Interviews are either great fun or a dreaded necessity to help us achieve our career goals! Whichever way you prefer to look at it there are very few of us that can without any form of preparation and assistance successfully promote our skills to a future employer without some guidance on how to prepare and how to answer potential questions in the correct manner.
Why go to the trouble of spending hours preparing for a potential interview?
You are giving yourself the best chance to stand out from the crowd; make the best first impression and increase your ability to sell your skills.
Before the Interview
Preparation is key!
Research the company beforehand. Ensure you familiarize yourself with their website and dedicate some quality time to find out what the company does, their mission, their product, how long established, where they have market presence, competitors etc.
Know exactly why you want the job and be prepared to present yourself convincingly. Practice answers to the standard interview questions and be positive. Your answers should relate to the work place - chocolate as a weakness is not what the interviewer is wanting to hear:
Some examples of questions are:
- Tell me about yourself/how would you describe yourself?
- Why do you think we should give you this job?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What would you say are your major achievements?
- Where do you see yourself going in the next five years?
- What contribution do you make when working in a team?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- What do you know about our company?
- What did you like best/least about your current/last job?
- Have some questions ready to ask at the end of an interview. Ask questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the firm or the industry, or clarify points about the position that haven't already been covered. If you think you may forget them in the interview, right them down in a fresh, clean notebook
- Have the names, addresses and titles of two or three references ready (two of which should be work references). Don't forget to ask their permission before you use them – you don't want them to be taken by surprise by your prospective employer.
- Don't be late! If you don't know exactly where you're going, have a trial run the day before.
Your attitude and personality will affect the interviewer's decision just as much as your qualifications and experience. The overall impression you make is vitally important. However, don't try too hard to project the perfect image – be confident and, more importantly - Be yourself.
- Try to determine what kind of method the interviewer is using as early as possible and answer accordingly. First impressions count. As a general rule, you should look smart i.e. suit, tidy, squeaky-clean and professional.
- Remember the interviewer's name and pronounce it with conviction. Have a good, solid handshake – a weak handshake will not present you in the best possible light.
- If met from reception, make general conversation, about the weather etc. This will ease nerves.
- Don't sit down before the interviewer – wait until they do or until you have been asked.
- Make eye contact during the interview – it shows you are paying attention to what the interviewer is saying.
- Listen to what the interviewer is saying – make sure you understand the questions before you answer, think your answers through, and speak clearly and confidently. Maintain awareness of your voice, posture, energy level, and enthusiasm. Avoid using slang.
- Don't stretch the truth – however tempting it may be, you should be as honest as possible with your answers without being negative.
- If you liked the job, do not feel afraid to thank the interviewer for their time and say that you would very much like to be considered for the role.
After the Interview
- Write down the questions and review your responses, and decide whether there's anything you could have answered differently. Learn by your mistakes!
- If you don't get the job it will enable you to adapt your interview technique accordingly and perform even better next time around.
To enhance your success Fusion Appointments run highly acclaimed interview workshops where you are given one to one training; ongoing support and advice. Please feel free to contact us for further information.