If you’re one of the third of Australians looking for a job this year, then you'll be relieved to know the number of job advertisements last month hit its highest levels since late 2018, according to ANZ Job Ads.

And listings in the ICT category on job ads site Seek have grown considerably over the past six months from 9,200 jobs in early September to 14,300 this week.

But just applying for one of the available jobs is only the first step.

Recruiting company Hays has released a guide for the all-important job interview to give you a fighting chance of securing the next step in your career.

“We’re observing good growth in some sectors and big changes occurring in the job market due to the rapid implementation of digital technology,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays Australia/New Zealand.

“That means that, for candidates, opportunities are there – provided you can stand out in your next interview.”

Before the interview

You got the confirmation: you have been shortlisted for the job. Congratulations! Now is the time to start your preparations by doing your research.

Open up LinkedIn, the company website, and your favourite search engine and start taking notes on these four critical topics: the industry, the company, the hiring manager, and the role.

Try to be across any recent developments in the industry and take a look at recent news articles about or press releases from your potential employer to get a sense of what they have been up to lately.

It’s also worth getting a sense of who your hiring manager is and what their experience is, which can be easily achieved checking out their LinkedIn profile or possibly finding speaking appearances on YouTube.

Of course, you need to know your prospective role inside and out so make sure you read the job description carefully to understand what you would be getting into.

Then it’s time to prepare answers to what Hays says are the most commonly asked questions in a job interview:

  • Why are you looking to leave your current job?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Can you tell me about a time you failed?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Are you interviewing with any other companies?

Jot down some answers so you have a sense of what you might say when the time comes, but don’t worry about needing to follow a script on the day – just be yourself.

While you are writing, consider some questions to ask the interviewer. Hays recommends you focus your questions on six areas: the role, the team, the hiring manager, learning and development, the organisation, and next steps.

Then make sure you know where the interview is, its format, and dress code, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep beforehand.

The interview

You only get to make one first impression. Hays recommends four important things to remind yourself before you walk through the door (or join a video call).

  1. Remind yourself of the details of the job, your CV, and questions you have about the job.
  2. Be polite to everybody.
  3. If you have to wait in reception for a face-to-face interview, stay off your phone.
  4. Be on time – aim for 10 minutes early and let your recruiter know if outside factors have you running late. It’s worth also being ready 10 minutes before a virtual interview.

Once you are taken into the room, the interview truly begins. Now it’s time to be aware of building a meaningful connection with your interviewer.

Hays says simple things like smiling, using your interviewer’s name often, and asking follow-up questions can make the difference between securing a job and getting back to the drawing board.

When you’re being interviewed over video chat, remember to occasionally look straight into your camera to give the impression of eye contact.

And if your mind happens to go momentarily blank – don’t panic! It happens all the time. Take a deep breath, have a sip of water, and try to collect your thoughts.

You can also use tactics like repeating the question back to the interviewer to buy an extra moment, ask for clarification, or simply admit you are human and have temporarily drawn a blank.

What next?

The interview is over: you were polite, smiled, answered questions honestly, and asked some of your own. Now you just wait for a response, right?

Not exactly.

Hays recommends making a short follow-up with your recruiter or your interviewer thanking them for the opportunity and letting them know you’re keen to hear back.

You’ll also want to remind your references to keep an eye out in case they get the call.

Keep track of who you have been interviewed by and keep searching – even if it felt like the interview went as good as it possibly could have, you are not guaranteed the job.

Make sure you also check in with yourself about the new potential role. Hays recommends asking these four questions after the interview:

  1. Do you feel excited about the job?
  2. Is the company right for you?
  3. What did you think of your potential new manager?
  4. What is your gut telling you?

No matter what the outcome is, remember that you now have one more interview under your belt and are another step closer to your next job.

Good luck!