have an interview but don’t get the job?

KC – When you have an interview, you can have a post-interview interview and good employers will give you good feedback. They won’t be negative; they’ll give you information about how you could do it better. So, that is really good, and I’ve had those experiences. I’ve had interviews and I’ve been unsuccessful, but I’m not upset about it or I just think okay, I didn’t get it because somebody had better skills than me. It’s not personal.

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“Telling your story” video credits
  • Anne Kirby-Fahey is a career coach and Board member of Career Options Tasmania.
  • Dianne Underwood is former People and Culture Manager at Wrest Point and Country Club Casinos. Dianne is also on the boards of Colony 47 and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Tasmania.
“Staying positive” video credits
  • Mark Boonstra is the Manager of Impact Communities, which is part of Workskills, a jobactive provider.
  • Samantha Lawrence is Employment and Innovation Facilitator at Impact Communities.
  • Film maker: Lucy East
“When you get the interview but don’t get the job” video credits
  • Kaylene Chalmers is a job seeker studying a Certificate III in Individual Support: Aged, Home and Community through TasTAFE and Glenview Community Services.