Before the Interview
Preparation is key!
Research the company beforehand. You will be provided with the website address from us, ensure you 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 good 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. In the interview, no one will object to you having shown that you have prepared beforehand.
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. If you're travelling by car or public transport allow yourself half an hour's extra travelling time in case of delays.
As far as interviews go, a positive attitude is very important. Saying 'I can't' isn't going to get you anywhere. A 'can do' attitude is a positive attribute for anyone to have. If you go into an interview or into a job and say, 'I will give that the best try that I can', you're presenting yourself in a positive light. It's all about demonstrating your enthusiasm and getting on well with people. – Tom Farmer, Chairman and Chief Executive of Kwik Fit
Your attitude and personality will affect the interviewer's decision just as much as your qualifications and experience, and 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. In a structured interview, the interviewer will be following a pre-determined set of questions and will be expecting clear, concise answers from you. An unstructured interview can be more conversational, using open-ended questions and giving your personality the chance to shine through.
My interviewing techniques are maybe a little bit different from the norm. I never even saw the CVs of the first ten people that I hired. They were hired because I thought that they were capable of doing the job. Their personality and how they presented themselves were deciding factors, and whether they'd fit in with the team was important too. My idea of the perfect candidate would be someone with that steely glint in their eye that makes them want to succeed. – Iain Gardner, co-founder of Last Orders.com
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.
Secret tip. If offered a drink, accept a glass of water, if asked an awkward question, taking a sip will help stall and hopefully an answer will come to mind. Your secret will be discovered if you accept a tea/coffee and start drinking it an hour into an interview.
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.
Remember our secret tip!!
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
Phone us straight away. A client always like to hear from us with immediate feedback before they start to make a decision.
Write down the questions and review your responses, and decide whether there's anything you could have answered differently. By the time your next interview comes around you'll be even better prepared.
If you don't get the job, we will give you constructive feedback. You will then be able to adapt your interview technique accordingly and perform even better next time around.
Be prepared, do research as you would a face to face interview and have a copy of your CV to hand, a list of your experience or skills, questions that you want to ask about the company, and a pen and paper to take notes. Just because they can’t see you, an experienced interviewer will know if you have not prepared!
Have a clock nearby to keep track of the time.
Make sure you are in a quiet place, background noise such as the television on will not impress!
Switch off call waiting! It's annoying at the best of times, and could destroy your chances in an interview situation.
The interviewer can't see your face, but smile as you speak – it will make you sound more positive and amiable.
Lastly, make sure you've recorded a professional message on your answering machine, just in case! If they call and you are out of signal range, Bart Simpson answering will not do you proud!
Phone us straight away, we need to know if this could be the job for you, then we can deliver the feedback to the client, and go to the next stage.