When it comes to job interviews, we’ve been told a million tips from how to dress to the perfect handshake in order to score the job of our dreams.
But there’s more to making a good impression than a perfect pencil skirt or a firm – but soft – grip.
As a former ad agency creative director who now has her own consultancy, Bec Brideson has been on both sides of the desk when it comes to interviews.
And the first step that Bec believes every prospective job candidate must do is extensive research on both the company and the interviewer.
Expert Bec Brideson believes that the first step every prospective job candidate must do is extensive research on both the company and the interviewer
Bec told Daily Mail Australia it is important to know about a company’s projects and achievements – and its values.
‘Candidates that can demonstrate that they respect those values and align with them are more likely to be chosen over others,’ she said.
Now the interview has begun and it’s time to sell yourself. But while many fuss over the classic ‘weakness’ question, Bec believes it’s the first one that’s most important.
‘The most common starter interview question is “Tell me about yourself”. Have a reason,’ she said.
‘I like to hear why you are here today, in this room, applying for this job.’
‘There’s a narrative and purpose for you being here and it also enlightens me as to who you are and what you could bring to our business.’
Before you even walk into the interview, Bec said it is important to research the culture of a company and make sure it will be one you can perform your best in
Bec believes that figuring out how to answer that question ahead of time not only leaves you more prepared, but can also offer personal insight.
‘Best of all, you knowing that story also enlightens you,’ she added.
Bec (pictured) is a former ad agency head and now owns her own consultancy
When it comes time to show-off your skills, Bec said it is important that women don’t sell themselves short – or try to play up what many consider to be traditionally masculine qualities.
‘Women often put down their soft skills, and yet we’re seeing a growing trend towards a need for them in businesses today,’ she explained.
‘Businesses today don’t want the ego-driven, dominant, narrow-focused leader.’
‘Modern leadership requires more “feminine” attributes – specifically trailblazers who can communicate, collaborate, negotiate, mediate, work with their teams, and think outside the box.’
Before you even walk into the interview, Bec said it is important to research the culture of a company and make sure it will be one you can perform your best in.
‘I find that cultures are often somewhere on the spectrum between male-lensed – assertive, task-based – or female-lensed – relationship-oriented and democratic,’ she said.
‘Find out where the business sits. Do they promote competitive top performers over top collaborators? Are they homogeneous or all about diversity?’
‘Then figure out which culture is best for you to thrive in.’
Bec believes that the most important question to prepare for is the first: ‘Tell me about yourself’ – and that you should connect it to why you want the job
After the interview is all said and done, Bec said she always loves to receive a thank you note or email the day after.
‘Be grateful that the interviewer is taking time out of their already busy schedule to make time for you,’ she said.
‘A fantastic candidate sent me her portfolio project of ads that have flipped the switch on old sexist ones. Those little touches might just cinch the job for you.’
And, at the end of the day, Bec said it is important to remember that as a job candidate ‘you have power too’.
‘Getting this job isn’t the be-all and end-all of your career,’ she said.
‘Soothe your nerves with the knowledge that there are many more options than ever before.’
‘As I tell my clients, the onus is on you to assess whether this is the right fit too – in their choice of values, process, and culture.’