- By Check-a-Salary
- Posted Tuesday 19
th March 2019
The inevitable part of getting a new job is the interview process. Some of us dread it and some of us thrive on the nerves generated during the interview process.
Whichever camp you fall into, we could all benefit from a few simple interview tips. Interview novices can benefit from some basic interview help and the more experienced amongst us might need a gentle reminder of what they should be doing and what bad habits they might have got into!
PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE!
There’s an old saying that goes, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” which could have been written by an expert on interview skills!
- There really is no excuse not to do your homework before you attend an interview. You need to have a good understanding of the company – history, expertise, size & scope and company values.
- Know what it says on your CV! Sounds obvious doesn’t it but you would be amazed how many people can’t recall information on their own CV.
- You should also be prepared to discuss specific elements of your CV when asked in an interview.
- Understand how your experience and/or qualifications relate to the position you are applying for.
- Try not to be vague or too general about your skillset and have a specific position in mind.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
These days, we are all told not to judge people on first impressions. However honourable this adage is, the reality is that a large percentage of those conducting interviews claim to know within 90 seconds whether they will hire the person in front of them
- One big factor in creating a good first impression is what you’re wearing. So, don’t be too fashionable (unless you’re going for a fashion-specific role) and stick to safe, darker clothing. Dress professionally and you will come across professionally.
- Conduct yourself in a professional manner from the moment you enter the building. Start as you mean to go on.
- Think about the words you say and the way in which you say them. For example, try not to use slang if possible!
- If you are asked a question that you don’t know the answer to then say so. Don’t lie or embellish.
- By the same token, don’t babble endlessly. Interviewers will normally be conducting a number of interviews so won’t appreciate you talking about unrelated topics or just filling time.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING WITHOUT EVEN SPEAKING
Without realising it, your body and facial expressions give numerous cues to others so make sure they are good ones!
- If in doubt, SMILE!
- If you’ve had a bad morning or a nightmare journey to the interview, leave those negative feelings at the door and don’t allow them to show on your face in a pout or a scowl.
- When you get to the interview, if you have time, visit the cloakroom to ensure your hair / make up / clothing is as it should be.
- If you are wearing a coat, take it off. Not only will you be hot nervously sitting there in outside clothing but you will also look like you can’t wait to leave!
- A strong handshake indicates to the interviewer that you are someone they can have confidence in…so practise!
- Try to refrain from fidgeting in the chair. Fidgeting might suggest that you are bored or that you lack belief in what you are saying.
- Sit upright in the chair, keep your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap. This conveys a calm, professional demeanour which are favourable qualities in a potential employee.
- Don’t fold your arms over your chest as this conveys complete negativity and hostility.
- Don’t fiddle with your hair or touch your face. Both are annoying habits and distract from what you are saying.
- If you feel the need, ask for a glass of water if you haven’t already been offered one while you were waiting. There’s nothing worse than a dry mouth when trying to answer questions.
- Sometimes it helps to remember that the person interviewing you was once in your position so, in the main, they will understand your nerves and should actively try to put you at ease.
THE GOLDEN RULES OF DON’T
There are just some things you should never do during an interview…
- DON’T criticise your current/previous employer – even if you have plenty of negative feelings about them, this is not the time to air them.
- DON’T over-complicate your reasons for wanting to leave your current employer. Be factual and succinct when asked about this.
- DON’T ‘big yourself up’. Confidence is good but there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
- DON’T lie. This is a big ‘don’t’. However tempted you might be, don’t over-embellish or be ‘creative’ with the facts. The truth always bubbles to the surface!
- DON’T play it too cool. It’s good to not come across as desperate but equally, it’s important to give the interviewer the impression that you actually want the job!
- DON’T pretend to be someone you’re not. If you’re not naturally an outgoing person, don’t suddenly be one in an interview. It’s not sustainable and you risk coming across as insincere.
- DON’T put yourself at the centre of the interview. You need to demonstrate your suitability for the role in relation to the company’s requirements.
ONE FINAL QUESTION…
Whilst not definitive, the following list is a good starting point for possible questions you might get asked during the interview.
- Why did you leave your previous job?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Do you know much about our company?
- What qualities could you bring to this role?
- What aspects of yourself do you view as needing improvement or refinement?
- What is your notice period at your current company?
- And the most important question of all…Why do you want to work for us?
- At the end of the interview, agree on next steps; establish a time frame in which you will hear from the employer if you have been successful.
Some interviews will go well and some just won’t – that’s the reality of job hunting. The important thing to remember is that each and every interview you attend affords you more experience and will make the process less intimidating next time. GOOD LUCK!
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