Nothing beats being well prepared and briefed before attending an interview. Here are some suggestions that should, if followed, add weight to your candidature and help make the experience an enjoyable one.
Read any papers/information connected with the position. Know what your main strengths are relative to the requirements of the role. Similarly know your weaknesses or where you are light on experience and plan how to handle this in an open, positive and constructive manner.
Research the Company
Sources of information include newspapers, company reports, marketing/publicity material and the Internet. Establish product, size, markers, people and culture. Know the reputation and standing and be aware of historic achievements and/or recent press coverage.
Plan your journey to arrive 10 minutes early. If the journey is unfamiliar to you, do a ‘dummy run’ beforehand. Find out where to park or where the nearest bus/train stops are. Remember to allow for traffic disruptions.
Make a good impression
- Be pleasant and polite to the receptionist or secretary who greets you. It will get you off to a good start and the boss may well ask later for his/her impressions.
- If you are going through a closed door into an office, knock first and then walk in.
- Don’t chew.
- Sit in a relaxed, upright position. Don’t slouch, fold your arms or fidget.
- Try to act with modest confidence. Speak up, don’t mutter or mumble.
- Don’t be flippant. Some candidates give jokey answers to cover up nerves. Be sure you are on the same wavelength as the interviewer before you introduce humour to the discussion.
- Show a genuine interest to the work and the firm you have applied to.
- Analyse what qualities the interviewer is looking for and try to demonstrate how far you match up.
- Make sure you know the interviewer’s surname, and use it if a natural opportunity occurs
Questions the interviewer may ask you
There are a number of questions you are likely to be asked – so think about what you are going to say. It may help to discuss these with a friend before the interview. Probable questions include:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want the job?
- What makes you think you would be good at the job?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What qualities do you think you have to offer?
- What is your ultimate career ambition?
- What kind of books or newspapers do you read?
- What do you consider your areas to develop?
Questions you may want to ask the interviewer
During the course of the discussion, the interviewer will probably explain most of the details about the job. But there may be gaps and you may want to ask your own questions. Try not to appear too eager: wait until towards the end of the interview. He or she may then ask if there is anything you would like to know- and that’s your chance. These are some of the points you may want to raise:
- What training will I be given?
- What are the normal hours of work?
- Are there any unusual hours?
- Who will I be working with?
- Who will I be directly responsible to?
- What are the promotional possibilities?
- When may I expect a decision?
- When would I be expected to start?
Whatever you do don’t sound as you are only interested in what you get out of the job. Remember the interviewer is looking for someone who is going to put a lot into the job – ability, industry and enthusiasm.
Consider your image
“One look is a thousand words” The impression you create is conveyed firstly through your appearance. What your wear, how you walk, talk, stand, sit, act and move your body, the expression on your face, your general demeanour, how you initially react the other person/s and whether or not you are a ‘pleasing’ experience. Your skills, abilities, experience, intellect, aptitudes, qualifications and success record are all preceded by your appearance.
Consider all aspects of your appearance – clothing, hair, hands, shoes and accessories such as jewellery, briefcases, handbags, pens etc. Remember that first impressions count – some decisions are often made on ‘gut feel’ in the first few minutes of an interview, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Decide in advance what to wear and make sure you look presentable. Consider what image you want to project and what is appropriate for the role. Always overdress slightly for the interview, comfortably but smartly.
Here are some general tips:
- Don’t overdo jewellery or aftershave/perfume.
- Polish your shoes
- Female – if wearing a dress/skirt, make sure it is not too short.
- Blouses should not be too low-cut or see through.