The first 90 seconds

3 Minute Read

We are a restless bunch these days. Almost one million Australians will change their jobs this year, the latest statistics show*.  

That usually means a job interview. But that does not have to be daunting: you can learn quite a lot from speaking with hiring managers. These insights may help you ace your next interview. 

Job interviews are stressful for everyone

Nine in ten people stress over at least one aspect of a job interview - and nerves are the top issue. Many people are anxious because they have applied for a job where they feel overqualified, according to a survey by Harris Interactive and Everest College.  Others worry about being late for an interview or being unable to answer a difficult question.

Job seekers have 90 seconds to impress

The most important thing to do is to make a positive first impression.

A third of all hiring managers know within the first 90 seconds whether they will hire you. Over half of the impact you make is from the way you dress, act and walk through the door.

These findings are from research conducted by Classes & Careers, an American company that matches students with courses. Over 2,000 hiring managers participated.

Six in ten managers say that clothes could be a deciding factor between two similar candidates. And they prefer that you do not wear something too “fashionable or trendy”. Smart, yes, but this is a job interview, after all.

There is some truth in the saying: you should dress for the job you want.

Most common mistakes made by job seekers

Preparation is also important, and is the most effective way to manage anxiety. Surprisingly, many people underprepare.

A clear sign for employers that you are winging the interview is not researching the company that you wish to join. And it is common: almost half of job seekers have little or no knowledge of the company that they want to work for. And many people fail to show enough interest or enthusiasm in an interview.

According to the survey, job seekers also failed to set themselves apart from other candidates. Employers were also surprised people did not have the confidence to simply ask for the job.

Top interview questions 

 ‘Tell me about yourself’ is the top question that job seekers are asked, according to the hiring managers. They will also want to know why you have left your last job, or why you want to leave. So, be prepared for those basic questions.

Bernard Marr, an author and expert on big data and business, believes you only need to prepare for three core interview questions. He says all other interview questions link back to these questions: 

  1. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
  2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
  3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?

“If the interviewer doesn’t get what he or she wants from one question, they might ask them in different ways,” Marr wrote in an online article. “Or they might probe from different angles to test for consistency in your answers.”

By preparing for these questions, and providing a range of evidence and examples to illustrate your answers, you have a better chance to ace the interview. 


* Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics