DO YOUR RESEARCH
Find out all you can about the position you’re applying for - and the company the position is with. Check out their literature, trade magazines, press articles and the internet. Confidentially, ask colleagues whose views you respect for their opinions on the company. Prepare a list of questions that you might be asked and practice the answers to them. Memorise a list of questions to ask the company. Decide what to wear – smart but appropriate clothing with a minimum of jewellery.
Check out the exact location for the interview, plan your route and allow ample time to get there.
Aim to be 15 minutes early for your interview. Introduce yourself at Reception, and make sure you’re pleasant to the staff – they are often asked for their impression of you. While you wait, read over the company literature and mentally rehearse questions and answers. But above all, relax! When your interviewer comes to meet you, smile, maintain eye contact (without staring) and give an appropriate greeting.
IN THE INTERVIEW
Sit yourself down comfortably, but stay alert. It’s best to politely refuse tea or coffee. As the interview progresses, listen very carefully to any questions, smile to show interest and enthusiasm, and wait until they finish before you answer. Make your points clearly and don’t waffle. Don’t feel pressured into filling any silences – when you’ve said all you have to say, stop talking. Try to get an idea of what the employer is looking for by asking questions like “What kind of person are you interested in?” or “What kind of skills would the ideal candidate have?”. Use every opportunity to show the employer that you have what they’re looking for. Build a strong case for them to choose you – this may be your only chance.
Listen very carefully to every question, and try to avoid answering with a mere ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Think before you answer, speak clearly and stick to the point. Avoid being vague or evasive. Provide real examples to back up your answers, especially when you’re speaking about your experience, achievements, transferable knowledge and skills. Use your research to make comments which show that you have put some effort into finding out about the position and the company. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question – and to check that you have given the interviewer enough information.
Unless the interviewer brings the subject up, avoid asking questions about pay during your first meeting. But it’s a good idea to ask positive questions like “What are the career prospects?” or “Do you have any doubts about my suitability for this job?”. Make it absolutely clear that you are interested in the position by saying so
THE END OF THE INTERVIEW
Ask what will happen next and how long it will be before the company contacts you. Shake hands, smile and thank the interviewer for their time
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Call us and let us know how things went. Reflect on the interview and your performance, and see what you could learn for future interviews. If you’re not successful, ask for feedback. Then adopt a positive frame of mind, and prepare for the next challenge.