Getting a job interview can be both exciting and stressful. Whether it’s your first job interview or your one hundredth, it’s important to prepare and practice.
Having the right support network can help you feel more confident as you work towards your employment goals. If you need advice on how to get a job with autism, you may be eligible for Disability Employment Services.
Speak to your local provider about how they can help you with finding job opportunities, preparing for job interviews and accessing ongoing workplace support.
Here are 10 tips to help you succeed at your next job interview.
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Research the company
Before you go to an interview, you should research the company, what they do and what their values are. Understanding an employer’s goals will help you answer your questions better and it’s a great way to show the interviewer that you’re prepared and passionate.
Create a list of your strengths
The interview is your chance to show an employer why you’d be an asset to their company. It’s important to think through your strengths, skills and positive qualities beforehand and practice explaining them.
Try to back up your statements with some evidence. For example, if you say that you are a responsible and independent worker, give an example of when you demonstrated those skills in the past.
Practice common interview questions
You might not know exactly what the interviewer will ask you, but there are some common questions that often come up in interviews.
These include questions like:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want this job?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
When you practice answering common interview questions, it can help you feel more confident going into the interview.
Role play your answers with a friend
It can be very helpful to get feedback from a friend or family member. Try roleplaying the interview with someone you trust to practice answering questions out loud.
Listen carefully to your trusted person’s feedback and try to put it into practice.
It might also help to record yourself answering the questions. That way you can watch the video back and notice things about your body posture, facial expression and tone that you might not have realised.
Pay attention to body language
We communicate things to other people through our body posture, facial expression and actions, as well as the things we say.
Body language you should use in an interview includes:
- Sit up straight with your shoulders back. Try to look confident and comfortable.
- Don’t fidget. Keep your hands in your lap to keep them still.
- Try to look at your interviewer’s eyes. If that’s uncomfortable, try looking at their eyebrows.
- Give a friendly smile and a welcoming facial expression.
- Give a strong and confident handshake.
- Lean forward slightly to show that you are engaged in the conversation. Just make sure you don’t encroach on someone else’s personal space.
Before your interview, practice your body language and facial expressions with someone you trust. Ask them: “When I do this, how does it make you feel?”
Keep your answers succinct
Listen carefully to the questions that the interviewer asks you and don’t interrupt them when they are speaking. It’s ok to take a moment to collect your thoughts before answering a question. It’s also okay to ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you didn’t hear it clearly.
When you do answer, keep your response succinct and to the point. When you finish answering, you can ask the interviewer something like: “Did that answer your question or would you like me to elaborate further?”
Ask your own questions
Before you go into the interview, think of two or three questions that you can ask the interviewer about the job. Preparing your own questions shows the interviewer that you are interested and engaged.
Prepare your outfit
Dressing appropriately and paying attention to your appearance can help send the right message to your interviewer.
Tips for dressing to impress:
- Prepare your outfit a few days before the interview.
- Wear professional or business clothes. Avoid casual clothes like t-shirts and shorts.
- Choose clothes that match the job type and company you are applying for.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get ready on the interview day.
- Iron your clothes.
- Make sure your hair is neat and tidy.
Consider telling the employer about your autism
You don’t have to tell an employer that you live with autism spectrum disorder if it won’t impact your ability to do the essential job tasks. However, some people find that telling the employer helps them get off on the right foot.
Telling the employer before the interview may give them time to make adjustments to the interview structure to make you more comfortable.
Your interviewer may have questions about your experiences living with ASD and how it will impact your work life. Keep your answers positive and honest. Showing self-confidence and self-awareness is a strength.
If you plan on disclosing, it’s important to prepare to explain any accommodations you might need in the workplace. For example, will you require a quiet workstation or noise cancelling headphones to manage distractions?
Landing a job interview can be very exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming and stressful. Taking the time to prepare and practice can help you feel more confident going into the interview.
It’s also important to speak to yourself positively and stay calm. Try using visualisation techniques where you picture yourself going into the interview calm and in control.
After the interview is over, be sure to celebrate your achievement. No matter how it went, showing up and doing your best takes courage and you should be proud of that.
Everyone has setbacks when it comes to looking for work. If you didn’t get the job this time, keep trying and keep practising your interview skills.
Finding a job can take time, but when you get there it can have life changing benefits. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.