How to ace that all-important job interview

How to ace that all-important job interview | Insurance Business

How to ace that all-important job interview

In a tight market interview processes are longer and more intense than ever. It’s fair to assume that hiring decisions are being made on how you present your background and experience over a 45-minute period, and the positive energy you can create in the room.

I’ve noticed certain trends relating to how interviews are won and what a candidate needs to deliver in order to leave the hiring manager either wanting more or pushing for a hiring outcome earlier than expected.

  1. Don’t turn up 20 minutes early. You might be keen but this puts unnecessary pressure on the hiring manager to see you earlier than scheduled. I always advise waiting in the lobby or delaying presenting yourself to reception until five minutes before the time of your interview.


  1. This is obvious but often overlooked:  A good handshake and a smile really starts things off in a good way and will show that you are comfortable in your own skin.



  1. Make sure your CV is full of achievements, not responsibilities. No one cares how many responsibilities you have had in previous roles: they want to know what business benefits were you specifically accountable for, what did you personally get across the line and how did you manage the expectations of the people around you to negotiate a great outcome for everyone involved. 


  1. In the current market, hiring managers are more concerned about assessing how you will think in particular situations and the line of questioning will likely be of a behavioural nature. “Tell me about a time when you….” Or “how do you differentiate between two critical tasks in a project, with similar business impact” are likely questions you will be asked to answer. If you start talking about what you would do in the future, you may as well leave the interview – you won’t get the job. You need to speak about what you have done in the past and there needs to be a certain level of detail. I advise answering questions of this nature by referring to specific projects pieces of work you have done before and listing the challenges and goals of that work. Talk about your involvement, the challenges and discuss how your problem solving skills were required to reach a desired outcome. Remember, you’re being assessed on your ability to solve this businesses problems and how well you can work through issues which may arise.


  1. Don’t talk about a previous working arrangements in a negative light, If it didn’t work out talk about the experience subjectively and what you were able to take away from the experience regardless.


  1. Be authentic and approachable. The interviewer will want to connect with you as a person, so allow them to do so. Remember, people will hire you if you can do the job but also if they can see themselves working with you! In my opinion, technical skills are trainable but it’s very difficult to reprogram a personality.

Ivan Micallef recruits into the insurance industry in Sydney and Melbourne for Talentweb.