Meet the new boss: Top tips to nail a modern job interview in Aotearoa

Meet the new boss: Top tips to nail a modern job interview in Aotearoa
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Starting a new job can be transformative, from reaching a thrilling new stage in your career to making incredible connections among colleagues but before experiencing those highs, one hurdle has to be cleared: the interview.

Often nerve-wracking but unavoidable, the interview process is a timeless part of job hunting but like so many aspects of our lives it has transformed in the modern era - particularly since the pandemic. 

Trade Me Head of Talent Carrie O'Meara-Malcolm says modern interviewing focuses less on pure technical experience and more on 'soft skills', i.e how you'll integrate with your co-workers, employers and the company culture overall.  

"Ticking all the skills boxes and the technical fit was once king, cultural fit has risen up the agenda, showing your authentic self at an interview is really important”

Data from a Trade Me Jobs survey in April 2022 shows up to 7 in 10 Kiwis are planning to leave their jobs within the next two years, with nearly a fifth of respondents planning to leave within 12 months. Kiwis are also increasingly confident in the job market, with a 9 percent increase in applications per listing, year-on-year.

With so many Kiwis on the hunt for a new job and the potential for thousands of interviews on the horizon, Newshub and Trade Me have teamed up to bring you a guide on what to do (and not do) during your interview. 

Getting prepared 

First of all, do your homework. Almost every company has a digital footprint, letting you research their culture ahead of time and go in with an idea of what they're after in their workers. 

But this is a two way street, online, you can see them and they can see you. Go back through your old social media posts for anything which might not reflect the professionalism you're trying to project.

Ask for additional information, like how long the interview will be and who will be on the panel; showing initiative and interest will never count against you. And don't be afraid to ask for the basics, like what the dress code is - business casual is a safe bet for most interviews but it pays to make sure.

Video conferencing is normal in workplaces since 2020 and the interview stage is no exception, so your first meeting with your potential employer may not be in person. 

Have the right technology set up. Check you have the video on, and you’re not muted. Make sure you're in a place where you are able to receive the video call," advises Carrie. 

And while there may be a million things you want to memorise before heading in, Carrie says to be careful to not come across as overly rehearsed. 

"You can be over-prepared which can result in sounding like a robot vision of yourself rather than looking like your authentic self."

Once you've done the right amount of prep, it's time for the main event.

The actual interview

While every job interview is different, one question is almost guaranteed:

'What is it about the organisation that attracted you to apply for this role?'

This is where your research will come in. An articulate, honest response that showcases both your knowledge of the business and an argument for how your skills could contribute to it will go a long way to highlighting your potential. 

Another common (and dreaded) question is "what's your greatest weakness?" 

While you might be tempted to contort your answer into a compliment (I'm just too much of a perfectionist!), Carrie says honesty is the best policy. 

"Businesses want to understand where the opportunities for development are and nobody's perfect, right? There is always something that people can learn or develop. So go in with an understanding of that about yourself."

Though truthfulness is always preferred, there are times to be tactful. Even if you didn't leave your previous workplace on amazing terms, don't stride in and start trashing old colleagues.

Speaking positively about what attracts you to the new role instead of what you disliked about your old one will create a much better tone for your conversation.  

Have some questions ready to go for the end of the interview, as you'll almost certainly be asked if there's anything else you want to discuss. Remember that while this is a chance for them to interview you, it's also a chance for you to interview them. 

Make the most of the opportunity because you may discover through some probing questions of your own that the role isn't actually a great fit for you or there are aspects you'll want to negotiate once you see a contract. 

Once the interview is over, take some time to relax but follow up in the next few days, either to thank them or to request feedback. 

"I love getting that email from the interviewee saying, 'Hey, thanks so much. It was really nice to meet you.' And that carries on that connection," says Carrie. 

Of course, even when you feel like you've nailed it, not every interview will go your way but Carrie says it's crucial to not let that bog you down and hold you back from future success.

"Do not carry interview baggage with you. If you didn't land the job, ensure you receive some constructive feedback and use this  as a learning opportunity for your next interview experience”. 

Overall, Carrie has a golden rule when it comes to navigating interviews.

"One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is: be curious. This interview is an investment for you in your career as well as an investment for the employer. So be super curious, ask questions and do your research."

Ready to find your dream job? Head on over to Trade Me Jobs now to start your search or read through the full results of their Employer & Job Hunter Intentions Spotlight for more information on the current market.

Article created in partnership with Trade Me.