Before The Interview
- Find out as much as you can about the job.
- If there is a job description, go over this thoroughly and try and work out what sort of person is required and match that to your own strengths and skills. Research the company via their website and where applicable also their staff, culture, clients and competitors. Having an understanding of the company and the role beforehand will come across well in your interview.
- Plan your route.
- Allow plenty of time to get to the appointment – ideally you should aim to arrive 5-10 minutes early.
- Make sure that you look smart and professional as first impressions really are important. For most businesses a suit is the best option.
- Prepare yourself for the kind of questions that might come up eg. ‘What duties do you fulfil in your current role?’, ‘Have you had anybody reporting to you before?’
The Interview Process
Some do's and dont's:
- Treat the receptionist/greeter with the same respect as if they are the interviewer; you never know how important their input may be.
- Fill out any application forms completely using your best hand writing.
- Greet the interviewer by his/her name.
- Shake hands firmly.
- Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting down.
- Sit upright in your chair.
- Look alert and interested at all times.
- Remember to listen as well as talk.
- Maintain eye contact when you are talking.
- Follow the interviewer's leads but try to get them to describe the position and duties early on so that you can relate your background and skills to the position.
- Make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner.
- Make him/her realise the need for you in his/her organisation.
- Remember that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer.
- Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. It is better to be in the position of choosing from a number of jobs.
- Answer questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Explain whenever possible.
- Ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
- Lie! Answer questions truthfully and as to the point as possible.
- Over answer questions. Answer honestly and if you are unsure of the answer, try not to say more than is necessary.
- Enquire about SALARY, HOLIDAYS, BONUSES etc at the initial interview unless the interviewer raises the issues first. However, you should be aware of your market value and be prepared to state your required salary range.
- Be frightened of silence; at times the interviewer may be just trying to test you.
Prepare yourself for questions like these:
- Why are you interested in this particular role?
- What do you really want to do in your next career move?
- Why would you like to work for our organisation?
- Where do you see yourself, career-wise, five years from now and why?
- Under which style of management do you work best?
- What interests you about our company?
- What would your previous employers say about you?
- What have you learned from previous jobs?
- Which jobs have you enjoyed and why?
- Where do you see your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What do you think are the necessary assets for progression within a company?
- How would you describe 'teamwork'?
- Give an example of a problem or conflict that you have resolved recently.
- Sometimes an interviewer will ask a competency-based question, in which case, pause and then answer as comprehensively and concisely as possible – this will explain what you do well, and how you do it, as thoroughly as possible to sell yourself to them! Some questions can be competency-based e.g. ‘Give me an example of when you have disagreed with something that a colleague has done’ – be prepared with an example including what the situation was, what your action was, and what the outcome was.
Closing the interview:
- If you are interested in the position, say so.
- Ask about second interview schedule if you feel it is appropriate.
- If you are offered the position and you want it, accept it there and then, if you feel you need time to think about it, be courteous and tactful in asking for time to think it over. Set a definite date as to when you will get back to them.
- Do not be too discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed.
- If you have the feeling that the interview has not gone well and you have already been rejected, do not let your discouragement show. The interviewer may just be testing your reactions.
- Ask questions back – this will show your enthusiasm for the position
- Don’t be afraid of asking if you have covered everything that they need, and if there is anything else that you can say.
- Thank the interviewer for his/her time.
If you have answered these three questions uppermost in the interviewer's mind:
- Why are you interested in the job and company?
- What can you offer the company?
- Can you do the job?
You have done all you can! Good luck!