Interviews are generally straightforward and a little preparation can make them a lot easier. 90% of employers already know an individual can do the job they are looking to hire for from their CV. Interviews generally take place for employers to discuss more about what’s written on your CV, and more to talk to you about your aspirations, how you would fit into the team. Most employers would prefer to find the right person after a couple of interviews rather than trawl around and waste precious time. Interviews are basically common sense with a little bit of preparation. Even if what’s listed below is used as a prompt for what you know already or highlights an area for you to think about, then it’s still better than a wasted day off, or a long journey. The following is aimed at helping you achieve your best in an interview situation, however there’s no substitute for genuine enthusiasm and a desire to succeed. Preparation and enthusiasm go a long way.
- Find out a little more about the company and think of one or two questions you can ask during, or at the end of the interview which show your genuine interest in the role. The company web site is a good place to start,
- Prepare and plan your journey and contingency, for example, if you miss a connection. It is important you arrive at your interview calm, collected and not stressed,
- Read up on your CV, and be prepared for questions that the prospective employer may ask you. See Interview Questions below,
- Read up on your skills relevant to the position you are being interviewed for, and be prepared for specific role themed questions that the prospective employer may ask you.
Arriving at the interview
- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early, and if you’re delayed or running late always phone ahead to apologise for the inconvenience.
- If you suffer from nerves a useful technique is to go somewhere quiet 5 or 10 minutes before the interview, close your eyes, and imagine yourself in the interview projecting the image you want.
- Introduce yourself to the interviewer; a solid firm handshake is essential.
- When waiting and during the interview don’t fold your arms as this gives a negative image.
- First impressions are everything, and most interviewers decide if you are a suitable fit within the first five minutes. This is why your appearance, presentation and clothing are important.
- Make sure you listen and answer the questions.
- Always have one or two pre-rehearsed questions about the Company and opportunity.
- Make sure you talk about the role in enough detail. The interviewer will want to tell you how good it is. People always like to talk about their Company. You want to leave the interviewer with a feel good factor about the interview.
- Remember that the interviewer is hoping that you are the person that they are looking for.
- Always make it clear that you have a responsible attitude and that you’re looking for a Company you can commit yourself to.
- Don’t get defensive or aggressive, if an interviewer starts asking difficult questions it may be to see how you perform under pressure.
- Avoid any unnecessary apologies, especially at the start of the interview.
- Avoid argumentative discussion with the interviewer. If they have strong views on a subject it’s usually best to avoid discussing it and to direct the conversation to more constructive areas.
- The purpose of the interview is to present your skills, ability and suitability, so make sure you bring them up. If by the end of the meeting you haven’t managed to, take the opportunity to go through them with the interviewer. Having a check list in your pocket can help, even if you don’t refer to it.
- If you are asked to describe your strengths back this up with modest examples.
- Expect to be asked to describe your current responsibilities, be ready to tell the interviewer the following:
- What you enjoyed about each job
- What you think your achievements are
- What experience you gained and how that has helped you
- What skills you acquired
- Never stray from the point, or talk for more than a couple of minutes at a time, but do give full lively answers. Avoid just yes and no answers, most questions the interviewer asks will be intended to get you talking, help your interviewer to interview you!
- The ideal interview is when the interviewer and candidate speak for around the same amount of time.
- Never bring up money at an early stage of an interview or appear too money motivated, you must show you are interested in the position first and foremost.
- Never openly criticise your current or previous employers. Always talk positively about your experiences.
- If you are asked to describe any weaknesses it’s generally best to describe a problem or difficulty that you managed to overcome, it’s best to prepare this beforehand.
Finishing the interview
- Always thank the interviewer for meeting with you and say you have enjoyed the interview.
- Always state that you’re genuinely interested in the position; never say that you will think about it? It’s not inappropriate to say you really want the job.
- If a Company has to choose between two equally suitable candidates, they will choose the one who wants the job the most. A thank you note or email is always a good idea.
- Find out if the interviewer has any reservations about you. If there are, the best time to persuade them otherwise is whilst you are face to face.
- Consider asking what the next stage is. Try ‘where do we go from here’, ‘I like the sound of this job’ or ‘is there anyone else I need to meet’.