Preparing for an interview does not have to be stressful. The key to success is preparation and presentation – with researching the relevant organisation at the top of the list. Today’s job market is highly competitive, especially in the labour hire area, so it is important for candidates to brush up on their skills – and to ensure they always put in their best effort before meeting potential employers. As a job seeker, one of the first tips is to always make a good first impression, as first impressions count.

Another important tip is to have a sound understanding of the job you are applying for. This will allow you to ask more questions – and to appear much more knowledgeable about the organisation. At the interview, always highlight any skills and experience you may have – both in your chosen field and when working for a labour hire company. This will help you illustrate how closely your skills match the job description – and also demonstrate your understanding of the job and what the company does. And as you answer the interview questions, always remember to stay focused on the job and how you are a good fit for it. Do your best to match your abilities to the job description when responding, and remember the company would not be interviewing you unless they were really serious about hiring you. Therefore, try to focus on why they would want you to work for them – while at the same time remaining positive and realistic. Knowing your true value is important if you want to demonstrate your full potential – so be ready to talk about your experiences.

Another important area is the questions you ask at interview. Most interviewers judge candidates on three main areas: the candidate’s first impression, the quality of their answers, and the quality of their questions. Great questions can often overcome weaknesses in the other areas. Therefore, the best questions should focus on the impact and challenges of the role, and the relationship of the job to the business. You should also let the interviewer know your availability should your application be successful – and if you have a white card and PPE.

A good framework to use in the interview is STAR – Situation, Task, Action and Results. For each task, come up with one or two actual accomplishments that you can use as examples to prove your strength in that area. The best indicator of future performance is past performance, so focusing on what you have achieved previously helps give a prospective employer confidence in your capabilities. The STAR model is also very useful when answering behavioural and situational questions – but always remember to be very clear and specific with your answers.

Another way to reduce much of the stress involved with an interview, is to always plan ahead. Remember to pack everything you need to take with you the day before, to always know where you are going, and to allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview in case of traffic or other delays. Reducing these stresses will allow you to think much more clearly and to focus on ‘being yourself’ in the interview. Another good tip is to practice answering common interview questions with a family member or friend before going to the interview – to help get an idea of how to respond.

By making yourself as comfortable as possible, both you and your interviewer will be much more engaged – thus helping make the whole experience much less stressful. Consistent eye contact and open body language in the interview is also very important, as it demonstrates you are comfortable interacting with others and confident in yourself as a person. Finally, another important area, especially for a labour hire employee, is dressing appropriately. This is because what you wear is usually a good indicator of how serious you are taking the job – as well as how motivated and ‘switched on’ you are.