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Six ways to avoid disaster in your post-Easter interviews

Lined up a few interviews for after the Easter break? Good for you. But unfortunately, even as the employment market improves, those dastardly banks are still unforgiving when it comes to interviews.

Having a strong CV and being in a skill-short job sector is not a winning combination. You also need to perform well under fire, so here are a few tips to help you beat the banks at the interview game.

1) Don’t just look at the big picture

Some candidates are brilliant at researching the company as a whole, but not the actual job. “Your preparation should ensure that you understand the role, how it fits into the organisation and the skills required. Use examples where you have demonstrated these skills, including achievements that are specifically related,” says Vanessa Harding-Farrenberg, joint managing director, Morgan McKinley.

2) Know your own behaviour

Be prepared to answer behaviour-based questions. “Most banks will look for similar attributes: communication/relationship skills; team building; ability to be proactive; assertiveness; delivering under pressure; influencing skills and leadership skills,” comments Harding-Farrenberg.

3) And know thy enemy

Researching the interviewer’s background gives you ideas on questions to ask about his or her own experience and provides topics for initial conversation, says Alana Hunnick, banking & finance consultant, Manpower Professional.

4) But beware pointless questions

Be ready with questions to ask at the end of the interview, but avoid those that could be answered via the bank’s website or other easily accessed information, says Harding-Farrenberg. “And don’t ask questions for the sake of it. If your questions have been answered, just say so.”

5) Escape the deep freeze

Many candidates go into interviews with little preparation on articulating their own experience. “We see a lot of applicants ‘freezing’ in interviews because they haven’t sat down to think about the types of questions that may be presented to them. When preparing for an interview, it’s a good idea to have some examples up your sleeve of the type of work that you have done or challenging situations that you have overcome,” says Hunnick.

6) Don’t forget the details

A quick scan of the corporate website doesn’t qualify as research. You should be able to talk about how the firm is performing in terms of revenue, profitability, products and services. Hunnick adds: “It’s also a good idea to take a step back and see what is being said about the company in the media and what advertising campaigns you may have seen relating to the company.”

Are you a candidate based in Australia? Would you like to write an anonymous column for eFinancialCareers giving an honest perspective on your experiences in the job market?
Please email: apac.editor@efinancialcareers.com

For examples, please click on the headlines below.

Stuck in the Middle: believe me, the employment market is still a bit shaky

Junior Job Hunter: from job offer to dole queue – how did this happen to me!?

Comments (2)

  1. I think that going through interview is very different experience now than it was a couple of years ago. At the moment they are well aware about the lack of jobs, you cannot research who is going to interview you and you cannot hope for people to get back to you at the end of the process with the answer. too many times even at the bank one doesn’t know the result. It is even more frustrating when someone who was not on interview will call you and give you a negative feed back or answer – you will not fit with the rest of people because there are nobody over 30 there.
    Another point that I would like to make is that most of the times (especially at the bank) there is a person who is very suitable for the position advertised. So it becomes an endless queue of candidates who do their best and have no chance. At the end of the day in the present situation people without connections settle for much lesser jobs (if we are lucky again, for you are overqualified is so common).
    In the ideal world I would ask for not advertising the same job 3-4 times on the same web site and please advertise real jobs.

  2. Dont wear thongs and/or false nose and eyebrows, unless of course you are interviewing at Westpac where this will probably win you compliments on your dress sense and good looks. (it’s all relative, right?)
    If interviewing at NAB remember they are mostly hunchbacks so put a cushion in the back of your jacket and don’t forget to limp. Perfect your bosseyed look for ANZ, and remember that tourettes is a must for RM roles at CBA.

    Khan Degifavuk Reply

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